Make Your Own Basics: The shirt dress

Make Your Own Basics: The shirt dress

In addition to the “little black dress,” I think every closet is well served by the inclusion of a good shirt dress (or shirtdress, if you prefer), whether it’s the ultra-classic knee- or calf-length button-front shirt or any of the million variations thereof in the world. Here are a few good sewing pattern options:

TOP: I’m sure you can find a super standard shirtdress pattern from one of the big companies, or you could lengthen your Archer (the very first MYOB). Grainline has posted a couple of tutorials for Archer+Alder mashups: a super simple one merging Archer on top with Alder on the bottom, or a more involved one fitting the Archer sleeve into Alder’s more tailored bodice (pictured)

MIDDLE LEFT: The Reeta Midi Shirt Dress from Named has a ’70s-safari vibe and drawstring waist

MIDDLE RIGHT: The Factory dress from Merchant and Mills is a popover with a hint of war-era flavor

BOTTOM: And Closet Case Files’ Kalle Shirtdress pattern is a bit trendier box top/shirtdress hybrid


PREVIOUSLY in Make Your Own Basics: The ski sweater




15 thoughts on “Make Your Own Basics: The shirt dress

  1. The factory dress is my idea of perfect — have made three in very different fabrics with more on the way.

  2. When I worked in retail, the head of the fashion department said everyone needs a shirt dress. You can wear it as is or layer another shirt under it. Roll up the sleeves to show the other shirt material and leave a few more buttons undone to show more of the under shirt. Or layer a turtle neck under the dress. It gives it an entirely different look.

  3. At 65+ my knees no longer make an appearance. I love this on young women and agree it is a wardrobe basic. Done is black and white! Alas, all I can do now is remember.

    • I too am 65 but just bought a knee-length shirtdress – I agree about the knees but hoping I can get by occasionally with leggings underneath!

  4. I am 70, and find there are still a lot of options. I would wear an open-front shirtdress over a skirt, either buttoned or as a coat dress. A picture of a denim one caught my eye a couple years ago and is on my Pinterest board as inspiration. Got some secondhand denim the other day….

  5. Et voilà! For those of us looking for something a bit longer, Reeta (a “midi shirt dress”) by Named Clothing just coincidentally popped into my IG feed this morning.

  6. Hah! Picture your black-and-white shirtdress in flannel, and it is the nightgown I bought from Amazon awhile back.

  7. After admiring the Factory Dress from Merchant & Mills, I followed your link and really enjoyed looking at all of their patterns. I wonder if anyone could tell me the level of difficulty of their patterns.

    • I’ve made a few patterns from Merchant & Mills. I am a mostly self-taught sewist, and I find their patterns somewhere between easy and difficult. I’m currently working on perfecting the Fielder pattern – I have one shirt dress and one sweatshirt I’ve made, neither of which is perfect, but both of which I wear and each of which I learned from.

      Which is all to say: I love Merchant & Mills patterns a *lot*, and I learning as I go with them.

  8. Love the shirtdress, works for almost any occasion. I’ve made the Factory dress and several dresses from the old Lisette Traveler dress pattern, Simplicity 2246. Would really like to try Kalle next time.

  9. The shirt dresses are just the thing for summer because they’re so comfy and easy to wear! It looks easy to diy but I know it must be difficult for me!

  10. Love shirt dresses, actually all garments with collars and button plackets. But – I DESPISE!! the now years-long trend of not matching plaid/stripe/checked pockets to the garment front. This actually has made me start sewing my own shirts and dresses again, just to save the angst ; )

  11. Pingback: Make Your Own Basics: The hat | Fringe Association

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