Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Miss Petra and the Rose Clones: BGD Violet Dress


Good afternoon, my darling wombats! Today, we're going to discuss that most beloved of all sewing projects: the comfort sew. Personally, I am a total creature of comfort. I adore cozy things anyhow, but times of emotional upheaval have me reaching for favorite books, baked goods, teas*, and--yes--sewing patterns. Sometimes, all you want is a happy ending, whether in literature or a guaranteed success of a dress. 

While March has had some wonderful happenings, it's definitely been an emotional month. Amid the excitement of filming two classes for Burda in Colorado and visiting our dearest friends in Nebraska, we were also coping with my brother's hospitalization back home. He's fine now--Thank heavens and Xarelto!--but his diagnosis had some potential health ramifications for my whole family. Consequently, some big decisions (namely: timeline des bébés) rose up last week and demanded immediate attention from Sam and myself. Add into all that a gravy of food poisoning, writing deadlines, and potentially needing a new roof, then you come to my mental state, these past few weeks. We're not even going to talk about how my best friend/soulmate of fifteen years is moving to Chicago**, or else I'll turn into a blubbering mess. 

*Books: Aunt Dimity's Death by Nancy Atherton, Crocodile on the Sandbank by Elizabeth Peters, and Romancing Mr. Bridgerton by Julia Quinn
Baked Goods: Pumpkin Bread in the fall, Lemon Blueberry Cake in the spring
Teas: Yorkshire Gold from Taylors of Harrogate

**Moment of bragging: Steph got a FABULOUS promotion and was plucked from Dallas by very wise people, indeed. She's going to be brilliant and completely conquer the Windy City, armed with beautiful coats, two delightfully quirky cats, and an indomitable sense of adventure. Plus, Sam and I are going to visit all the damn time. Chicago sewists, I may be inflicting a lunch/fabric shopping adventure on y'all this summer, if you're game. 


Obviously, a comfort sew was needed. 

Last fall, I pattern tested the BlueGingerDoll Violet dress for Abby and was instantly smitten. The curved v-neck and blocked bodice are such pretty, interesting variations on the basic knit dress. My test version was basic black, but I knew more colorful iterations were in my future, with the final pattern release. Last week, while contemplating The Fabric Closet of Doom, my eye was drawn to this cabbage rose jersey from Girl Charlee and the possibility of a Violet swirled out before me. Is there anything more comforting than secret pajamas made up in a large scale floral print? I think not. 

There are only a few Girl Charlee fabrics in my stash, ordered in a fit of knit excitement last spring. They were such a mixed bag, quality wise, that I haven't braved another order. My turquoise Bonnie dress has held up shockingly well, however, and this rose fabric was washed twice with no ill effects. It's a medium weight cotton jersey, with good stretch in one direction and moderate stretch in the other. The ends curl like the devil and its recovery isn't the greatest, but it also doesn't bag out after a day's wear. Plus, well, ROSES. Enough said. 


The cutting out of this dress was, shall we say, eventful. There may have been a horrific rotary cutter incident, in which my front skirt piece was completely cleaved in two. I then may have screamed in horror, thrown a pincushion in disgust, and flounced out of the sewing room in a tantrum. Maybe. After some pinot noir and an episode of The Mindy Project (Stephen Colbert's guest appearance as Danny's new priest was my everything.), I returned to cut another skirt front. I was just able to eke out the new piece, but there wasn't enough fabric to prevent those rose clones around the waistline. Sam claims it doesn't bother his eye and I'm going with it, because this dress is otherwise lovely. Besides, it's a comfort project, remember? I refuse to be hypercritical of this dress, kittens. 

The construction, luckily, was an absolute joy. I switched back and forth between my serger, for major seams, and my sewing machine, for the more fiddly bits. A lightning stitch, which is easier to control than serging, is my modus operandi for sleeves, neckbands, and other areas that need extra care. Violet's curved v-neck is formed by subtle gathering at the center bodice front and darting on the neckband, which was a blast to construct. Like I said above, this isn't your average knit dress! 

