New Look 6587 – Yet another Shirt-dress

I make no secret of the fact I love a good shirt-dress and have made quite a few. New Look 6587 is an oldie but a goodie, first made a couple of years ago here.

New Look 6587

I made this up in a Denyse Schmidt quilting cotton bought at Harts Fabric during our travels last year. If the print looks familiar it is because I used the turquoise colourway for a Belledone earlier in the year.

New Look 6587
Sans belt just so you can see the construction

Construction was much the same as last time, although this time I did put on the collar stand. I also piped around the collar and around the cap sleeves as I feel the grey isn’t quite the best colour for me and needed a little ‘pop”. The flat piping I made from strips of broadcloth in my stash. Essentially made the same as bias binding, but folded in half.  The bias cut really helps it go around the curves and corners of the collar.

The buttons were also in my stash, originally intended for a Beignet skirt that never eventuated (and likely never will, having worked out high-waisted skirts are not for me).

New Look 6587

I added the capped sleeve option and I changed the skirt to have box pleats that line up with the princess seams instead of the gathered skirt with the pattern, it is also a little narrower.

These changes arose from two things. First the fabric is a bit heavy for a gathered skirt and I like the smoothness of the pleats. Secondly, my habit of trying to get a project out of fabric much less than actually required. I had bought 2.5 of this fabric as I often do with a dress but, oops, forgot it was yards and not metres. That is a big difference if you want sleeves and a full skirt! The fabric was only 44 inches wide, so I had to play “Pattern Tetris” as I so often do!

Old habits die hard, I really struggle mentally to buy more fabric than required. On the plus side, at least I don’t have lots of scraps left over in odd sizes too big to throw away, but too small to do anything with!

New Look 6587
Probably could take some length off the back but it feels ok to wear, perhaps I am just standing weirdly?

I have to say, I haven’t been wearing this one too much yet.  Whilst I like it I just don’t seem to feel like grabbing a grey dress when I am choosing my outfit for the day. I only seem to wear it when it is cool enough for a red cardi and red shoes to brighten it up. Overall I am happy with the dress, and the construction, but the colour needs some more time to grow on me.

New Look 6587

Speaking of Tetris, how fun is this game still? Or am I just showing my age?? Aaaah…memories…and there goes my afternoon!! (work shmerk)

PS – Sorry for the average pics, not sure why I was so frowny or looking down all the time. Must have been a glary day!

Simplicity 1880

Hello peeps! I hope you are all fine and cheery on this lovely day? Well, it is here in Brisbane, an unseasonably warm 29 degrees. Not bad for the beginning of Spring, although kind of makes me dread how hot the impending summer might be.

Today I am sharing with you a sort of re-fashion!! I’m not normally a person who re-fashions (I’m just not that imaginative) and if I’m not feeling a garment after it’s finished it would normally go to a charity bin for someone else to make the most of. But this time I liked the fabric too much and I had enough left over for me to reconsider what to do with it.

Simplicity 1880

Long term BusyLizzie readers may remember this dress, B5748. I was never happy with how the bodice sat and found I didn’t wear it at all unless I had a cardi over top. I loved the fabric and its swooshiness and determined to make it into something more wearable. I had about half a metre of the fabric left, so decided to take the skirt off and replace the bodice with one cut from the previously untried Simplicity 1880.

Simplicity 1880

I love a shirt-dress and seem to have a bit of obsession with collecting shirt dress patterns, I have loads of vintage ones and to be honest this Simplicity one is similar to ones I have so I am not sure what possessed me to purchase it. Although it is Project Runway branded and I am a bit of a sucker for those.

This pattern has two bodice options, one button up, the other a wrap and four sleeve options. Given my shirt-dress infatuation of course I made the buttoned version. I cut the size 16, graduating to a 10/12 in the shoulders and I am happy with the fit (I did tissue fit first). there is no pulling at the bust across the buttons or anywhere to indicate I need an FBA. This is most unusual, but of course the bodice does blouse so there is a bit of room to play with.

Simplicity 1880
Construction wise the bodice went together in a straightforward fashion with no unexpected surprises. The pattern has lots of little details that I really like, the back yoke, multiple waist pleats instead of darts, the sleeve pleats, the circle skirt and of course a vintage feel. The front buttons are completely decorative as there is a side zip for access. I used buttons from my stash of vintage buttons bought in the States last year.

