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DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

The Saraste Shirtdress from Breaking the Pattern

My first Minerva Craft’s Blogger Network for the year went up today!

For this post, I decided a lovely new dress would be the perfect way to start off my sewing journey for 2019!

I chose 2 metres of the beautiful Atelier Brunette viscose crepe in the Storm colourway. It’s a light petrol blue shade with a lovely drape and sheen to it. I got the two metres without a completely set idea on what to make with it except that I knew I wanted a dress out of it. It’s always a little bit dangerous to get the fabric first without a pattern as there’s a chance you might not get enough but I like living life on the edge!

I ended up rifling through all my patterns and pattern books and decided to make the Saraste shirtdress from the new Named book released last year – Breaking the Pattern.

This dress was one of my favourite patterns from the book (I’ve already made the Solina dress and Utu pinafore) and I knew it would be on the top of my list of what to make this year. Luckily for me it takes just 2 metres of fabric to make!

The basic shape of the dress reminded me of the Alder dressfrom Grainline Studio – they both have a similar thing going on with a ruffledskirt that goes part way round at the waist. However, in typical Named Clothingstyle they’ve added their own twist to it!

There’s a ruffle in the collar and vents in the princessseam on the front shoulder. The pattern comes with all these optional choicesso that you can mix up the design elements to fit your personal style.

The sample garments in the book uses cotton shirting but Iwondered how it would work with something far drapier. I wanted it to feel morerelaxed than a typical shirt/ shirtdress!

It was a fairly simple sew – it’s a well drafted pattern andwasn’t as fussy as I’d anticipated. The instructions are a little confusing asit flips between the shirt version and the dress version but it does covereverything. It was maybe half a day of proper sewing to finish it but that’snot including time taken to trace off the pattern!

I made a size 5 with no alterations to the pattern except to shorten the hem (I took off about 10cm and it’s still pretty long!). I opted not to interface the button band (mostly because I couldn’t be bothered) and I wonder how much of a change it would have made. I felt by leaving it out it kept the shape a bit softer but you then have the problem with more wrinkles and creases around the buttonholes. I don’t think it matters either way though!

New backdrop in my new flat!

Looking back at the photos, I think I could’ve done withtaking some of that length out of the bodice instead of just lopping it off thehem! The waist is sitting a little bit low on me. It could probably do with abit more of press too!

The only thing I would’ve changed to this dress would be to add in-seam pockets in the skirt. It would have been a simple addition but I’d run out of fabric at that point and I didn’t fancy trying to find a fabric of a similar colour and weight to substitute in.

Despite all that, I’m happy with how it turned out! It’s alittle librarian chic but I kind of like that! I think it’ll work layered up witha sweater and boots for winter and with some brogues for the summer.

N.B. There is an error one pattern piece which I forgot to mention earlier. There’s a point when you’re tracing off the pattern where you need to join up two pieces to create the full length of the Front Dress piece but the bottom left front edge is missing. It’s an easy fix as it’s all straight lines here. Just match up the marks and letters which are there then lengthen the CF and hem lines until they meet!

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  1. Emily as always another beautifully made garment. I absolutely love it. It’s a nice color on you and I like the little peek a boo slits in the shoulder. Looking forward to your next post. You are an amazing seamstress. Have a beautiful weekend.

  2. Hi, I’m making this pattern. And I’m wondering if did you have the pattern incomplete in the low section of the front skirt? or, if did you have to add it apart? ‘Cuz I have a large miss of missing in there (I hope you can understand me) cheers from Mexico!

    1. Yes! There’s an error on the sheet for the Front Dress piece! It’s easily corrected though – match up the letters that you can and then draw a straight line down the centre front line and across the hem. There’s basically a corner missing. Hope that helps!

  3. This looks really nice! I have the book and was thinking of making the shirt. I like the shoulder vents but thought they would be right where my bra strap would be – how have you found this?

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