The shoulders, waistband, and gathering are all stabilized with clear elastic, to prevent stretching over time. I took a pretty narrow hem--a half inch--which was turned with fusible knit tape for stability, then top-stitched with a twin needle. The sleeves were also turned and twin-stitched to finish, which brings me to an esoteric wondering, friends. What is the ideal look of twin-stitching on a knit? I've been experimenting with my tension, trying to find that perfect balance between security of thread and minimal channeling. However, I don't even know that channeling is verboten. Sometimes, in the secrecy of my sewing cave, I admit that it actually looks cool on a solid hemline. Neither my mother nor my grandmother sewed with knits, so I've come to most of my knowledge later in life, from the internet. Most knit tutorials end with "then top-stitch with a twin needle!" That's great and all, but my science background insists on more detail. Does channeling make a hem wavier? Does low tension make the hem weak over time? What would happen, if we zig-zagged a hem instead?

I swear, some days I'm tempted to pull a Christopher Kimball and turn this blog into America's Test Sewing Room. Sewing tutorials and books so often tell you how to do something, but rarely why. I crave the philosophy behind these actions, the nitty gritty details about what happens if you do something else. Does backstitching dart tips really increase the chance of bubbling? By how much? Which is truly better, tying them off or narrowing your stitch and clipping the ends? Do these answers change according to fabric type? I suspect tying off is always better on silk, but I wonder if backstitching is a-okay on medium-weight cotton. These are the musings of my overactive mind. 


Oh, right. We were talking about this cute dress, before I devolved into the sewing mysteries that keep me up at night. Let's forge ahead! I'll try not ramble about whether or not to baste across and down pleats. 

If you ignore the brief cutting mishap, this really was a comforting project. Fit-wise, everything is spot on for me, thanks to a narrow shoulder adjustment and some grading between sizes. Abby drafts on a D-cup, so I usually trace off a size based on my full bust measurement, which is a novelty indeed. This one is a size 20 through the bust, grading in to a 14 at the waist and out to an 18 at the hips. Why, yes, my proportions are ridiculously dramatic. I wonder why RTW dresses never fit me correctly? Curious...

In the end, I adore this dress, rose clones and all. It's right in my sweet spot, style wise: the perfect mix of comfort and pretty fabric. Black background florals are, hands down, my biggest fabric weakness. I want to buy them all! Fingers crossed that this particular fabric launders well, over time, because this dress is destined for heavy wardrobe rotation. You will also see Violet again, in the near future. There are a few woven projects on my sewing table right now, but then I'm going to play with a polka-dotted version of this dress. Bring on the warm weather sewing!

Note: The Violet pattern, from BlueGingerDoll, was given to me in exchange for testing the original version last fall. This post assesses the final pattern, not that tested version. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Miss Barbara Goes Her Own Way: Vogue 9023



Good afternoon, friends! Today's dress is not one I'd planned on blogging. While I don't mind reading about wadders on other people's blogs, writing about failed sewing projects is not my favorite thing. It's bad enough putting all that time, effort, and fabric into a dress I abhor, but to then spend an hour rehashing it all? Egads. I'd rather be eaten to death by carnivorous snails. 

Yet, here we are. Talking about this damned pink dress. There are two reasons for this: 
  1. There is no review of this pattern, Vogue 9023, anywhere on PR or in the blog world. When considering a pattern, I always look at available reviews, so it only seems right to catalog my knowledge of a mystery dress. 
  2. I love a timely and amusing comeuppance, even at my own expense, so couldn't resist posting a dress that can only be described as "unflattering." The universe has a wicked sense of humor, doesn't it? 



Alright, let's discuss the Pink Dress of Horror, Terror, and Mild Dismay. How did this happen? What was I thinking? Well, as we've discussed, I'm going to be on camera soon and it was requested that I wear long-sleeved, solid colored clothing, not in black, red, or navy. Unfortunately, I'm a prints girl and, on the off day I don't wear prints, I'm wearing--you guessed it--black, red, or navy. Something had to be done. 

That something, my brain decided, was ordering three lengths of ponte from Fabric Mart. I ordered the same fabric in cobalt blue, mint green, and this watermelon pink. That was my first mistake. Ponte is not my favorite fabric on the best of days, as I find the label too liberally applied. Ordering ponte online can result in anything from a matte, unstretchy, almost scuba-like fabric to a shiny, drapey, stretchy fabric that you would swear was jersey. Then, we have the incredible variance in fiber content. This one is on the poly side of ponte at 89% polyester, 7% rayon, and 4% spandex. Seriously, y'all, what was I thinking? Heavily polyester ponte is dreadful, especially when you live in Texas. This particular one is shockingly lightweight, doesn't breathe at all, and shines like a disco ball. Its only saving grace was the price: $4/yard. 

