Hot! The “Stop Making Sense” Shirt Dress

The Facts

Fabric: Orange/white polka dot quilting cotton from stash, think it was from fabric discount store, probably about $3, Tangerine tango shirting cotton leftover from Pantone challenge in stash.
Pattern: Simplicity 9362 adapted.
Year: 1995.
Notions: 9 buttons, fusible interfacing, thread, all in stash.
Time to complete: 14 hours.
First worn: 20th August 2012.

Wear again? Yep!

Total Cost: $3 (£1.91)

The challenge: “Collar Me Beautiful: This week, we’re all about collars”.

First of all, let me assure that I’m actually smiling a lot more this week than in previous weeks. I actually thought I’d done a good job of smiling in these photos until I looked at them….forgive me, I took them at the worst part of the day here and the barely-being-able-to-keep-my-eyes-open-in-the-bright-sunlight looks like I’m not much improved from last week’s dive into the deep.

I’ve actually had some fun this week.

This is how it all happened (are you sitting comfortably?)

So last week was the Music challenge. And I did a rather cathartic but scaring of the horses (Frau Blucher!) tribute to the Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon LBD, but all week pondered what I should have really made, as I hated making that dress (yes, yes, I know you all warned me not to) and don’t like Pink Floyd.

One of the options that I’d dearly like to make one day is a David Byrne Stop Making Sense over-sized suit….but I’ll let the more experienced seamstresses/tailors in our ranks achieve the suit-in-a-week miracle, my talents aren’t there yet. And to be honest, this would be one occasion that Leimomi could ask “but would you actually wear it out?” and I’d probably have to admit no ;)

So the plan was to make something with a collar, channeling the David Byrne suit, that would give me the excuse to play Talking Heads (and straying into some Tom Tom Club)…..and in orange, to cleanse myself of that Little Black Dress.

I picked up a 1995 (though to me it feels slightly more 80s) Simplicity 9362 pattern in a charity shop for 25c (16p) as it wasn’t far off my size and I knew I could grade it up (I so rarely find any retro/vintage patterns my end of the scale and haven’t scaled up anything under an 18 yet….perhaps by the end of the year). I loved the quirkiness of the over-size shirt with attached button-down tie… decided to make it even bigger and into a shirt dress. My youngest is trying to encourage me to make a belt in the orange, but I quite like it boxy, even if that isn’t particularly flattering.

I do like this tie-bit and how it buttons down using the shirt buttons.

So there you go. It was fun. It makes me feel a WHOLE lot better. And as I say, sorry I was scowling at the sun instead of smiling….I will do better next week…..particularly as the assistant in Jo-Ann’s remarked on next week’s fabric when I was buying it “ooh this will be a bit hot for this weather” (currently still just above 102F/39C, so cooler than of late, and it’s tartan)……I might have to do the shoot at night and with my feet in a bowl of iced water (and no that’s not a clue to the literary character inspiring my make! I’m such a tease).



Tempest Devyne is a Brit who loves rain. She was therefore exiled to the deserts of Arizona. She started tentatively sewing about 3 years ago to make her own burlesque costumes. She'd now like to make pretty clothes for herself that don't rely on velcro and poppers to stay on. She's self-taught with help from the internet and lots of books from the library.


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  1. Dang it! Am I that transparent! ;-) I just can’t get past my frugal “don’t make anything you won’t wear and use constantly” tendencies.

    I love the orange top! It’s so fantastically bright and cheerful, and you do look much happier in it!

    If you did a belt, would you be able to slip it through the last two buttons in the tie? That would be awesome :-D

  2. Great minds think alike Leimomi….I suddenly remembered that I made a tie-belt in the orange fabric already for the Pantone challenge and am now wearing it just above the last tie button. I still like the shirt dress boxy, but it looks slightly more 2012 and less 1995 and slightly more “normal” with a belt for wearing out in public.

  3. Belt or no belt I adore this outfit. It made me smile too. Oh, can I guess, is it Harry Potter?

    • Good stuff, I like making people smile.

      Nope, not Harry Potter….although Nymphadora Tonks is already my go-to Halloween/fancy dress party costume. Though the Harry Potter series are amongst my top 10 reads, I’m doing someone from my no. 1 favourite, the book I’d choose if marooned on a desert island.

  4. I love the faux necktie detail! How interesting! Fab job making something that makes you feel more ‘you’ :D

  5. That is a really interesting pattern! It’s one of those that makes me sit back and wonder what I could do with it. I have never seen anything like it.

    You do wear it well and I like the orange. I’d like to see it with the belt.

    It’s still a very pretty smile-

    • It’s why I snapped it up when I spotted it at the thrift store….you know I like quirky. Now that I’ve made it once, I’d quite like to make another in a much lighter-weight cotton (so it would suit a belt better) and not make it quite so boxy, but actually shape the side seams to give it a bit of a waist. Your denimy shirt dress for the Jubilee challenge was ace.

  6. Look at that! the tie runs into the buttons, that’s a clever concept.

    Gosh can you imagine constructing those David Byrne shoulders? Crazy shizz, I always loved that oversized suit, it made my mum mad haha! Tina Weymouth basslines were what got me playing bass guitar, she was soooo cool.

    Glad the orange makes you happier.

    • I’d just like to have 20 minutes dancing in that suit. That would be so cool. I had a glam rock act that channeled some David Byrne moves…I doubt the audience ever realised. They probably thought I was having some sort of fit. I’d pull some superb shoulder moves if I could wear the real thing.

  7. THAT’S more like it!! I think you should make the velcro suit, and then cover an entire wall with velcro and say it’s for putting “inspirational stuff” on. Then put yourself on it one day and see if the kids notice : )

  8. Great dress and so cheerful! The tie detail is interesting. Oh, and I love those orange chucks! I wasn’t aware that Leimomi is the one who always asks this question…I am actually like Leimomi and only make things that I am going to wear a lot. Although I have the feeling that you actually do wear your creations a lot – only that you wear clothes that regular mortals wouldn’t dare to wear in everyday life…but that’s good this way and makes the world a bit more cheerful. Maybe one week we should all do a “Tempest Devyne” challenge. I was actually seriously considering doing “Tempest Devyne” for the book challenge (hey, the inspiration can be a text and you’ve been producing a lot of text on Sew Weekly and in your blog…)…but then my inner Leimomi got in the way and I gave up on that idea for now. But only for now. ;)

  9. Mm hm, I think we can consider you well and truly cleansed from that LBD! Great colour!

  10. Amazing dress! And your look is cool!

  11. Love this shirt dress, love the tie, love happy Tempest! On a side note, I was reading your blog and looking at all the adorable pictures of your daughters. They are so beautiful, just like you Tempest. Beautiful women make beautiful daughters, even daughters with nicknames like Melchett and Goth Child ;)

  12. What a creative fun outfit and the matching shoes too! The whole ensemble makes me smile! I can see this as the perfect Fall outfit.

  13. woah. so crazy and creative!