It's summertime here in Illinois! Even though I love to be outside and spend time in my garden, I also am quite concerned about preventing sun damage to my skin and covering up as much as is reasonably comfortable. For that reason, I decided to make some shirtdresses that would be lightweight, breezy, yet, tightly woven fabric that would offer some degree of SPF protection, and cover at least my upper arms and shoulders. In the photo on the left, it looks like I'm wearing a camisole- I'm not, that's just the line where the sun protection from my hat ends-guess I need to button up a little further! The two fabrics that I used just sold out, so maybe you even bought some! But if not, Fabric Mart has a great selection of other shirtings in stock.
For my first dress, I used a 100% cotton plaid shirting in a strawberry red, off white and blue. When I originally got it, I thought it looked like a tablecloth and wasn't too excited. But after playing around with the plaid placement, I love it! It is so comfortable. For the pattern, I used a woven shirt pattern- Butterick 6635 and lengthened it 6 inches.
I can wear this one as an overshirt as well. I think that working with plaids can be really fun. You do need to make sure that you order extra fabric, because the larger the plaid, the more likely it is that you will have to move your pattern pieces away from each other so that you can match the side seams, sleeve seams, or whatever else you would like to match! For a small plaid, I would order at least 1/2 yard extra. For a plaid like this, I would order a full yard more. Let me tell you about my plaid placement. So, there were thick horizontal red stripes, and they were 18 inches apart. I decided to place one thick horizontal red stripe at the bust line, and the next thick red stripe would fall near the hem. Then, on the back, I matched the horizontal stripes, and used the vertical thick red stripe down the center. I turned the yoke piece to lay crosswise so that I could get one more large red stripe on the back.
I chose this pattern because I wanted a straight dress with no waist seam, and I was also curious about the hidden placket. For some reason, I've never been able to wrap my head around the concept of a hidden placket. After making two of these, I think I've got it! Here's what the hidden placket looks like when it is pulled back.
I also added a couple of pockets, cut on the bias, and made a sash, using the thick red stripe. I'll probably wear the dress without the sash at home, but if I go out, it will be a nice option to have. I think this will be a great farmer's market dress. The tote that I'm holding is one that my daughter brought back from Madagascar! It's great for shopping.
For my second dress, I used a cotton/lycra shirting in blue and white. I thought that I would like having the added lycra, but honestly, I preferred working with the 100% cotton. The lycra adds quite a bit of weight, and this one doesn't drape as nicely as the first dress. The fabric would probably have been better made into a fitted shirtdress. If I make this pattern again, I'll stick with 100% cotton shirtings. But, I do love the colors on this one, and I'm sure that I will wear it- it is just when comparing the two fabrics, this style works better with the 100% cotton.
For this dress, I put the yoke on the bias, and tried to center one of the dark stripes down the center front and back. Here is the hidden placket on this one:
Over to you- have you worked with plaids before? Do you enjoy the challenge of matching them? Do you have any tips on sewing clothing for sun protection?