When it arrived, I had to chuck my plans of a pretty Burda dress, meant for stable knits. Despite being a two-way stretch fabric, it's just too drapey for such a pattern. So, I went pattern hunting and came up with Vogue 9023. Here, we have my second mistake. 

I swear to you, that hemline is not curved. The camera angle + my posture are doing strange things. 


First off, Vogue 9023 is a legitimately cute pattern. It's a knit dress (obviously), with underbust gathers, an empire waistband, pleated front skirt, short and long sleeve options, and the choice of a jewel or vee neckline. In my quest to be a Grown Up, I was taken in by the pattern illustration. Look at that woman above! Doesn't she look professional? This pattern, my brain insisted, would be an effortless work piece--secret pajamas, with a tailored, office appropriate design. I had struck pattern gold!

Never mind that I look dreadful in empire waists. Or, conversely, that the ponte I bought was so thin that it would show every line underneath, from booty lumps to facing edges. This dress was going to be bangin'. In a mature, professional way, of course.

Ha! To quote the grand Horowitz, "As if." 

There is a fairly substantial slip under there and still those lines show.
Run away! 


In my doggedly optimistic way, I cut into the pattern and fabric. Based on a bit of flat-pattern fitting, I performed an FBA and did a substantial narrow shoulder adjustment. Thanks to the magic of knit patterns, the FBA was terribly easy: I just added 1.5 inches to the underbust curve and tapered it back up to the side seam. This was going to be fantastic! I was going to have the best dress ever! 

Construction was beautifully easy. The details were done on my sewing machine, with a ballpoint needle, and the seams were serged together. The neckline is finished with a facing, while the sleeves and hem were stabilized, then twin-stitched in place. Everything came together wonderfully, in just a matter of hours. The sewing gods were on my side. 

Then, I tried it on. Despite under-stitching, the neck facing rolled like the devil. The shoulder was still too long, thanks to the excessive stretch of the fabric, and all the careful pressing in the world could not keep my hem from waving. Worse yet, the waist was impossibly big, but somehow the fabric clung to my butt, like a rabid squirrel on a pecan tree. I tried it on with a slip, which marginally helped it, but then the fabric showed both the facing lines and the slip's hemline. Curses!

I showed Sam and he tried to be diplomatic, really he did. A few quotes, for reference:

"It's very pink! You look good in pink."
"You have arms and it shows that!
"Once you cinch in the waist, I'm sure you'll like it better, love."
"Why, look! That's a squirrel over there, clinging to a pecan tree. It reminds me of something."

This is the face of pain. Why am I wearing watermelon polyester? What have I done?
Look at your life! Look at your choices! 

Back to the sewing room I went. Brandi Carlile's new album was played at a very loud, very ranty volume. 

I took a total of four inches out of the waist, top-stitched the facing in place, and steamed the hem and side seams to death. Victory! Well, sort of. The bodice fits much better, but the skirt pleats pull, after being taken in. The hem was less wavy, but still not up to my usual standard. 

It's really a bit dreadful. This pattern would be so cute on someone else, but it's just not for me. Empire waists emphasize my magnificent bosom, sure, but they also make me look like I'm all hips below that. My waist, being so much smaller than everywhere else, is absolutely lost. In the end, this dress is an almost success. The color is great, but the fabric clings. The neckline is really lovely on me, but the skirt portion is, yes, unflattering. The whole thing is perfectly fine now, as you can see in pictures, but I still actively loathe it.

This dress is simply not me. 

Also, small rant: This fabric wrinkles really easily, which completely defeats the purpose of a knit dress! I should not be ironing ponte all the time. What the hell, polyester? Are you actually good for anything?


In retaliation against this dress, I have finished another shirtdress and cut out three circle skirts. Vengeance is mine! Luckily, there was one other thing that took my sartorial pain away...

I saw Fleetwood Mac in concert, last weekend!



As a graduation present, my wonderful Aunt Beth and Uncle Jerry bought me a ticket to the show, and I tagged along with them on Sunday. It was a phenomenal show, y'all. My lifelong lady crush on Stevie Nicks was magnified by fifty. A tambourine has never looked so glamorous! Poor Sam has been forced to listen to Silver Springs at least a hundred times, in the days since.

