Sunday, August 26, 2012

Blue chambray shirtwaist dress

Here's my third and final incarnation of Simplicity 2246! It's time to move on to a new shirtdress pattern after this, methinks. This one is really just the bodice with a waistband and gathered dirndl skirt spliced on. Because the buttons no longer extend below the waist, I added a side zipper so I could get in and out of the dress.

This dress took me FOR. EVER. because I had this harebrained idea that I should try to learn a new sewing skill with each project. So, I decided to do topstitching, and do it right! At first I tried threading my needle with two threads, which gave the desired decorative effect, but I could not get the tension to stay even between both threads. After ripping out the same seam three times, I gave up and bought a topstitching needle (basically a size 14, with a larger eye) and topstitching thread (thicker than all-purpose thread).

I also took my time with the finishing details on the inside of the dress. I could almost wear it inside out! All of the seams are flat-felled, with the exception of the sleeve seams and the left bodice seam that has the zipper, which are both serged. (It is possible to flat-fell sleeves to a bodice, but this requires setting in the sleeves before sewing the side seams, and I uh, forgot to do that).

Despite all the extra work, I really did enjoy sewing this dress. It's a pretty classic fabric and style, and I think I'll be able to accessorize it many different ways. The sleeve length and full skirt remind me of the late '50s or early '60s, so it has a bit of the "vintage housedress" feel. With a cardigan, it should be a good transition into fall.


  1. very pretty! you did a great job on the topstitching, I like it better than those professional-made things.

  2. I put 2246 on my pattern list. (I keep a memo on my phone just in case I happen upon a 99 cent sale- makes it quick to grab!)

    The Chambray looks classic and chic. Good job on learning topstitching, I honestly didn't know there was a special needle/thread. Shame, shame!

    ~Shannon (blog hopping)

  3. It's lovely! Can't believe you just had a baby - you look so trim. : ) Your blog is such a peaceful, relaxing place. And this shirtwaist dress is a great addition to it.

    Happy sewing!


  4. Hi Laura
    Love your dress! Shirtwaist dresses are my favorite, I never
    get tired of them. Question, where did you purchase the topstitching needle? I always browse through at Joanns at all
    the sewing items, and I haven't come across it.

  5. Emily, I actually bought my package of Schmetz topstitching needles at a local quilting store. I am surprised that you can't find them at Jo-Ann Fabrics, though! Here's a link to the product on their website.