One Last Summer Dress – And I Have Mixed Feelings

DIY Blue and White Striped Summer Shirtdress by Sartorial Seamstress

I know summer is quickly coming to an end, but I figured I could sneak this summery little number in just under the wire. And considering this is the only summer dress I made all season, it was now or never.

DIY Blue and White Striped Summer Shirtdress by Sartorial Seamstress

This is McCalls 8030, and it was new this Spring. What first attracted me to this pattern was the easy style and the ability to play around with a striped fabric…oh, and the fact that it was a shirt dress (surprise, surprise). I loved the idea of making it in a striped fabric with the stripes running vertically for the body of the dress and then horizontally on the front and back yoke.

The pattern has three different lengths and two hem styles, including a straight hem and the shirttail hem that I chose. It also comes with the pattern piece to create the belt with D-rings. I love this style belt for a casual dress.

DIY Blue and White Striped Summer Shirtdress by Sartorial Seamstress

Before I get into too many details, I must tell you that I had a hard time writing this post, because this dress is…well, it’s boring. I just couldn’t get excited about it. This dress isn’t an absolute disaster, but it also isn’t anything special. When I wear it, I just feel sort of meh. It serves its purpose as an easy summer staple, but that’s about it.

I got this striped cotton last year at Hobby Lobby. I bought it with the intention of making the Hey June Handmade Sanibel romper. I’m not sure why I ever had that pattern in my sights. I’m not really a romper kind of gal. Although, this dress has me second guessing my decision.

The fabric is very lightweight, almost transparent and has a very open weave. This means it was a pure delight nightmare to sew. It basically frayed at every opportunity. I think if you found just the right string and pulled, the entire dress would unravel around my feet!

DIY Blue and White Striped Summer Shirtdress by Sartorial Seamstress

Assembling this dress was relatively simple, and I didn’t initially make any alterations to the pattern, aside from leaving off the pockets, but more on that later. I say initially, because once the dress was finished, there was a huge problem. Well, two huge problems. This pattern has dolman-style sleeves. This means the sleeves are cut in one piece with the bodice or yoke. After I had the dress together, and the cuffs on the sleeves, I did one last fitting. The armholes were so huge you could see my entire bra anytime I moved my arms. I’m not entirely convinced you couldn’t also see the top of my underwear!

This was not going to work, so I took off the cuffs and took in the sleeves and cuffs by three inches and then graded back into the original seam. The size of these arm openings just seems like lazy pattern drafting to me. There is really no reason for the opening to be large enough for me to fit my thigh through it. I was able to fix the issue in about five minutes, and the flow of the side seam still looked great. It’s poor drafting like this that makes sewing from Big Four patterns a bit frustrating at times.

DIY Blue and White Striped Summer Shirtdress by Sartorial Seamstress

Speaking of the way this pattern was drafted, there were also some issues with the hemline. The way the instructions direct you to cut and sew the hem didn’t make sense, and the seams didn’t line up properly. If I had followed the instructions, there would have been some unfinished edges, and that wasn’t going to fly with this fabric. So, I tinkered around with it for a bit and finally figured out a way to hem the dress and have all the raw edges concealed. This involved some creative folding of raw edges.

Other than these two alterations to the sizing and construction, I also omitted the pockets. Or more accurately, I removed the pockets. I had reservations about the pockets but forged ahead anyway. Typically, I don’t like pockets in slimmer fit dresses. I also don’t care for pockets that aren’t anchored into a waistband. They add unwanted bulk and flop around. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather not have floppy fabric bags on my hips! After the pockets were in the dress, they were, as I suspected, bulky and floppy. Out came my dear and trusted friend the seam ripper!

DIY Blue and White Striped Summer Shirtdress by Sartorial Seamstress

I selected small wooden buttons for this dress. They provide a nice contrast to the blue – plus I had them in my stash. You may not be able to tell in these photos, but I forgot to add the very top button and buttonhole. I didn’t notice until I wore the dress, and by then I didn’t feel the need to go back and add it, especially since I never button that very top button. And let’s face it, I don’t like this dress enough to go back and fix that tiny detail.

This is the second blue and white striped summer dress I’ve made and the second one I’ve had less that enthusiastic feelings about. You can check out the first one here – I gave this one to a friend. Could it be that I have some strange aversion to blue and white striped dresses? Hmmm…something to ponder…

Until next time,

Happy Sewing!

DIY Blue and White Striped Summer Shirtdress by Sartorial Seamstress
DIY Blue and White Striped Summer Shirtdress by Sartorial Seamstress

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