Meanwhile, I now want a really dramatic black dress.

And a top hat.

And a tambourine. 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Miss Vivienne Finds the Spot: 3/4 Circle Skirt


Good evening, friends! As with every other Wednesday this semester, Sam is teaching a late night capstone class (The Allegory of the Cave: Rhetoric and Film*) and won't be home until after nine. While I miss the bearded one, this means my Wednesday nights are filled with sewing, blogging, and catching up on The Paradise. There are worse ways to spend an evening!

Tonight, and many nights recently, I've been musing over personal style. My thirtieth birthday is later this year and I keep catching myself saying things like "This dress feels too young for me" and "That's a lot of pink, yo." While I think the ageist way we approach style is ridiculous, I do find myself naturally gravitating away from certain pieces of my youth. (Not florals. Florals for life!) I'm craving saturated colors, a little more sex appeal, and heightened glamour. Hell, I've even been building a Pinterest board and stalking my style icons (specifically: Heather and Ulrika) for inspiration on the matter. 

What's more, in March, I'm spending three days on camera and was specifically told to wear business casual outfits in solid colors. So, of course, I just sewed a polka dotted circle skirt. Nothing says adult glamour and business casual like GIANT POLKA DOTS OF DOOM. 

Nope, there's nothing super twee here. 

*Doesn't this class sound fascinating? I helped brainstorm the film screenings and readings for it, which was a blast. Tonight, they're discussing An Education and a piece by bell hooks, as related to feminism and educational inequality. Undergrad Mary would've been ecstatic over that pairing. 


Who am I kidding? Polka dots will always be welcome in my wardrobe, increased attention to glamour or not. Some loves you can't and shouldn't outgrow. Polka dots are timeless! This particular fabric was bought, at least, seven years ago at Hancock Fabrics and is a non-stretch cotton pique. My original intention was to make a pair of retro shorts with it, but I never ever wear shorts, so it sat in the fabric closet instead. When I decided to make a quick 3/4 circle skirt last week, it seemed the perfect choice. 

Unfortunately, it was printed just a hair off grain. With any other fabric, this wouldn't be such an issue, but the eye notices dots that have gone askew. That would have driven me insane! To mitigate the matter, I cut the skirt itself mostly in line with the dots, while the waistband is completely on grain. Trust me, there is nothing more uncomfortable than an off-grain waistband! No pattern placement is worth that sort of twisting. I did a two-piece outer waistband, so that the dots wouldn't march off quite so horribly and it turned out pretty well. An untrained observer, so used to RTW shenanigans, wouldn't even notice! Or so I'm assuring myself, anyhow. 

I didn't have quite enough fabric to perfectly match those side seam Vs. Circle skirts are such fabric hogs. 


After figuring out how to finagle those dots, this was a cinch to sew up. There is nothing easier than a circle skirt with a straight waistband. I've become so accustomed to the complicated rigors of shirtdresses that this almost felt like cheating!  There's an invisible zipper at the left side seam and the insides are all serged in dark gray, as a finish. I even took the quick route on the waistband, securing the inner facing by top-stitching the outside. So easy! 

The hem is also machine-stitched, instead of my usual handsewn finish. If a fabric betrays me by being printed off-grain, I'm not spending two hours catch-stitching an endless hem on it. Plus, this pique is pretty damn hefty and took the machine stitches beautifully. Woohoo!


There is some sick part of me insisting that navy-and-white polka dots are so classic that they're basically a neutral. I don't need the rationalizations, however. I really love this little skirt and its grandiose polka dots. It goes fabulously with my collection of bright sweaters and the coral Keds I'm currently obsessing over. Besides, my kid sister turns 18 this weekend (Happy Birthday, Lainey Love!), so clinging to my youth is an expected reaction. I'll ride it out a little longer. 

My chicer aspirations can attack the box of pretty, bright pontes that just arrived on my doorstep. I'm contemplating a few versions of this 11/2014 Burda dress, but we shall see...

Note: If you, too, would like a 3/4 circle skirt, check out Devon's new tutorial over at Miss Make. It's an exquisitely detailed guide to drafting something similar. (I use a side zip, instead of a center back.)