My drapey fabric is much more suited to this pattern than a fitted bodice. I would suggest that a crepe, voile or rayon would be perfect for this pattern, the fabric really needs to have some drape to enhance the pleating and gathering detail. Aah fabric choice, such an important part of the creation process.

Simplicity 1880

I am so much happier with this dress for this particular fabric, although I still may shorten the skirt as it feels a little long. I am just not sure I can face doing all that hemming again. Last time I did a machine rolled hem and all that stitching, pressing and trimming took me forever!!

Simplicity 1880

So there you go my version of a re-fashion! Yay to a now wearable garment. Have you ever done this or do you just bin the project?


I am going to start my post my declaring my love for Japanese Tana Lawn!  Our local chain store Spotlight has it in stock, but normally it is priced above a price point I consider acceptable for that particular store. Perhaps that makes me sound cheap? But the store is renowned for budget fabrics and based on the rest of their stock, the Tana Lawn is expensive. But over a recent Public Holiday weekend (Easter I think) they were having 40% off storewide – that makes it more in my price range, so I bought a bit 🙂

Being a lawn I didn’t want to make a super fitted dress as the fabric is just too soft for anything super structured. I went with the Darling Ranges dress, a semi-fitted shirt-dress. I have a sleeveless version already, but I have a problem with the waist button and find that if I pull the waist ties too tight then it puts too much strain on the button and I get gaping. In complete contrast with Amy I decided with this version to omit the skirt buttons, and inserted an invisible side zipper. I also omitted the waist ties so I could wear a belt.
As I had made the pattern before it all went together pretty smoothly.  I had previously done an FBA and added a bust dart in the process, this time I decided to rotate the dart to the waist dart.  I am not sure if I would do this in the future as it has made the waist dart rather large making it difficult to avoid pointy darts.


Due to the fabric being so light and soft I sewed it up with a fine 70 weight needle. The button placket is non-functional so I didn’t bother with button-holes and I sewed the placket down to prevent pulling and gaping.

I remembered to take a pic of the inside!

I just love the print of this fabric, from the art deco style fans, to the dusky green colour and then the best bit – birdies!!!

How appropriate are these buttons ?  I really like how the tiering of the pattern mimics the fan shape.

One of the great things about the lawn is that even after sitting for several hours it doesn’t crease too badly.  I worked in this for several hours before taking these pics – WIN! I bought two more pieces of the Lawn in different patterns, I have made one into a shirt (to be blogged shortly) and the other is destined to be another shirt-dress. I will definitely see more of this fabric in my future!!

BTW – if you are wondering, I have now been told I have to wear glasses pretty much full time (instead of reading only), this is my new pair.

Pattern – Darling Ranges Dress by Megan Nielsen
Fabric – 2.5m of Japanese Tana Lawn from Spotlight
Notions – 4 buttons, 14″ invisible zipper and thread


Fall for Cotton: Vintage Shirt-Dress

I have a reasonable size collection of vintage patterns that I seem to admire more than I sew. When I saw that Rochelle and Tasha were holding a Fall for Cotton sewalong and the Monthly Stitch challenge was vintage, well I took the not so subtle hint to make up another of my patterns.

Fall For Cotton

It was definitely difficult to narrow it down but I finally decided on Mail Order Pattern-o-rama 8299, date unknown but has to be 40s I think.  I love me a shirt-dress and really like the button detailing on this one. Plus I already had the fabric and just the right amount of matching buttons in my stash! It was meant to be!

Patt-o-Rama 8299
The sweetheart neckline is cute too

The construction of this was fairly straight forward, although a little unusual by modern standards. The front bodice is sewn together, then the back pieces are sewn together and they are joined at the shoulders. As the back does not have a waist seam, but the front does, it is a little weird to try on at this point at you end up with a back skirt and no front skirt!  I was wanting to check for fit as I had only tissue fitted, I didn’t make a muslin. My cotton fabric was cheap at $2/m so I was treating this as a wearable muslin with my effort towards quality of finish varying depending on the fit! (spoiler alert – I was happy with the fit so it has been finished properly)

Fall For CottonFall For Cotton

The collar was then attached, followed by the front skirt, side seams and then the sleeves. No zip, the button front is functional unlike my previous vintage shirt-dress.

Most times when you read about vintage patterns people say there is no ease so buy your measurements. However, this pattern is a size 35″ pattern and my bust measurement is 37″ and it fitted perfectly with no alterations required.  I only shortened the bodice by about one inch and narrowed the shoulders by about an inch as they were pretty wide and likely designed for shoulder pads.


