Spring = Shirt Dresses + Sleeve Failures

I’ve been a super busy bee over the past couple of weeks! I’ve managed to acquire even more fabric since my last fabric haul post, so I’m practically swimming in cottons. But oh my goodness, my newest fabrics are some of the sweetest I’ve ever seen! With all this fabric overflowing my sewing spaces, I’ve been attempting to make a dent in my growing stash. And where better to start than with my favourite fabric of all time (I know I say this about pretty much every new fabric I buy):


But seriously, is this not the sweetest? Bien sûr! I got this gem after seeing it on The Foldline’s Facebook page and ended up ordering it from a US-based stockist (saving on the postage!). Fortunately, this particular fabric seems to be available from a few different places so I had no problem getting hold of it. If you’re interested, the fabric is called ‘Le Map’ and is designed by Dear Stella. I got mine from New Arrivals Inc. who mostly seem to cater to babies, but needs must. They have a 20% off voucher for joining their mailing list and I had the fabric within about a week of ordering. So definitely recommended!

As soon as I got this fabric, I wanted to set to work! Fortunately, I had the perfect project in mind. I’ve been messing around with plans for a Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress for ages now. I think I’ve had the pattern for about two years. But no fabric ever really jumped out at me as being entirely appropriate. I have a lot of difficulty pairing fabrics and patterns. It’s beyond the level of just thinking that a fabric would work for a pattern. I have to really feel like they go together – it’s the fabric/pattern equivalent of pairing soul mates. I’m like a matchmaker, except that there’s so much more at stake with what I do (I joke, of course. People are just as important as fabric). This is why shopping for fabric with a pattern already in mind is always a nightmare for me. It takes forever. I swear, my skeleton will eventually be found in an aisle at Joann’s.

As soon as I had the Paris fabric in my hands, I just knew it was time to dust the cobwebs from my Vintage Shirt Dress pattern and finally put it to work.


I’ve been working on the dress this week and it’s coming together a treat! As expected from Sew Over It, the pattern has proved very easy to follow so far. I decided to make the version with sleeves because I always love a sleeve. I’m not sure why but I really never wear anything sleeveless. That may need to change now that I live somewhere that gets 100F summers, but we’ll see.

Of course, this project hasn’t been without its problems. I spent most of the day yesterday trying to figure out issues that I was having with the sleeve cuffs. This is the first time I’ve found any instruction from Sew Over It to be vague enough that I end up spending ages trying to decipher them. The problem was in hemming the sleeves. The instructions tell you to turn the sleeve under to the wrong side and match with a notch on the inside seam. My mistake was in matching the raw edge of the hem with the notch (then spending ages pressing and sewing it) when I was supposed to match the sleeve’s actual edge with it. Essentially this meant that I had two sleeves with short hems and, when it came to turning the sleeve back to the right side in order to get a proper cuff, I had barely any fabric. Enter much unpicking…


The line of stitches is about 1cm from the edge of the hem (which is where the notch is). So, as you can see, there is definitely not enough fabric to turn back to the right side in order to make a cuff.


The seam gauge makes this photo look like a police evidence photo and I only just realised it.

This is my current status. I’ve unpicked and have now turned the hems under properly. Finishing and attaching the sleeves is on today’s agenda. I’m hoping that I might actually get around to doing the buttons/buttonholes, in which case I’ll only have the hemming left to do!

Despite my sleeve issues, I’m seriously loving this pattern. It’s come together really quickly and easily. I just love Sew Over It patterns. They’re always so clear (with the exception of the sleeve hemming) and well illustrated. Plus, the Vintage Shirt Dress has lapels! What could be more exciting?!


So that’s where we are! My plan is to get this dress finished by the end of the week and hopefully have photos up on Sew for Victory soon after. I’m off to see An American in Paris in a couple of weeks (one of my favourite Gene Kelly films!) and I can’t think of a more appropriate outfit. I’ll be a Brit in America in Paris fabric, watching An American in Paris. Perfection!



15 thoughts on “Spring = Shirt Dresses + Sleeve Failures

  1. designedbydanita says:

    Sometimes you just make me laugh out loud…for real…”The seam gauge makes this photo look like a police evidence photo and I only just realised it.” That one had me running to the ladies room…I was laughing so hard!!! Thank you I needed that! My sewing machine’s button hole maker decided to go on strike this morning! My husband came in for the negotiations and we achieved a compromise! It now works MOST of the time!!! That’s good enough for me! But your post was truly a God send!!! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤


    • sewforvictory says:

      Awwww! This comment makes my heart so happy! I’m really glad that you were able to laugh at the post 🙂 I’m also extra excited for you that you were able to negotiate with your husband (I know how that goes!) and get your button hole maker working – even if not 100% of the time! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily Kitsch says:

    This dress is going to be the perfect mix of cute and chic, I just know it! 😀 I can’t wait to see it! Also, I loathe when everything is going so well with a pattern and then you run into a patch of dodgy, mind-bending instructions! I’m glad you were able to work it out and are persevering in spite of the issue with the cuffs!


    • sewforvictory says:

      Hahaha! I think that sewing teaches us perseverance! I’m not a very patient person in life, so it’s definitely taken work to not just throw stuff in the bin whenever problems happen (my hubs has rescued more than a few)! And yes, I think this dress is going to be perfect – especially since we’re in full summer weather now and I need some cooler clothes! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Emily Kitsch says:

        It definitely does! And I’m glad your husband rescues the projects you temporarily chuck into the bin! 😉 I’m not the most patient person either, but sewing is definitely helping me with that! 🙂

        This dress is going to rock! 😀

        Liked by 1 person

    • sewforvictory says:

      Wow, that’s a whole load of shirt dresses! But I totally understand why! This pattern has actually been so easy to follow (except for the sleeve issue!) and takes surprisingly little time to put together. I’ll definitely be making more!!

      Liked by 1 person

    • sewforvictory says:

      I think beautiful fabric really does make any pattern look amazing. But the Vintage Shirt Dress pattern is amazing, regardless! And yes, I totally agree. There’s always some instruction that takes forever to decipher! But I guess that’s part of the learning process. 🙂


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