Shirt dresses are really fashionable right now and I fell in love with this Burda Sewing Pattern as soon as I saw it. 

The skirt is much wider than it looks on the pattern and I felt it just called out for a net petticoat. Mine is a bought one, but if you can cope with yards and yards of net then they are easy enough to make.

The very first thing you need to do is to study the pattern and choose your size. You will find the layout on the tissue pattern itself. The skirt takes up most of the fabric and you need to remember to cut out the skirt pattern twice, each one on the fold to make the front and the back. Position the other pieces, matching the pattern where you can and following the grain lines.

Then you need to transfer all of the pattern markings onto the fabric. It really does make sewing this dress together easier if every pattern marking is transferred. I used two methods. For the top and sleeves I used tailors tacks which is my preferred method, but as this fabric is weighty I used tracing paper and a tracing wheel to mark the pleats on the skirt.

To further reinforce the nautical theme I added a pocket, embroidering a ship on it in red to pick out the red on the fabulous buttons. 

Making a pocket  is simple it is the placement which matters. Avoid the bust darts, so attach it before you sew the darts and do match the pattern.

The pattern instructions are very easy to follow and for once I did follow them exactly! So, the next steps are to make the darts and sew the shoulder seams.You then need to deal with the collar and facings. All these pieces need interfacing. Make up the facing and then neaten the outside edge.

Sew the two collar pieces together.

Trim and grade the seams and cut the corners off. Press. Turn right sides out and then push the corners out and press again.

Sew the collar in place, use a basting stitch just inside the seam allowance, then attach the facing. Understitch as far as you can, remembering that the inside folds outwards at the neckline. Press.

I attach the sleeves now before the side seam are stitched as I find it easier. Oops, I have deviated from the instructions!

It is also easier if you work the buttonholes now. The pattern calls for three buttons but I wanted five so I measured the position of each buttonhole and then made a practise buttonhole on a scrap of my fabric which had also been interfaced.

Once you are happy with your buttonhole – if you are not sure how to do them refer to your machine manual – work them on the right front of the bodice. But don’t cut them out yet.

We now need to work on the skirt. The pattern markings will help you to form the box pleats. Can you make out on the photograph the pleat markings?

They will make this part so much easier. Stitch the pleats down when you have formed them, keeping within the seam allowance.

Join the skirt fronts and backs to the bodice, still without sewing the side seams. Make sure that the darts align perfectly with the pleats.

The next task is to insert the invisible zipper. The instructions on the pattern are very good and easy to follow.

You will need an Invisible zipper foot, these are specially made with grooves in the base of the foot which the teeth of the zip fit into, pushing them to one side to enable the needle to stitch very close to the zip teeth. Pin or use clips to hold the zipper in place while you sew it. Complete both sides. Don’t worry that the last inch or so will not be easy to sew. Just stop sewing as you get close to the zip pull, you can then either shorten the zip a little after the seam has been sewn or you can finish it by hand. 

When you  look at the right side of the dress you will not be able to see the zip at all.

We are nearly done now! Well I say nearly, but the rest is easy. Sew your sleeve and dress side seams in one long seam. Trim the seams and neaten it.

Neaten the edge of the sleeve and turn it up. I topstitched the edge with a twin needle and I didn’t form the cuff as I didn’t think the dress needed anything else adding to it.

You will need somebody to help you to mark the hem and pin it. Pleats and a lot of fabric can easily make for an uneven hem if you are not careful, so take time to get your hem even. I over-locked the hem after trimming it and then topstitched with my twin needle as I did with the sleeves.

Do take care when cutting your buttholes. I put a pin on the end and use sharp embroidery scissors to cut them. Sew on your buttons and a hook and eye closure at the top of the zip where the zip ends under the arm.

Check for loose threads and give it a final press. Wear. Enjoy!

This is a lovely pattern, and it is very easy to follow. The fabric I used is a Stretch Cotton Fabric which is fairly substantial and Minerva have loads of these Fabrics to chose from in different prints or plains. If you want a floaty dress then use a Cotton Lawn Fabric, long or short it will be perfect for summer.

Here are some pictures of the finished dress...

Thank you to Minerva for everything which went into making this lovely dress. I would love to see your pictures too.

Angela