I felt a little bit “Call the Midwife” looking as I made this but made a few changes to try to stop it looking too nurse-uniform like.  The buttons help a lot I think, they are vintage, embroidered and picked up on a trip to Cairns last year for 10 cents each! If only buttons were this reasonably priced!!


I also played with my machine’s fancy stitching on the hems of the sleeve and skirt.  I knew I didn’t want to hand stitch and I figured if you were going to see the stitching I might as well make it pretty. I know it’s not traditionally vintage, but I don’t mind, I wasn’t going for a completely authentic finish (although I did pink all my seams, mostly because I didn’t have matching thread!).

Fall For Cotton

Sorry, I did the buttonholes on my machine 🙂 I know I could have done them by hand, but to be honest, I didn’t want to! I really don’t like hand-sewing, yep lazy I know, but if my machine does it then why not, and I’m all for efficiency.

I did shorten the skirt by about 5″ to a more wearable modern day length.  I think even “back in the day” I would have had to shorten it too, I am only 5’2″ after all and besides wouldn’t I have had to ration fabric?

BTW – the “pockets” are completely decorative, just flaps!

Fall For Cotton

Pattern – Pattern-o-rama 8299
Fabric – 2.4m of cotton poplin from my stash
Notions –  11 buttons also from my stash (I have one spare in case I lose one!), thread

So that’s my Fall for Cotton/Monthly Stitch dress – what about you?  Did you make something for either of these challenges?  If so, share in the comments below, I would love to see!

MMM – the final days and a couple of new things

Well MMM has now wrapped up, and whilst I like wearing me-made each day, it turns out for the most part I wear at least one me-made item each day, taking a picture of myself everyday is a little tedious.  I apologize in advance for the pics that all have the same backdrop.  I am now back in Brisbane and it turns out winter is well on the way and it is now dark at 5.30pm so I can’t go outside to take pics.

Day 20
A bonus for you – two outfits today! One a new one, still not sure how I feel about it though. The top is a Sorbetto (free download don’t ya know!), and the skirt a simple dirndl.


That evening I met up with Erin of MissCrayolaCreepy for ice cream in Arroyo Grande.  I had emailed her for some fabric shopping tips and she suggested we meet up. “Hell Yeah” I thought, what a fun opportunity.  Of course we talked sewing patterns, adjustments and blogging all over the most delicious ice cream!  I had Strawberry with a chocolate fudgy ribbon and Erin had one called Motoroil, a super chocolate-y one!  Yum-o!  If you haven’t checked out Erin’s blog, go do it, she has some lovely makes and is currently hosting a Gatsby Challenge.

It was a little cooler and I wanted to wear a cardi, so I wore my Spring has Sprung Hazel.

 photo courtesy of MissCrayolaCreepy
Day 21
Off to LA in my I Feel Pretty Hazel.  Here I am rummaging through fabric at The Loft where they sell fabric offcuts by the pound, and when I say offcuts they were mostly 5-10 yards a piece! I bought 9lb of fabric – go me!!

MMM '13 - Day 21

Day 22
Guess where we went today (in Colette Sorbetto blogged here):

MMM '13 - Day 22

Day 23
Lunch at the Cheesecake Factory, wearing Tiramisu (appropriate perhaps??).

MMM '13 Day 23
Day 24
We had a super long day as our flight was not until 11.45pm. We filled most of the time in an Outlet Mall for some last minute shopping. This is a new top, a variation on the Banksia by Megan Nielsen.

Day 25– Ha – we totally missed this day on our flight home!

Day 26– No pics sorry, I was feeling super average after our long overnight flight. I can’t even remember what I wore!!

Day 27
My Buttons are Expensive Dress

MMM'13 - Day 27

Day 28
Hmmm, black photographs so badly, I have tried lightening the photo, but now it looks like my top is see-thru!! It’s not, but it is printed with little charcoal polka dots that reflect the flash. The skirt is my basic black made last year and blogged here.


Day 29
Breakfast meeting today so I had to look presentable, wearing Vintage Vogue 9463.


Day 30
More black – what can I say, it feels like winter today and the colour seems appropriate. Merino ruffle top and BurdaStyle skirt.


Day 31
Working at home today, yay, in my Hollyburn skirt, look out for two more soon!

