Taking a bite out of my self-drafted sloper dress!

▲ ▲ ▲

Shirt dresses: the ultimate meld of masculine and feminine. Originally referred to as a “shirt-waist dress”, this staple first emerged from Christian Dior in the 1950’s as a “New Look” post WWII. Although shirt dresses have changed over the years, the primary principle remains: borrowing details from menswear like a button front, notched collar, or cuffed sleeves.

Indie pattern makers each seem to have their own take on this design. I did a little research while making this dress, looking at indie shirt dress trends. I found a whole lot of waist gathers and loose, boxy silhouettes. Personally, I detest gathers at my waist. They make me feel frumpy!

▲ Pattern ▲

I love this dress! It’s simple but fits so well. My goals in designing it were a close fit and a smooth skirt – no gathers! The bodice is my sloper (or block), altered for buttons and a collar. The skirt is a three-quarter circle skirt with inseam pockets; the neckline has a full collar. I’ve sewn it with sleeves and without. This time, I also added belt loops on the side seams.

▲ Fabric ▲

This pattern is well suited for sturdier quilting cottons, like this Dear Stella Dark & Stormy Sharks fabric, purchased locally. It has a soft hand and a little drape. The sharks and sea details are indigo, with a white background. I LOVE THEM! Their crazed shark eyes and toothy mouths are just perfect – cute but a little scary!

▲ Construction ▲

Construction is relatively simple – I do the darts and placket first, join the bodice, then move onto the skirt. I do the collar and sleeves last, because of the zipper which extends from the bodice to the skirt. If it put the zip in the back, it intersects with the collar and if I put it in the side, it intersects with one of the sleeves.

Although there are functional buttons on the front, it still requires a zipper. In the past, I’ve put the zip in the center back. This time, I put the zip in the left side seam. The pocket on this side luckily fell just below where the zipper would end, so I got to put the pocket together like normal.

There are three finishing techniques inside! The bodice seams, including the sleeves, are French seams. The skirt right side seam and the waist seam are bias-bound. To reduce bulk around the zipper, I terminated the bias binding 3/4″ before the side seam and finished the rest of it with a zig-zag stitch. The zipper side seam is finished with a zig-zag as well.

I like to vary my finishing methods based off fabric type and seam location to provide cleaner, streamlined seams.

Let me know what you think in the comments! Would you make this dress pattern?

Thanks for reading ♥