Friday, February 6, 2015

Miss Clara Predicts an Early Spring: McCall's 6696


Hello, lovelies! Perhaps you thought that, with the end of 1000 Shirtdresses, I would be finished with McCall's 6696. However, spring looms in Texas. That means the lighter, brighter fabrics in my stash are demanding buttons and collars of their own. While I do have many other things on the docket, I made two shirtdresses in late January, especially for those warmer months: one floral and one plaid. Even better, I finally photographed one of them! 

This pastel cotton lawn has been in my stash for five or six years. With Liberty-like softness and all those pretty purple flowers, it's ideal for a sweet, springy shirtdress. (God, that's a lot of alliteration. Forgive me, friends.) Unfortunately, it was also really, really narrow. With four-and-half yards, I was just able to squeak a sleeveless 6696 out of it. 



After five previous iterations of this pattern, there shouldn't be more to say about it. However, I went for a different finishing route with this one. After all that sitting around in a closet, this particular fabric deserved extra flourish. With such a dainty print, why not throw in a few pretty techniques, as well? 

Instead of my usual shirtdress methodology of Topsitching All The Things, I instead hand-sewed all the details. The button bands, waistband, yoke, and hem were secured in place, using simple slip stitch. Meanwhile, the armholes were finished with self-bias tape and a catch-stitch. It all made for a beautiful, clean finish. Woohoo for unnecessary attention to details! 

One certain detail really makes me swoon over this dress, however. Instead of picking clear buttons, or contrasting ones, I covered eleven half-inch buttons with the same floral lawn. Sure, they blend in in these photos, but they add a lovely, feminine touch, in person. My fingertips hurt for two days afterwards, but it was worth it! Oh, sewing...




There's not much more to say about this dress, dear ones. The only fit change I made was to raise the armholes another half-inch. So interesting, no? In the end, this is a fabulous dress for spring. The colors come off a little washed out, in the winter light of these photos, but they're quite pretty in real life. It's going to be cute with a coordinated cardigan and espadrilles. 

Best of all? Next week, our temperatures hover around 70 degrees. It's always nice to actually wear the dress you've recently spent five hours hand sewing! 








Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Miss Mavis Goes to the Opera: Vintage Simplicity 5238


Good evening, friends! Tonight, we're going to talk about three things: vintage patterns, sewing with velveteen, and loving the monsters. Let's deal with the monsters first, shall we? You know the ones I'm talking about--those flawed garments that we love anyway. The dresses with wonky darts or holes from seam ripper "incidents" that see heavy rotation in our closet, nonetheless 

This dress is one such monster, I'm afraid. I love it, but it's definitely not perfect. You've been warned.





It all started with a pattern. I'm not one for New Year's resolutions, but I would like to use more vintage patterns this year. I've collected them for eons, but was excessively lazy about sewing them up, during grad school. Tracing, grading, and making multiple muslins wasn't my idea of blissful sewing. Imagine that! Now that I have more free time, however, the prospect of a long process isn't nearly so grim. 

First out of my stash: Simplicity 5238. This cocktail dress from 1963, a favorite of Erin's, seemed like a painless way to reenter the world of vintage. It's a one dart bodice, with a box-pleated skirt and two sleeve options, long or short kimono sleeves. Even better, my copy was a size 40, which aligned pretty well with my high bust (40 inches) and waist (35 inches). One FBA and I should've been good to go!

So, I was. Three bodice muslins later. Oh, vintage ladies, your undergarments provided such amusingly improbable dart locations! During the course of my alterations, I:
  • Added a side bust dart, through a two-inch full bust adjustment (Muslin 1)
  • Moved the front waist dart one inch toward the center seam, lowered the side dart (Muslin 2)
  • Curved both darts, to make up for some underbust pooling (Muslin 3)
  • Adjusted for a sway back (Muslin 3)
  • Changed the shoulder slope angle (Muslin 3)
I also decided to eliminate the skirt's center seam, since it's just a pleated dirndl. With this particular dress, I actually changed the pleat orientation entirely, to better preserve the fabric's pattern. 




Then, we come to the velveteen. That's right, the velveteen. Heaven forbid a fabric this pretty be reserved for rabbits contaminated with scarlet fever. When I saw this black cotton velveteen, with its swirling copper floral pattern, I snatched it up for a Mood Sewing Network project. It was originally going to be a blazer, then a Kim dress, then a coat. When I looked at the suggested fabrics for Simplicity 5238, however, velveteen was first on the list. Sartorial kismet!

