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Rosa Shirtdress

1.5 meters of the Gutermann Fabric… what would you make from it? If you follow the instructions in the name you’d likely use it for quilting, but then I’ve never been much of a rule follower. I always think fabric tells you what it should be, not always instantly mind you (I have a studio full of fabric that clearly can’t make up its mind) and this fabric was absolutely certain it should be a shirt dress!
There is of course a process I go through with fabric to figure out whether or not its suited to what I’m planning to make. This was an easy one for me as poplin is one of the most versatile fabrics. The cotton fibres mean it breaths and the polyester content means that it doesn’t crease as much as washes more reliably than 100% cotton. Gutermann fabrics also have a great advantage of being wider than most cotton fabrics. At 56” wide, you get more fabric for your money (which is always a great perk).
I decided I really fancied trying the Tilly and the Buttons Rosa, it’s been on my mental list of ones I’d like to try for a while so when I had decided the fabric needed to be a shirt dress it seemed the obvious choice. Now Tilly does state for the dress version that i’d need at least 2.2m but with spring on its way I decided I’d make a short sleeve variation which should make it possible in the 1.5 meters I had.
Now I should probably add here that I am not one for pattern matching with fabrics like this, it’s just not who I am as a dressmaker. If you are, I’d suggest you’d need at least the 2.2 suggested (possibly more). I love testing the capabilities of fabric amounts though, playing Tetris with the pattern pieces and seeing how little I can have left behind.
After cutting this out (and note I did cut the 2nd collar and under-collar in a contrast fabric) I had a small pile of scraps and a couple of small pieces that have since been added to my quilting scraps – the frugality would have thrilled my grandmother.
Cutting the sleeve short was super easy and is always an option on any sleeve pattern. I always measure down from my shoulder to where I want the finished sleeve to sit, it’s a more accurate way than trying to measure the under arm seam on yourself. I then measured down on the pattern from the sleeve head (accounting for the seam allowances on both edges). Then measuring where this point came to against the under arm seam edges to make it easier to create a level line so when I was sewing up the sleeve underarm seams they would match up. (I didn’t cut the pattern, I just laid the straight edge of the fabric at the line I had drawn so I have the option of making the long sleeve version in the future.
So once everything’s cut out the next challenge with a highly patterned and colourful fabric is to figure out what thread colour is going to work. I always suggest going for the background colour (unless you’re wanting a contrast) so for this fabric I used an unbleached. It is my favourite thread colour, which I know sounds odd, but it is so much softer than using white. For this fabric it just blended into the fabric so nicely, not creating a statement and letting the fabric create the impact.
Following the Tilly and the buttons pattern was easy, she’s incredibly thorough with her instructions (almost too thorough in my opinion, but that’s possibly just because I’m experienced) and the dress went together really quickly. Collars are always a fiddly part but it fit together nicely. Against my instincts I followed her instruction on cutting the inside collar pieces on the bias and if I’m honest I’d rather I hadn’t. It meant the fabric stretched out of position all too easily and I’m not sure it really added anything to the dress – although it still worked so no harm done.
The fabric handled and pressed so beautifully, it’s a massive perk of working in poplin. It also wears so well and is really comfy. The only thing I would do differently (when I invariably make another) is to use a much softer interfacing. The one I used is great and holds the form of the collar nicely but actually for this purpose it’s too formal (I’m hoping it’ll soften up a little after a couple of washes). All in all though, I am so pleased with this and with the weather looking like its improving (at long last) I’m excited to gets lots of wear from it.
Thanks for reading,
Clare @sewmamabear

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