Ok guys, I know we talked about how flattering dresses can be on a post-partum body already but the shirtdress deserves a category all it’s own for one reason: nursing access! I may have owned 2 shirtdresses in my entire life before kids but with a babe on my hip, they seem to be the only thing I wear nowadays.
I picked up this fun striped fabric from Joann Fabrics recently and wasn’t sure exactly what to do with it, until I pulled out this McCall’s pattern to make for a friend. Only then did I realize that the two were made for each other!
I originally wanted to make the pleated skirt version of the pattern but when I tried it on, it did my baby mama curves no favors. So I took the pleats out and re-cut the skirt as the pencil version. MUCH more flattering! Plus this version’s pockets are KILLING it!
I use them as much as humanly possible.
Since this was my first shirtdress (first button-down shirt, period!) I was slightly nervous about the collar and other details, but I took it slow, only working for an hour or two at a time so that it would look high-quality in the end. This view includes 4 front darts and 2 back darts which were simple, but I did change the back a bit.
The pattern included some gathering at the top and bottom of the back piece and when I tried it on, the fabric bloused out really full (it’s a satin-y polyester) and kinda made me look like a humpback – haha! So instead of picking out the entire yoke and waistband seams, I just cut the back down the middle and removed the gathering and excess fabric, then sewed it back together.
The only other change I made was doing a tiny baby hem on the skirt instead of the 2 incher it called for. To be honest, I ran out of fabric what with all the stripe matching and just barely eeked out the skirt length I wanted.
Now a word about matching stripes. This part can be really scary but it doesn’t have to be! Here are a few tips:
1. Never cut on the fold. It’s too difficult to get your stripes matched up on the bottom half of the fabric that you can’t see. Instead, either trace your pattern pieces on a folded piece of paper to make a full piece, or just cut out one half of the piece and flip it over to cut out the mirrored side.
2. Sketch out the finished garment before cutting. This can help with visualization before you cut into that pretty fabric! For example, I knew I wanted horizontal stripes on the bodice and placket but vertical on the skirt and waistband. Then I laid all my pattern pieces out accordingly.
3. Cut 1 piece and then match stripes before cutting adjacent pieces. The first thing I cut was my bodice and back yoke, making sure I matched front and back stripes (although side stripes don’t really match up anyway because of the darts). Then I laid the front bodice fabric pieces next to the sleeve pieces before cutting the latter to ensure that the sleeves would match the bodice. Make sense? Ditto with the waistband, although this was harder because it had to match both sides with a placket in the middle. If you look closely (well, not too close!) you can see that I succeeded on one side but not on the other. Whoops! The placket was the easiest because I just cut it a little longer than necessary and matched stripes before sewing it on, and just cut off the excess.
Whew! That actually sounds a lot harder than it was!
It is honestly one of my favorite dresses now: flattering, comfy, and did I mention you can nurse in it??! haha!
I can’t wait to make more button-downs!
This whole outfit kinda makes me feel like I’m going to the races. Only there are no races in August in Phoenix cause everyone would get heatstroke and the horses would DIE.
Check out the DIY post for these floral shoes here. YES, you can even make your own shoes. You’re gonna love it!