Sunday, 31 March 2013

Summer shirt dress

More sewing for the holiday! And for summer in general... I've been trying to use some more of my patterns - this is one I bought fairly recently. Apologies that I am not modelling any of the clothes in the next few posts, I didn't have time for a photoshoot in the last couple of weeks, and now they are all folded up and packed for holiday... I will post photos of them "in use" when I'm back!

Pattern description

Vogue 8613: close fitting dress with front yoke, three bust darts, collar, cap sleeves and slightly flared skirt.

Pattern sizing

Available in sizes 8-24. I cut the 16.

Fabric used

Stretch rayon challis, with non-stretch rayon challis for the collar and facings.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope/sketch/idea when you were done?

Not entirely. As many have noted on Pattern Review, this is actually much closer fitting than the picture on the front would lead you to believe. I was concerned that I'd misread or mismeasured something, but checking the garment measurements printed on the pattern confirmed that it really is very close fitting. It is very low cut at the front (even for me - and I like fairly low cut tops!), so I raised the top button about 2cm (and re-spaced the buttons accordingly). If I made this again, I would alter the shape of the front piece slightly so that the lapel curves out only above the top button.

I also really don't like zips in stretchy garments if they can be avoided (and I knew that with this particular fabric it would be a nightmare to put in neatly), so I extended the centre front so that the buttons continue into the skirt. I would imagine that if this was made in a jersey, the zip could easily be eliminated without extending the buttons to the skirt.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

They were mostly pretty good. The only part I got a bit confused about was the collar, I had to read it through a few times to work it out. Other than that it's pretty straightforward.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I like the front yoke and interesting bust dart placement, and jersey dresses are always useful in anyone's wardrobe! I really didn't like how much ease there is in the sleeve caps: 4cm!!! In a dress drafted for knits!!! I couldn't get the sleeves in as intended without some puckering, so decided to fold out the excess to create a small pleat at the top of the sleeve. I actually quite like how this looks.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

As already mentioned, I extended the buttons all the way down the front, extending the centre front of the skirt by the same amount as the bodice, and adding a facing. If I'd thought about it earlier (and had had enough fabric) I would have cut the facings as one (i.e. without a seam at the waistline). I added a fair amount at the waist seams, but it fitted well enough elsewhere, even without my usual FBA. (It would fit better with an FBA, but I couldn't be bothered working it out here. I will probably do so if I make another one.)

Construction details

I serged all exposed seams. Enclosed seams were sewn on my regular machine and pinked (i.e. where the facings were joined to the front edges, and where the collar was attached). I did much more topstitching than the pattern indicates, as I liked the look of it.

I used cotton batiste to interface the collar and the facings. The collar has actually ended up a little bulky, but I don't know how I would avoid that. I also added elastic at the waistline, serging it on as I sewed the seam. My fabric is pretty heavy, so this provides some support for the weight of the skirt.

I added a hook and thread bar at the waistline.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might sew this again - I quite like the idea of it in a plain fabric. However, repeats of most things generally take a low priority for me, so I think I will give it a few wears to see how much I like it before deciding.

I would recommend this to others, but be aware that it is actually very close fitting.


When I finished this dress, I was rather down on it, as it wasn't particularly fun to sew - the fabrics I chose were slippery and stretchy and blah. I'm not super happy with the finishing on this dress, but after leaving it a few days I don't think it looks quite as sloppy and "home-made" as I first did. I'm not convinced the hem is totally ok, but I'm really not feeling like redoing it right at the moment. I am slightly in two minds whether it looks retro and funky, or just a bit frumpy, but I'm coming down on the side of funky and retro I think, as long as the styling is right. It is certainly very comfortable to wear, and is a lovely cool fabric for the summer.


  1. This is a fabulous dress-the collar, the fabric...all the details are terrific. Nice to have found your blog.

  2. Hi there!
    Very nice dress!
    These pattern I'm already looking for very long time. They dont sell these in Europe! Can You tell me where I can find those patterns? Vogue online don't sell those anymore :(
    Or can I maybe buy Your pattern? :D

    Anna aka Mamuska

  3. I'm willing to pay your price! Pleasssse!