Me Made May 2021 and a shirt maxi dress

Today is the first day of May, which means that Me Made May is starting today! This will be my first year participating, and I’m very intrigued by this challenge. I already wear the clothes that I made basically everyday, but I think it will be interesting to try and style them differently and see what I tend to avoid or, on the contrary, search for. My pledge is to wear and share my outfits for the full month of May. I’m planning to post what I’m wearing every couple of days on instagram, in a collage of 3 or 4 pictures. I will wear at least one element of my outfit made by me, and I think that having a recollection of a whole month will be a useful assessment for future makes. I might also add another element to this challenge for me. I was checking my wardrobe yesterday and I think it might be fun to try to organise my outfits by color, it will be easier to do laundry for sure!

So here’s my last make and first outfit for the month: a shirt dress. On top of my list of what I like to sew there are button-up shirts, and on top of my list of what I like to wear there are maxi dresses. However I’ve never made a shirt dress, until now. It’s been a while that I was looking for one both in shops (before I started sewing) and then as a sewing project. I had quite a precise idea in mind, which always make things more complicated.

A couple of months ago Fibremood was giving free patterns during lockdown, and one of them was the Susan Dress, a classic shirt dress, no darts or shaping, classic collar and cuffs. The shape was exactly what I wanted! My idea was to make something that could have worked both open (as an overlayer over jeans and tops), and as a classic dress. I wanted also a fabric that I could pair for spring, summer and fall (layered), and probably this could actually work all year around here in Atlanta with the exception of a couple of weeks. The print that I was envisioning had to be either geometrical of abstract, either in brick-red or green. You can imagine how it took me a while to find it!

The pattern

This was my first Fibremood pattern and I like a couple of things in particular about them. First you can actually read the instructions (freely available if you register on their website) before purchasing the pattern. I find it very helpful in particular for more complex patterns. Second, their patterns are available in different languages and third the size range is good (the dress that I made is from a UK 4 to 32).

A couple of comments about sizes. I made an S based on my bust measurement (35”), while my hips measurement (39”) would have put me in a size M. This is a comfortable cut for a dress, but a size M would have been way too big (also on my hips). Also, the sleeves are probably too long by 3/8” (1 cm) on me (I’m 5’8”). So I’m wondering if this is only for this patterns or in general the cut is on the bigger side, which wouldn’t really work on sizes 0-2 UK. As a reference in shop-bought clothes I’ve been quite consistently a UK 10 (90% of the clothes that I bought while living there), EU 40, IT 44 and US ??. I find that US clothing are the more inconsistent size wise, I bought from a 2 to an 8, and I’ve NEVER bought a size S for anything before moving to the US. So I’d recommend to double check the measurements and size down if in between sizes.

I made the pattern as is, with no adjustments and I really like the fit in particular in this viscose. The fabric is gorgeous in my opinion! It’s a Ecovero Viscose twill from Mind the Maker purchased on Minerva.com (59” wide), medium weight and very soft! I used 2 1/3 yards of it, so I have a little bit of leftover for a top!

Cost

Here’s a cost breakdown:

  • Fabric: $60
  • Pattern: I got it for free, but full price it’s 7.5€
  • Buttons: free from my grandma’s stash.

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