Of course, this pattern does have a center front bodice seam and a bias-cut back bodice. I cut the pattern out in one layer, to match those seams in an appropriate manner. Unfortunately, the skirt pieces were really wide, when compared with the 46'' fabric, so I had to center the skirt on a different line of the floral. It doesn't bother my eyes, looking instead as if the pattern builds, as we go toward the hem. That's pure, dumb luck, y'all. 

Center front pattern matching, like a boss!
Center back seam!
The back bodice matching isn't quite as on point, because trying to find a visually
agreeable bias origin point is a pain in the ass. 

When it comes to construction, velveteen is finicky. Pressing it incorrectly can cause the pile to crush and seams can't be unpicked, then altered, because sewing will make permanent lines on the fabric. To make everything easier, I used a towel draped across my ironing board, to prevent a crushed pile. Similarly, I used a very light hand with the iron itself, paired with heavy steam. (More tips on sewing velvet and velveteen can be found in Elisalex's recent blog post.) 

My other major velveteen tip? Don't wear nice things, while sewing it up. Velveteen frays like the devil, while you're sewing, and the pile turns into fluffy balls of doom. Fluff gets on everything. I serged those seams, as soon as they were sewn, and faced the hem, sleeves, and neckline with silk organza, to combat it. I was still covered in the stuff. 

Silk organza not only lends more structure to those areas, but prevents fabric deterioration. Woohoo! I sewed the velvet and organza right sides together, flipped the facings to the inside, then catch-stitched them down. Similarly, the zipper is a traditional zip, hand-picked in place. This particular piece involved quite a few hours of watching Phryne Fisher solve murders, while hand stitching all those bits in place.


Silk organza hem facing! I like visible catch-stitching, instead of blind stitches. Don't tell my grandmother.

Everything seems alright up to now, doesn't it? I didn't crush the pile or accidentally misalign my center seams. How does this dress deserve monster status? Well, check that bodice fit, kittens. The weight of the velvet, paired with a little bit of stretch, means that my perfectly fitted muslin didn't translate over. The whole thing is a touch big and those darts refuse to lie flat. With any other fabric, I could probably steam them into submission, but that's not an option here. There is some bubbling on the front, which definitely wasn't there in my final muslin. Alas, I've discovered the problem with sewing a velvet garment toile out of easy-to-please cotton...

Here's the thing, though. I really love this dress.

Rationally, I know that the bodice is imperfect and that the whole thing looks like an ill-fated attempt to upholster a blonde, but whatever. It's soft and warm and the fabric is gorgeous. There's something so delicious about wearing yards of lush, dramatically printed velveteen. My judgment may be twisted from reading about that rabbit as a child, but I adore this fabric and this dress. Perhaps I'm not completely batty, however, because Sam agrees with me. He's plotting to buy tickets to some fancy theater event soon, so that he "can dress up in a three-piece suit and take me out to show off that dress." You've got to love a man who loves your monsters, don't you?


Note: Fabric for this dress was provided by Mood Fabrics, as part of my participation in the Mood Sewing Network.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

1000 Shirtdresses: Round-up + Winner

Good afternoon, friends! I hope you're having a lovely weekend. My own has been spent perusing the gorgeous entries into the Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses! Y'all, we ended up having forty-seven shirtdressess made over the last few months. That's a whole lot of buttons! I've gathered up the official entries below, so that we can all properly gawk at these beautiful garments. Shall we?

 POLKA DOTS

Sophie-Lee looks ethereal in her light blue polka dot chambray dress, Lauren drafted (!) her own classic, navy blue dotty shirtdress, and Nicole opted for a chic collarless shirtdress, in this super fun polka dotted rayon. 

Andie is a woman after my own heart in this seasonally-inappropriate nautical shirtdress, with white bands and striped shoulder button tabs, while Beat Girl not only made a shirtdress, but her first ever dress! Even cooler, those dots are actually tiny daisies, when up close.

BOTANICAL
Marije was our very first entrant, with this gorgeous black-and-white version of McCall's 6696, Caroline is a vision in this vintage-inspired red floral, with a beautifully piped collar, and Chrystal has me swooning over her floral striped shirtdress, with a coordinated yellow collar.

