Simplicity 2246 - The Quest for a Well-fitted Shirtdress

I love shirtdresses. They have the classic style and polish of a button-front shirt and A-line skirt but in the simplicity of a one-piece. What's not to love? Too bad they don't love me.

I've tried on countless RTW shirtdresses from a variety of designers but, being pear-shaped (my hips are two inches bigger than they "should" be), I'm either swimming in the top half or buttons are pulling on the bottom. Neither is a great look.

So, when I saw Simplicity introduce a line of Lisette patterns, including a shirtdress, I knew this was the answer! Everyone on Pattern Review who sews for wee ones just raves about the pattern designer behind Lisette so, I was confident I would be able to easily "make it work". They were right! The directions are so clear and the designer added little tips along the way which would make this perfect for a beginner. The pieces themselves are also actually quite self-explanitory so, if you're a bit more advanced, you like won't even need to glance at those easy-peesy instructions! (Did I just say 'easy-peesy'? Why can I not stop saying that lately!? Must be too much True Blood...)

I made this first in an absolutely horrid red homespun cotton from Hancock. It looked crisp and bright in the store but when I prewashed it, three Color Catchers worth of dye came flooding out and it pilled like crazy in the dryer. Now, it's on it's way to a wannabe Nantucket Red and it itches. But, it was still a good experience as I got to see how easily it came together and found a few little tweaks I needed to make to the shoulders.

Haha - I wouldn't even allow my face in this picture.
I can't have people thinking I'd actually wear this! ;)

For my second one, I used the blue herringbone shirting fabric I wanted to use all along. (When I cut the pattern, I realized I would have to grade from a 6 to a 12 to get the right fit and, having never graded a pattern before, I was afraid of ruining my better fabric. It was a good call.) I made a 1/2" broad shoulder adjustment, raised the bottom of the armscye by 1/4" and smoothed the side seam grading. This gave me a better look and a greater range of motion.

Adjusted pattern laid over original.
More photos can be found in my Picasa album.

Due to a lack of a non-black belt, I made the self-tie to cinch the waist. A look I actually ended up liking. DF too! Bonus!

Can you tell I prefer this version?
Paired with Sperry TopSiders (Angelfish in Linen/Oat).
Perfect for the last bit of summer.

I love that this is a dress that will take me from Spring to Fall without fuss. Three seasons wardrobe pieces are just so practical and easily become go-to pieces (especially when its a whole outfit in one!). I love the elbow sleeves but if you get cold, it even looks great under a vee-neck sweater.

If you're looking for a shirtdress, I highly recommend this pattern. It's easy, comfortable, polished, and it's sure to get a lot of wear!

Happy sewing! x

P.S. This is the blue dress I wore in Michigan on Labor Day for Self-Stitched September. I actually threw this on yesterday just to grab a photo (it was so pretty out - we knew the lighting would make a fairly good shot). Would it be cheating if it pops back up this week!? Love it!


  1. I am loving this! The blue herringbone fabric is the perfect choice and the tie belt was a smart move. I've been wanting shirt dress as well, must add this to the never ending list! (And your hair totally rocks in the photo).

  2. Hi @Annabelle! Thank you! This one is a fairly quick sew so, maybe it can sneak in there somewhere (although, I know all about those never ending lists! There just aren't enough hours!). And thank you again! I'm still getting used to how short it is - it hasn't been so in 10 years! But, it was for a good cause and change is good :)


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