The shirt dress to end all shirt dresses

I haven’t a huge amount of time for posting at the moment as am in the middle of a house move, but thought I would share some quick images of a non- knitting related FO that I am SO proud of!

I have been wanting to make this Merchant & Mills shirt dress for years now, but doubted my sewing capabilities, so when my friend asked me if I wanted to take a day workshop with her to make the dress I jumped!

The day course was at Ray Stitch in Islington and the teacher, Luisa, was brilliant. I highly recommend it.

Of course I decided to make things hard on myself by trying to do something rather advanced. I wanted the fine pin striping to match diagonally across the bib and admit it did take cutting out one side of the bib twice, but in the end managed it to much fanfare (admittedly in my own head!!!). ;-D


In the end it was totally worth the trauma, though.


I discovered something utterly heartwarming as well…my shoddy sewing skills are largely due to my heinously crappy machine! On the new Janome’s at the shop I was able to sew the finest, most delicate overstitching, that I frankly shocked myself.  It was so affirming in a way. I even unpicked my initial overstitch in the bib and redid it once I discovered what I was capable of with a fully functioning machine!

A new machine is definitely on the wish list now.

So here is the finished dress. The hem looks lopsided in the photo, but isn’t…I swear. 😉


If anyone else is thinking of making this dress it isn’t as complicated as I’d feared, although there are some interesting bits I never would have expected. The bib, after the pattern matching, was dead simple!

*update* Just to add a note on fit – the dress came up a bit large across the back. This is normal for me, but I noticed that it fit this way on others in the class as well. You might want to measure across the back yoke before sewing it in to be sure it will fit properly. I had to un pick it and take out an inch by seaming it down the middle! Taking that little bit out made is stop gaping at the shoulders and it now sits perfectly across the back.


7 thoughts on “The shirt dress to end all shirt dresses

  1. It looks SO nice, Linda. I’m so tempted to try to persuade a sewing (human) friend to help me out with this. Never made friends with the sewing machine 😉 This dress would be totally worth the effort.
    PS:Good luck with the move!!

  2. Good for you! I love that dress and have been wondering what it’s like to sew up. Do you wear it with a belt or do you find it has enough shape not to need it? Also, is that linen you used? The subtle striping is gorgeous!

    • It was so clever. It might just be that I am so new to sewing, but the way the yoke fit in had me in raptures. 😉

      It is pretty schlumpy and shapeless, but that is exactly what I like about it. I haven’t tried it with a belt yet, but wager it would look good too. It is a good length and pulling it in should still look elegant.

      It is linen – well spotted- but with some silk. 15 or 20% I think. Just adds a subtle sheen. I love it. I was waffling between this and a deep forest green but this won out!

    • Thanks Caroline. I was so excited to make something wearable! 😉

      You can buy directly from the Merchant & Mills site, though I notice a lot of habadasheries are carrying the pattern in store now – like Ray Stitch where I did the day course!

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