 Sophie-Lee went with vintage re-issue Simplicity 1459 for her second fabulous shirtdress, made up in a largescale floral cotton sateen, Bianca is right at home in a garden, wearing her lovely raspberry ditsy floral, Rhiannon's dramatic red botanical print has me on the look out for copycat fabric, and Alicia is so on-trend for 2015 in this glorious wax print floral Hawthorn.

Bec is channeling the divine wardrobe of Betty Draper in her sweet floral lawn 6696, Emily put a twist on the Colette Pastille dress to create her lovely orange half-shirtdress, Rowena made a beautiful Hawthorn, using bamboo-and-bird print cotton and coordinated cream collar/cuffs, and if Izzy didn't live in Saudi Arabia, she'd be in danger of me stealing this shades-of-pink floral shirtdress from her closet!

PLAIDS

 Ruth made a perfectly matched version of the Cami dress, complete with bias-cut sleeve cuffs for a fun bit of visual interest, Marije returned with a beautifully autumnal plaid for her second version of 6696, and Fiona made a cozy, layering version of the Alder dress in blue-and-black buffalo plaid flannel.
Cheryl is super cool in her plaid, sleeveless Alder and fabulous brown boots, Qui made the epitome of a classic shirtdress, in a sweet peach and turquoise plaid, while Debbie made her first ever shirtdress, a fantastic neutral plaid version of McCall's 6600.

STRIPES 

Gina is tailored and chic in her gorgeous candy-striped version of M6696, which I'm already plotting to knock off, Tanya was inspired by the period costumes of Call the Midwife, when she made her lovely navy-and-white striped vintage Simplcity, and Nancy is sweetly classic in her blue-and-white striped M6696, proof that the simplest fabrics can also be the prettiest.

PRINTS

 Honey looks so modern and lovely in her bold, graphically printed shirtdress , Melizza's silk ribbon version of the Alder dress is the perfect winter layering piece, CFA13 is absolutely gorgeous in her retro print shirtdress with coordinated buttons, while Amanda is a picture of summery cuteness in a rayon version of much-loved M6696.

Angelica used a textured cotton floral, gifted from her grandmother, to make a light and beautiful Hawthorn dress, Marilla paired a southwestern print Kaufman chambray with her own Maya dress pattern, for the ultimate day dress, and Bianca is a work of art herself in a blue-and-white printed version of M6696.
 Chrystal captured that casual end-of-summer vibe in her gorgeous nautical print shirtdress , Andie stole all of our hearts with her color-blocked, cat-themed newspaper dress, while Linda put a bird on it, with this modern maroon shirtdress in the cutest flock-print fabric.

Lyric is absolutely stunning in her cream-and-khaki botanical print half-shirtdress and chic belt, Kirsten used a Japanese cotton lawn to create a fresh and summery version of Grainline's Alder dress, and Trisha use French seams and heaps of hand-sewing on her elegant and bold crepe de chine shirtdress.

SOLIDS

 Becky started off a parade of gorgeous blue shirtdresses, with her classic denim fit-and-flare and super cute gold toe shoes, Jo is as pretty as a picture in her dark indigo Frankenpattern shirtdress, and Cheryl altered the Alder pattern, to make this casually cute chambray popover dress.
 Ida Aida turned her soft denim M6696 into a stand-out dress, with an embroidered collar and waistband, Sylvie is timelessly elegant in her royal blue version of Simplicity 1459, in a tone-on-tone print cotton sateen, CFA13 makes the ideal summer dress, in blue linen with variegated cream buttons.
Caroline reminds us that corduroy can be elegant, in a burgundy M6696, with pops of polka dot contrast fabric, Marianne's beautiful black brocade shirtdress is perfect for a night on the town and sipping festive drinks, and Tanya is all summer elegance in her classic blue shirtdress, with white buttons and top-stitiching. 

Holy smokes, ladies! I'm blown away by these dresses. Thanks so much for joining me in this sewing challenge and braving all those buttonholes. Your dresses are, to a one, beautifully made and absolutely lovely. I know I'll be perusing that Flickr group for more inspiration, in the future! Thank you, again, for sharing your creative talents with me and the other participants.

Now, onto the last question of The Autumn of 1000 Shirtdresses.
Who won the prize package? Well, I assigned numbers chronologically, plugged them into a random number generator and...


Our winner is also our very first entrant, Marije of  Make Think Go! Congratulations, Marije! Send me an e-mail with your mailing address to anidlefancy (at) gmail.com and I'll send out your goodies!