I have wanted to make a shirt dress for ages and in this blog post I’m sharing how I made New Look 6449 for this Summer. It’s a relaxed style that I wanted to dress up for holidays or layer up with jeans and t-shirts for cooler days.

I fell in love with this gorgeous broadcloth with it’s all over pink floral and butterfly repeat. It’s so unusual to find a thicker weight fabric with such a small delicate pattern on it. I loved it and put it on my wish list straight away!

The shirt dress as we know it today came out of the 1960s, it has a relaxed fit and I think this New Look style looks very late 80s / early 90’s as it’s in heavier weight fabric. I really wanted to make this design as it had some lovely shirt details; the epaulette’s on the inside of the sleeves made rolling my sleeves up nice and tidy. Also, the open necked collar gave it a casual look. Add a patch pocket and yoke and that’s the perfect formula for a sewing project with a few details to challenge your stitching if you are a beginner that’s well worth the time. I hadn’t made a women’s shirt for ages and a shirt dress had been on my sewing list as it fits my lifestyle at the moment, a full time Mummy looking after my two little girls.

This project took me five nights to make. I did a little each night to make sure I didn’t rush any of the details and then spend ages unpicking my mistakes – we’ve all been there! The pattern stitched up perfectly and I didn’t need to alter anything. I made a size 12. The tie waist made it easy to fit too. I love New Look patterns and if you haven’t tried a big four pattern, I would encourage you to try as the fit is always spot on. It is graded as an ‘easy’ pattern but I would say it’s more an experienced beginner due to the details in button holing, top stitching and making the two piece collar. But well worth the time to make.

To finish off the shirt, I sewed 12 pink half inch buttons on my make; eight down the front and four to the cuffs.

The pattern comes with another more formal shirt dress (version D) which has long sleeves, double patch pockets and a one piece collar mandarin collar. So you can mix and match to make the right shirt dress for your style. I have also made version A, the knitted jersey dress for Minerva back in February which is a really quick beginner make and great as a T-shirt/tunic dress under an oversized shirt dress. This is a pattern which you can grow in confidence with your sewing.

Would I change anything about this make? Only to make it a little long in the skirt. But that’s it! I felt so proud of this dress when I wore it out, that really is the best feeling!

Pattern - New Look 6449 Shirt Dress version C

Fabric - Floral Butterfly twill cotton. 2.2m (150cm wide)

Time to sew - 5 evenings, 1-2 hours per night. I took my time!

Level - Easy / Immediate

Needle used - Standard 90

Changes to pattern - I made it to the pattern

What would I change if I stitched it again? - I would make it knee length and make the collar a little smaller.

I feel I’ve found the perfect smart casual look for Summer 2020. And I delighted to have ticked a shirt dress off my sewing bucket list.

Thank-you Minerva for the beautiful fabric and pattern, I really feel like I’ve made something I will wear again and again. And with so many fabrics perfect for this pattern at Minerva, I’m sure that you can find the perfect fabric combo for your shirt dress here.

Samantha writes a creative craft blog www.crafternoonteas.com and hosts Crafternoon Tea Parties and Events www.crafternoonteahostess.co.uk in the Midlands and beyond when it’s safe to do so!