Sewing a vintage shirt dress!

I have been meaning to write about this dress since I re-started the blog! But life and stuff got in the way, as it does. This is one of my favorite shirt dress patterns – mostly because it only has one button and my machine hates it when I try to do buttonholes. So I try to avoid them. But I do love the look and practicality of a good shirt dress!

Butterick 9299

I decided to omit the waistline tabs; they’re unnecessary (and it meant more buttonholes), and I had to take in the waistline as it’s a vintage pattern and only has the one size included. I just eliminated the seam allowance on the waist to take it in and hoped for the best! Luckily it ended up fitting perfectly.

There are some differences in the way vintage patterns gave instructions, and we now know that there are easier and less confusing methods to use.

Getting the skirt pleats correct took forever since I had taken in the side seams of the bodice. Look at all that pinning!

That was all the hard part; the rest was fairly straightforward. To get an authentic vintage look, I used seam tape for the hem.

Lastly, I really wanted to do an authentic vintage belt. I have all these old belt making kits, but I was missing the stick-on part for the size I wanted. I tried to improvise, but it didn’t work out. I just ended up doing an extra long tie-on belt.

Despite the issues, the fit is great and I love the end result! The fabric is a vintage plaid lightweight cotton I picked up at a garage sale. I think the dress is pretty true vintage and something that would’ve been made by a home seamstress in the 1950’s!

Next week: a Betty Draper replica dress made from a tablecloth!

Colette Macaron Dress

Well for weeks I’ve been talking about making vintage dresses and posting my progress on this blog. But- sewing, like life, doesn’t care about your plans!

Quiltcon is a big quilting (obviously) convention coming up here in Austin at the end of the month. I’m helping my friend with her booth (she sells the cutest Japanese fabric so go check it out- ) and also offered to help make samples. She wanted a dress (or two) to wear during the weekend, so I thought that could be my “sample”. And it turned out so cute!

Colette Patterns is an independent pattern company, and I’ve used their patterns plenty of times before. The Macaron was one I’d never seen!

It’s a cute design and looked fairly easy, but I did run into some issues. First, the midriff pieces are curved, and the illustrations don’t make it clear which way you’re supposed to place them.

In the end I ignored the directions and made both front and back midriff pieces curve upward. It would’ve been easier if they were both straight pieces. I noticed this was a common complaint in reviews of this pattern.

I didn’t do facing on the neckline, instead opting to create a bias strip and using that. But then I had the worry of – since this is a side zip dress, is the neckline going to fit over her head? The neckline seems awfully small for there to be no opening. I stretched as I sewed and ended up being able to squeeze my head into it, so hopefully my friend will be able to as well!


I should add at this point that, as mentioned above, another friend of mine had made this dress previously so I was using her muslin pieces. And that dress did fit our mutual friend, so I have to have confidence that this will too!

I also didn’t use the skirt pattern provided- I just did a simple square cut gathered skirt to make best use of the border.

Last issue for me was just a user issue- putting in an invisible side zipper! I’ve done countless invisible zippers, but never a side one, so this was just trial and error. If I do it again, I’ll insert the zip before I sew the top side seam together- I had to rip it out before sewing the zipper.

But it turned out pretty good, if I say so myself! (and that’s another thing about this pattern- the pieces just don’t match at the top- another complaint I’ve heard from others, but unnoticeable)

This being an early version of the pattern, it’s possible that some of these issues have been resolved in reprintings. Even with the challenges, this dress turned out very cute! I’m quite pleased with it!