Hey Minerva Makers!

This dress is a really easy hack of the Grainline Studios Archer Shirt. I had saved a picture on Instagram over a year ago of a really nice corduroy shirtdress, loose flowy and slightly military inspired. I had decided I wanted to make a vague recreation.

The dress in the original inspiration picture was green, a vivid pea green, but all the greens that seemed to be in-stock on Minerva were more olive-y/khaki tones and with the slightly military vibe I didn’t want people to think I had made an army-themed dress. So I went for a completely different colour corduroy – this rust shade. I’d like to point out that it is IMPOSSIBLE to get an accurate picture of this fabric, it is a lovely deep rust orange colour, the picture on the website is by far the most accurate – my pictures are coming up much too saturated and much too red. We tried to edit the pictures to be more accurate but then I looked weird and so we decided just to leave them alone!

Aside for being a pain in the butt to photograph the fabric is lovely. It was important to me to choose needlecord that was 100% cotton as so much of it is poly and I prefer working with natural fibres as much as possible. I decided on this one as it is non-stretch and nice and wide. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived that it is also relatively lightweight for a corduroy, perfect for baby clothes and perfect for what I was intending – gathers!

I chose to use the Grainline Archer shirt as the base for my dress and really didn’t do anything especially clever to hack it. I folded the pattern pieces for the shirt front, back and plackets so that they were all the desired waist height and cut out all the shirt pattern pieces. I then took the skirt pattern pieces from one of my other dresses (the Merchant and Mills Ellis Dress) and cut out a skirt front and back and four pocket pieces. That used up pretty much all of the 3m I ordered. I also used a funky scrap of lobster fabric for the under collar and yoke.

I then followed the Archer shirt intructions as if I was making the shirt as normal until the point came to add the buttons. My machine is very picky about sewing buttonholes. It doesn’t like sewing them in any fabrics other than nice shirting cotton. I’ve battled with it enough times to know that sewing buttonholes in this needlecord was not a battle I was going to win, so I decided to change the game!

I ordered this set of Hemline Metal Snaps from Minerva and thought they would really add something to that military shirt vibe I was going for. The kit comes with the little tools you need and all you need to add are a hard surface and a hammer. I had lots of fun hammering them and I really love the look! I have a few leftover and I will definitely be using them up in other makes for sure!

Having finished the shirt, it was a case of adding the pockets to the skirt, sewing the side seams, and gathering it to sew to the bodice. I thought gathering needlecord might be a nightmare but this is thin enough to gather nicely and it was actually pretty easy, I had no problems.

The final thing I did was to try it on to decide on the length and I took it up so it has a nice chunky 3 inch hem. I am really pleased with my finished dress and can see me wearing this a lot over winter. It’s toasty warm so might need putting away for the summer when the weather warms up but then I can’t wait to bust this out in autumn and twirl around in the leaves!

Until next time, happy sewing!