Hot! The “Had to Have It” Shirt (that became a) Dress

Patterns: McCall’s M6124, McCall’s M6512, Simplicity 2447

Year: Contemporary

Fabric: 2yds Chambray $16

Notions: thread $2.50, 15 buttons $10.50

Total Price: $29 (that’s a lot for me!)

First Worn: Sunday

Wear Again?: of course

It’s probably no surprise to you all that I picked Prince Harry. Not because I have some sort of crush on him but because it’s more like me to pick one of the guys. I saw this Chambray a couple of weeks ago and was dying to get my hands on some.   Luckily I found this picture of Prince Harry wearing a denim shirt. Even though I never think of the guy it felt very strange looking him up and viewing pictures of him leaving nightclubs.

I’ve been wanting a denim shirt for some time now and had no luck finding any at the thrift stores. When I started placing the pattern pieces on the fabric  I realized that I had enough to make the shirt dress. I knew if I made the shirt dress I’d still have to make myself a shirt at some point and that if I didn’t the extra fabric would just lay around in my stash so I went for it.

I used pattern 6124 for the dress, 6512 for the pockets, and 2447 for the sleeve tab. As usual I had to add an inch and a half just above the bust point because the bust and waist were hitting me a little high. What I forgot to do was adjust for my hips since I was cutting a size smaller for a little less ease. When I had the basic piece together I tried it on and it was tight at the hip. Since I decided to do French seams as a finish I wasn’t too keen on opening it all up to bring the seams out a 1/4 in. My sewing instructor had a solution-I sewed from the bottom of the arm scythe towards the waist tapering out to about 1/4 in. and stopping and back tacking to secure the seam. Then made a small clip about 1/2 inch above the end of the seam and opened the fabric out and pressed it flat. Then I went back to my seam and continued sewing all the way down to the hem. Sounds confusing and I wish I knew enough about computers to draw you a picture. It worked. It’s amazing what an extra inch will do.

I love top stitching and may have gone a little crazy with it. I actually had to stop myself at some point so that I would have enough thread for all those buttonholes. Almost every seam has two rows of top stitching. The original hemline was straight all the way around with small side vents. I ditched the side vents and had the hem curve up at the sides like some button downs do. You can see the side of the hem in this picture.

I’m laughing because I’m trying to look as though I’m really into those flowers.

I used the sleeve piece from the Simplicity pattern to mark the place where the tabs would be sewn on. After I made the tabs and sewed them on and sewed that little square with the X in it to hold it in place I realized that they were about 4 inches too long. I’m not sure why they would make them that long. I thought about cutting them down without having to undo the stitching but instead I decided to turn it into an “interesting detail”. At first I was going to add D-rings to pull the tabs through but my pal at the fabric store was against it. I decided to use buttons instead.

There are three buttonholes. First I pull the tab up and button it then fold it over. I think it looks pretty cool. The pattern does not include a piece for a belt but I made one so I could have it as an option. Just a simple one that wraps around my waist a few times.

I mentioned a sewing class up there. I decided to take one because I’m trying to make a dress for someone and wanted the extra help with alterations. There is so much going on in my life at the moment I may have to pass the project along to someone else. Don’t think I need any more stress. Thank God for Sew Weekly-the weekly projects are keeping me sane!

I happened to find this picture of Princess Kate wearing this shirt dress. It doesn’t look like chambray but the color is similar.

All right ladies-wish me luck for next week. It’s the last week of school and my time is all tied up in end of the year activities. I won’t have much time to sew and I haven’t bought my fabric yet. I may have to ditch my project for a smaller more manageable one. We’ll see.



Gina Clark is a girl from Texas living in the Midwest. She has been sewing most of her life but swears every few months that she is giving it up for good.


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  1. You are a top-stitch queen! Seriously, I bow down to the details and finishing on this one. Love the adapted button detail on the sleeve and the transformation of the shirt into a dress. Also, good luck with school!

    • Thank you Adri. Sometimes top stitching can really up the look of a garment and sometimes I think it can take away. I think it makes my shirt dress look less homemade. I really try hard not to make my stuff look too crafty. Not that there’s anything wrong with that it just not my thing. I;m taking a class at my local fabric store. The instructor is amazing. I;m hoping to take the class again in July. Not just for the class but also for the company.

