SEWN - Wild viscose shirtdress

SEWN - Wild viscose shirtdress

Dear readers,

Because of life and Instagram, I had lost the habit of writing old school blog posts about recently sewn garments. But my last post made me realize that despite writing relatively long IG captions, I always have more to say about a project. As long as I can sustain it, I will try to do those posts more regularly.

The dress I'm showing to you today is the second project I had started in Congo. I threw all my cut pieces with the pattern still pinned on and finished it once I had unpacked my sewing supplies in France. I sewed my first version of this heavily hacked Named Clothing Reeta last year for a Vince inspired shirt dress in cotton poplin.


 I realize that the final pattern doesn't have much in common with the original. And, it may not be evident why I used an existing pattern rather than drafting my own. But if the starting point is actually well-drafted and has the right proportions, it's rather fast to do all those changes. Named Clothing is among the pattern companies I trust the most, I know the starting point is good and that I can skip the muslin stage. 

My main changes included: 

  • dropping the shoulders by 1.5¨ ;

  • widening the sleeves ;

  • changing the tailored collar to a collar with stand and ; 

  • omitting the waist tie and creating a fabric sash instead.

For my first version, I used a collar and stand I love from a Japanese book. But I had forgotten that pattern in France, so I improvised and printed the collar pieces of the Grainline Studio Archer Shirt. Both times, I forgot to remove the bust dart. On size 32, it’s so small (about 1cm - ⅜¨) and feels unnecessary.


  • Fabric - Viscose print from Sacré Coupons

  • Notions - Navy plastic buttons, purchased I think in Guatemala many years ago, thread and lightweight interfacing, all from stash.

I don't make as many shirts as I once used to, but it's still one of my favorite garments to sew. I love the logical construction and clean results. Once you've made a couple of dress shirts, you will never need to look at instructions ever again. You just need to devise your favorite techniques for individual details (collar, cuffs, etc.).

Since the print of the fabric is multi-color and so busy, I decided to use red thread throughout. I also finished did french seams everywhere. I've heard people express fears at french seams to attach sleeves, but as long as the ease is limited, it's quite easy. It's a very durable finish for thin materials like viscose. 

Talking about the fabric, I bought it at the sewcial gathering in Paris last spring. Visiting my old neighborhood of the 18th arrondissement and the presence of bold sewists like Dibs and Jolies Bobines, definitely enabled me! I immediately fell in love with the colors, but the print is more daring than what I would generally go for. The viscose was very pleasant to work with, it's on the heavier side and presses really well. But I decided not to bother about print matching, and I am now second-guessing that decision. The big navy leaf cut in at Center Front is not ideal...

Overall, I’m happy with the dress, but I have to admit that I’m still not 100% sure of how much I will wear it, mostly because of the print. Time will tell. As you can see in the pictures, I tried it both with the fabric sash and a leather belt, and I think the sash looks better. I also want to experiment with wearing it as a tunic, unbuttoned up the waist with high-waisted denim. Me made may is the perfect opportunity to test new combinations handmade. Do you have adventurous garments you want to try this month?

Stay safe and happy sewing!

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