A couple weeks ago my mom brought home a shirt dress. It was very pretty – a light blue linen, button placket closure, a collar and fake slashed pockets at the front. Mom looked a little guilty when she was showing it to me, it was almost as if she was looking for justification. The dress indeed was very pretty. But as it turned out it was outrageously expensive! $200! Well, as far as I remember $180 on sale. I don’t know if it is me being able to sew or just being cheap, I thought it was too expensive. So I told her what I thought, but she really wanted it… It was exactly what she liked! What is a girl to do? Of course I told my mom she needs to return the dress and I will make her one instead (brownie points for being a good daughter 🙂 ).
I committed to making a dress very grudgingly I must say. I do have a lot of ideas and projects on the go and I do not like to be steered away from them. But… it’s my mom, how often do I make things for her?? Rarely is the right answer. Of course I didn’t pout for long and as soon as I stopped, I remembered that Blackbird fabrics carried an absolutely gorgeous linen selection! So off we went to the nearest computer to find the fabric for the next dress. My mom chose this beautiful blue linen with white pinstripe and we proceeded to place an order.
The next step was the muslin. I always prefer to make a muslin, especially if I am sewing for someone else. I don’t know their body and I can’t make an educated guess on how a pattern would look on them. I ended up making 2 muslins. The first one didn’t turn out. It was too tight and I chose a dress that had a button closure all the way down. Something was off. The sleeves didn’t seem right, the darts were in the wrong spot and the back didn’t look like it fit. So rather than making adjustments to the muslin I decided to start from scratch again. I used my tried and true Burda pattern that I modified to look like what my mom envisioned. I redrafted the sleeve to make it an actual sleeve. I made the front placket longer and added slash pockets at the front. I curved the placket at the front into a V-neck and shortened the collar. I modified the back darts into panels and added a back yoke. Whew… I think I listed everything! Oh! I added fake cuffs at the bottom of the sleeves. Now I think I’ve listed everything.
This was my first time working with placket closure and I have to say if you go slowly, it is not as hard as I thought it would be. I even managed to align the stripes! The slash pockets turned out to be the hardest. Only because I didn’t think through how they would look like when the placket on top of the pocket (mouthful?) is cut on bias. my lines on the plackets ended up pointing in different directions after my first attempt and I had to re-do them. Which was super scary since the pockets were already slashed and in place… But I managed!
Originally we thought of playing with the pinstripe in the fabric and cutting most of the details on bias, but in the end I decided against it. I thought it would make the dress look more costume-y and I was going for simple elegant. So in the end only the cuffs and the plackets on the pockets are cut on bias.
Even though the dress has a placket closure, I decided to add an invisible zipper in the side seam. My idea is that it would ease putting the dress on and taking it off. Even if my mom ends up not using it, it’s invisible, so there.
My mom was very happy with how the dress turned out! It is exactly what she wanted, it fits her just like she wants to and the pockets are real, which apparently was a concern with a store bought dress. I hope she gets a lot of compliments on it, because I truly think it really suits my mom and her style. In the end, I have a more or less basic sloper pattern I can use to make my mom more dresses. Another good part about this dress is that my mom bought enough fabric for me to make a similar dress… but those are stories for a different posts!