  2. I totally have some sort of crush on him (or at least I used to, when I was young–I had a picture of him on my wall where everyone else had their Prince William picture), and I love your shirt/dress! Good luck with school and sewing, you’ll manage everything!

  3. All the details are amazing.

  4. That’s a great dress.

  5. Wow.. I am so impressed .the dress is beautiful.. and all that top stitiching.Fantastic… Happy sewing and good luck with school.

    • Thank you Judy. I’ve worn it twice this week so I;m getting plenty of wear out of it already! I was afraid it was going to look too much like a maid’s uniform.

  6. Amazing details! I love it. And I love that you thought outside of the box and picked one of the royal males! But I also found that any time I thought of an outfit based on another royal, Kate had also worn something similar! That girl gets into everything, I swear! Fantastic job.

  7. Gina I love this dress and all the details. Love the photos, it really allows you to appreciate the details on the arm as well as the front pockets. Also love the color blue of the denim, it’s kind of a grayish blue and its makes it look classic design. Can you tell me what is your pixel ratio to insert the large pictures, I haven’t been able to figure it out on my own.

    • Krista 600px proportional works for me. Hope this helps.

    • Honestly Krista you got me at pixel ratio. I usually take the images and cut them down by at least half then after I insert them into my post I click on them and reduce the image by 20%. Sometimes I think my images look too grainy. I use a regular point and shoot-nothing really fancy. I know that wasn’t helpful so I’m glad Kazz chimed in.

      I like the color too and hope to have a blouse made soon. With the challenges and all it probably won’t happen for a while!

  8. Love it! You are the detail queen.

  9. She is absolutely perfect. Love the top stitching detail it makes the shirt and the colour suits you. I went the androgynous route too, I couldn’t find anything I’d wear again on any of the ladies. Good luck with everything… Stress less and just sew :)

    • I think the real challenge for me sometimes is connecting what I’m going to make to the challenges. A fabric may get my imagination going and then I have to think about how to work it in so I’m still participating. Can’t wait to see what you came up with!

      I think I’d be more stressed if I didn’t have the projects to distract me.

  10. Looks fabulous! I love Chambray and I love you chose Prince Harry. He is a hunk….

  11. It looks fantastic! I love all the detailing, especially all the top-stitching.

    • Thanks Meg! My next project is top stitched at the neckline and hem only. guess it’s the yang to last week’s ying.

  12. Wow, you are so patient! It is immaculate – again. Love the tricky sleeve tabs. Great work.

  13. I cannot tell you how glad I am that we have you in our midst Miss Gina, not only do you bring to the game items that no-one else would think of making (we wouldn’t have half enough trousers and androgynous clothing without you) BUT they’re all so well made………I LOVE DETAILING and your top stitching makes me happy :)

    Good luck with the end of term…I went through that 2 weeks ago and my days were chokka block with awards ceremonies, assemblies, putting together work portfolios etc. Now I’m into summer break and sewing is a breeze, haha what am I saying? Sewing is the thing I sneak in between breaking up fights between over hot and overtired kids. I seriously wish us all the best of luck!

    • I feel the same way about you Tempest and knowing I make you smile makes all of this more meaningful.

      The kids are done and my sewing time has been cut in half. I’m also applying for part-time work so…my posts will be full of t-shirts and a-line skirts. Gone will be the days of whole outfits. Hopefully I’m just being dramatic. We’ll see-

      • Even if you did an alternating t-shirt and a-line skirt for the rest of the year, I’m sure your wonderfully creative brain (you are a deconstruction genius) and choice of fabric would make them shone amongst all our submissions….and I’m so with you about Sew Weekly giving us a little goal each week to triumph at, something of our own.

  14. This is great dress and those little details are fantastic! I love it!

  15. OH I so want a dress just like that. I’d have to wear it in the fall here but it looks like it would be such a great wardrobe staple.

  16. Oh yes! Went to England a few years ago and one of my favorite souvenirs was a postcard of Prince William. What a great inspiration for that very cool dress. I’m really impressed with all of the detail. It looks so well made! I bet you wear it often, and no doubt, you’ll get lots of compliments.

  17. Your embellishment details are always so inspiring! I love what you did with the sleeve tabs. I’m with you in that summer sewing will be a challenge. I’m lucky school doesn’t get out until the 27th, though. Hope we’ll all be able to stay in the game. I’d miss you!