Hot! The “Play it Off” Dress

The Facts:

Fabric: Shirting $1.98

Pattern: Self drafted, using Prudent Baby’s, Most Flattering Shirt Dress tutorial, but I made my own sleeves.

Year: Modern

Notions: Double fold bias tape, leftover in stash. 5 1/2 inch buttons, leftover in stash

Time to complete: 8 hours

Wear again? Why not?

Total price: $4.50

I ordered this fabric back in December, when shirting fabric went on sale. I had no idea what shirting fabric was, but I thought the prints were so beautiful, I ended up ordering four different kinds, all with a retro like print. This one is my favorite above all. Now, when they arrived, I was really excited. But to my surprise, the fabric felt like something I had never felt before. I don’t even know if I can describe it properly. It’s light weight, almost a nylon (parachute) feel, but not exactly. Anyways, it’s weird, and it frays, and it doesn’t hem well. Nor does it flow softly, which is what I wanted. No biggie. I can work with this, I’ll figure something out.

I decided to make a dress from a tutorial I had been wanting to try by Prudent Baby. I was really excited to try shirring on a dress for me. I had already done it on a dress for my daughter, but now it was my turn. It is time consuming, but so much fun to watch the work in progress. To be honest, out of the whole process with this dress, the shirring was the easy part and less painful to do on this fabric. When it came time to hemming the dress, I was in all sorts of crazy in the head. This fabric was just not double folding well. I eventually gave up and resulted to zig-zag stitch the bottom, fold it up and hem by hand. Also not easy? Ironing. This fabric would not iron. I didn’t have time to pull out the steamer, so I did the best I could.

Are you ready for the horror story now? I try my dress on. Low and behold there is a huge open gap at the bust. The fabric is too stiff to just drape down, like this:

Courtesy Prudent Baby

Nope, it just stuck straight out. Total disaster with this fabric. I decided to add darts to side bust area, and back darts. Did that fix the problem? Absolutely not. What did I do about it? Nothing. I left it alone for an entire day and night. I do better when I walk away. Good thing I did, because that night the Dressmaker Fairy came to me in a dream, and showed me how to fix my itty bitty major problem. The next morning I was ready to tackle the beast. What I did was fold over about an inch of the fabric down the center top, to make a fake buttoned down placket. I stitched both sides down and sewed on five pink buttons. I put the dress on, and waa laa, it fit! Thank you Fairy Dressmaker! I now want to wear this dress. For our outing I paired this dress with a burgandy boyfriend cardi and a wide brown waist belt. This dress alone is more for Summer heat rather than unpredictable Spring temperatures.







Bethany is a forever student in Fashion Design. She took a hiatus from her studies due to the fear of using a sewing machine and a long term illness. It wasn't until her daughter was born, she felt inspired to create again and dive headfirst into sewing by machine.


Comments are closed.

  1. What strange fabric. But you mastered it, and it’s such a pretty floral. Love the colour of it against that beautiful plum cardigan too.

  2. I walk away too, it’s the best thing you can do. Your fairy dressmaker made the right decision she’s turned out fabulously. Well done Bethany.

  3. Hi Bethany. I looked up shirting fabric in one of my books. It is woven from long staple yarns, so that is why it feels different. The books recommends ironing while slightly damp, flat fell or French seam finishes and hemming with a 1/4″ double fold hem top-stitched. My book recommends this fabric as being suitable for tailored shirts, pjs and boxer shorts. Hope that helps with your next project with this fabric.

  4. Now that you mention it, I think I’ve solved a sewing problem in my sleep too. Weird.
    This print is gorgeous and you’ve made such a cute dress! Very stylish.

  5. Love it with the cardigan. Too bad you suffered so much with the making of this outfit. We learn from our mistakes though.

  6. I haven’t worked with a shirting like that yet though I always see it on and wonder about it. I love the print on the fabric and your dress looks great!

  7. Hey Bethany, the fabric design is gorgeous and FYI, shirting fabric is easy to hem using a narrow hem foot. I usually set the stitch small and go at a slow pace. I think the dress is beautiful on. Happy sewing, can’t wait to see your ‘city’ challenge.

  8. I always use the wrong type of fabric so I feel your pain. I love the print so much though and it looks really cute on you. The button placket was a fab idea.

  9. Sweet print and a great save. Well done for stepping back and having a think (or rather dream) that allowed you to come up with a great workable solution.