MMM'13 Day 31
MMM Summary
So I really learnt about my wardrobe shortfalls this month, although perhaps it wasn’t super indicative as I was away for most of the month and my travelling wardrobe is always different from what I wear day to day.  Not sure why this is, I guess the majority of my time is spent at work so I need work appropriate attire.  But being away made me really notice how many casual clothes I need to make. Tops and skirts will be the go before my next trip away, whenever that might be!! This week I have also noticed a desperate shortage of work appropriate winter wear. I have started on some of these items already and hope to blog them soon. 
Whew, so glad to not have to photograph myself everyday – that is hard work!!  How did you all go?

Mad Men Challenge – the Trudy Dress

When I saw that Julia Bobbin had announced a second Mad Men Challenge, I was pretty excited.  I missed last years one as it was pre-blogging and before even discovering all the amazing sewing blogs out there!

My only problem was what to make, I love a good Joan dress, but I am not sure the shape would suit me without some serious foundation garments.  Then there is Peggy and Betty who both have some great dresses.  The outfits I considered are on my Pinterest board.  For some reason the character whose outfits I seem to be drawn to most are Trudy’s wonderful and patterned shirtdresses.  I do love me a great shirtdress!

Could she look more stunning? 

I had a pattern in my stash already which perfectly matches this, even down to the welts and cuff turnups.


I didn’t even try to match the fabric with the inspiration as those colours don’t work with my colouring, but instead went with a pretty vintage inspired floral print I bought from last year.  The pattern was in my size but I even did a quick muslin of the bodice to sort out any potential fit issues (I am getting good at doing this muslin business).  I ended up narrowing the shoulders by 2cm and shortening the bodice between the bust and shoulders by about 1.5cm.  The rest of the measurements were perfect, even the waist! Quelle surprise!


I am loving the result and the fit is perfect, plus the fabric has just the tiniest bit of give making it super comfortable as well.  Couldn’t be happier!


The bodice has some cool details like welts on either side, not welt pockets, but who would use that area as a pocket anyway, not sure that I need more bulk in that department!! 

I made a matching belt – can you see it?  It matches almost too well!!


I changed the construction a little as it is supposed to fasten with the front buttons and then you are supposed to cut a vent in the skirt of about 10cm/3″ to help you get in the dress.  That would have resulted in a crazy gap right over my lady bits and way too dangerous for wardrobe malfunctions! Instead I sewed up the waistband without the strange vent and put in an invisible side zipper, much safer!! I also took some of the fullness out of the skirt as I didn’t have enough fabric, it is supposed to have about another metre in width, but I am pretty sure that might swamp me.

Now I just think I need to make a crinoline to go underneath – have you seen Rachel’s tutorial?  Also, storage top tip from Dolly Clackett via Twitter is to roll and bag them, not hang them so they keep their fluffiness.


Thanks for holding the challenge Julia, it was super fun and now I can channel my inner Trudy goddess!!


Buttons are Expensive!!

I have been a little obsessed with shirt-dresses of late and seem to be collecting patterns both new and old, especially vintage 40s & 50s patterns.  I have had this one planned for ages but I was waiting to find the right buttons – finally I found them!!


The pattern is New Look 6587, the envelope leaves little to be desired, the styling is bad and the fit isn’t good either, however the line drawings led me to believe I could be onto a winner.

I made version B with only a couple of small changes, rounding off the collar and removing the collar stand (mostly because I was short on fabric and making do!).  I have always thought patterns overestimate so I never seem to buy what it says – I have fixed numbers in my head as to what garments require e.g. a sleeveless top uses 1m/1yd, a dress uses 2-3metres etc – I am such a tightarse and can usually make it work.


I bought the fabric and the pattern months ago but it took me ages to find buttons to match the fabric. When did it become so hard to buy decent buttons and when did they become so expensive? I bought these at Mood, yep, I was so desperate to find the matching buttons I took my little swatch all the way to NYC.  These ended up costing me $1.50 each – crazy when the dress requires ten! That’s more than my fabric cost.


The pattern was super quick to make and not many alterations were required.  In retrospect though I should have cut about two sizes smaller and done an FBA instead of cutting my bust measurement and having to alter the shoulders and waist darts – but as you may know by now I really don’t do muslins unless it is a vintage pattern so I live with the results.  I have never really had any big non-fixable disasters.

Oh yeah, I added pockets too – it is always good to have places to store stuff!
BTW – did you check out my new favourite shoes?? Super cute and comfortable – awesome!!
I have more shirt-dresses planned – anyone have any tips on where to get good buttons that don’t cost the earth??