shirtdress madness & shoes for sale

I whipped up another shirtdress over the weekend while Jared’s brother, David, & his girlfriend, Alana, were visiting with us. They pitched in with Ramona (including taking her for an entire evening so Jared & I could go on a date!) & gave me time to sew. My favorite part is that they mostly hung around so I could chat with them while I sewed. I really enjoy making conversation while I sew, but it almost never happens because, you know. I live with my child & partner instead of roommates. Ramona is still not quite old enough for real conversation, & Jared is usually immersed in his dissertation (which is due at the end of the month, with the defense scheduled for April). I would do pretty well on a televised sewing competition, inasmuch as chatter doesn’t bother me. My inability to draft from scratch would sink me.

Anyway, I haven’t had time to photograph the newest shirtdress, so no post about it yet. I will say that it’s the pink gingham seersucker, which rocketed to the top of the queue when I spent three sleepless nights fretting over whether I had enough yardage to cut the button placket & waistband on the bias. I finally decided to just trace everything out with a Frixion pen on a single layer & see, & once that was done, I couldn’t stop myself from cutting it out, & once that was done…why not sew it up? It was a good 80 degrees in Lawrence on Monday, so I got to take it on a test drive & it is going to be a perfect summer dress. The only weird thing is that this street performer we see a lot told me she loved my dress & then asked if I made it. How did she know?! It looked fairly profesh to me. Maybe I’ve talked to her before about sewing & just forgot.

I have a million more shirtdresses planned. I bought this insane kitten print yesterday & a bit of blue organza to possibly use as a contrast overlay on the waistband & button placket. When Jared saw it, he said, “I don’t know what’s more horrifying–their faces or their bows.”

I’m also thinking about getting some more seersucker (on sale right now at Hancock) & rotating the side bust dart into the shoulder to add gathering there. I poked around online but haven’t found anyone who has altered M6696 this way. Could be cool though.

Jared is on spring break this week, but he’s been sick. Obviously it’s never fun when your co-parent is sick, but coming off my solo four days with Ramona while Jared was in Madison & staring down the barrel of five days at the end of the month while he’s at a conference in Seattle…I really need a break. Insert obligatory acknowledgement that at least I have a co-parent & also only one kid. But still. It’s just amazing that I haven’t gotten sick. I was going to sleep on the couch to minimize the risk of contagion, but between the cat having a secret stash of Duplos that she chases around the house in the middle of the night & idiots walking by outside drunkenly hollering, I couldn’t sleep. I reasoned that I was definitely going to get sick if I couldn’t sleep, so I took the risk & slept upstairs.

Incidentally, anyone want to buy these shoes?


They’re Fluevog Bellevue Pearl Harts, in a discontinued black & burgundy colorway, in suede, size 9.5. I’m asking $250, which includes shipping within the U.S. I love them, but I’ve accepted that they are not practical for my lifestyle, which mainly involves chasing around a three-year-old. I’m trying to minimize & let go of some things I’ve been holding on to out of sentiment, even though they never get used. Goodbye, beautiful shoes. I have already replaced them with some men’s walking shoes that are possibly slightly orthopedic-looking?

ETA: It also occurred to me this afternoon that I could add pintucks to the M6696 bodice! Now I just have to consider the perfect fabric for such a detail…This pattern just keeps on giving.

Published by Ciara

Ciara Xyerra wrote zines for the better part of two decades. She has a brilliant & adorable preschooler named Ramona & sews as much as she possibly can. She lives in Lawrence, Kansas with her boyfriend. She enjoys catching up on "The New Yorker", meatball subs, keeping it cranky, intersectional post-third wave feminism, dinosaurs, & monsters. If you have nothing nice to say, she recommends that you come sit here by her, so you can say not-nice things together.

9 thoughts on “shirtdress madness & shoes for sale

  1. I don’t think asking if you made it is a sign that it “looks homemade” (in a negative sense), but more a sign of being impressed with your skills. People ask me all the time if I made the dress I’m wearing at any given time, and you know I haven’t made any of them & none of them are cheap!

    1. Hmmm, interesting. Maybe it’s a matter of someone seeing something a little off the beaten path & wanting to know if it’s an original creation? I’m just the tiniest bit self-conscious about the gingham dress because I didn’t edgestitch as closely to the edges of the button placket as I maybe should have, & a tiny bit of fraying interior seam escaped right near the waistline. You’d probably have to really examine the dress to see it, but I see it, so I assume everyone else does too.

  2. It could also be that it fits you so well, so it doesn’t look off the rack? That, plus it being your own design, may have pinged her “she sure didn’t buy that dress at the GAP” sense. I’d take it as a compliment. 🙂

    Those shoes are super cute. I have so many shoes that are no longer relevant to my lifestyle (I wore most of them to work, but now I spend my time scrambling around construction sites in work boots). I tell myself that I’ll need them if I ever have the kind of job that involves wearing nice shoes again. But, I think I just don’t want to admit that I am not going to be wearing fabulous shoes anytime soon. :\

    1. She seemed like a creative lady who maybe sews as well, so maybe she just spotted one of her own.

      The shoes are so cute, but I’ve never really had a lifestyle that necessitates heels, so. Lately I’ve been really into black tights & black men’s tie-up walking shoes. It’s a very 90s look. The kind of 90s look I actually didn’t rock in the 90s because I was too busy wearing silver Airwalks back then. Ugh.

  3. We are definitely part of some kind of hive mind, because I just altered my pattern pieces last night to try out the shoulder gathers thing – before I read this post! I haven’t muslined it yet, but I’ll let you know how it goes when I do (if you haven’t gotten there before me!). I really like some parts of the Sewaholic Nicola, but not others, and I decided instead of buying a new pattern, I could try to alter an existing one. We’ll see how it goes. I kept the waist dart but rotated all of the side dart into the shoulder, which I fear might be too much gathering. I also cut the pattern at the top and added a seam allowance to make a yoke so the gathers start further down like they do on the Nicola. I also made it a v-neck, but I’m not sure what to do about the collar since I did that. I’m going to start with muslining the gathers to see if they even work, then worry about that.

    Pintucking is a brilliant idea that I am totally going to try. That might be a way to get myself to actually make one in a solid color, which would be a great versatile addition to my print-heavy wardrobe.

    1. Were we separated at birth? How do we keep making the same things in almost the same ways?

      I have a bunch of projects I cut out in the last few weeks that I should tackle before I make another shirtdress, & I’m planning to do the cats-&-organza dress first, so maybe you’ll get to the shoulder gathers before me. It would probably pay to muslin both that idea & the pintucks before cutting into good fabric though. I was thinking about shaping the yoke a little differently where it comes over the shoulder. I like the idea of lowering the gathers altogether. Maybe I’ll mess with that a little.

      Have you thought about doing a pintucked bib? That’s a thought that just occurred to me yesterday. That way you could do a solid color (which I am also very lacking in my wardrobe, with the exception of black), with some contrast in the bib.

      1. We truly must be!

        I haven’t thought about pintucked bib, but there was a pattern a while back that had one that I liked, but the rest of the pattern was shapeless so it seemed like a bad idea for me. I can’t remember what the pattern was, though. I have a few small scraps I’ve picked up over the years because they’re free at a shop near me and I liked the print, so that could be a good idea to use them up.

        1. A pintucked bib is a really twee idea, but…sometimes I like twee. Obviously. I am, after all, planning to make a dress printed with kittens. I’m hoping to get some muslin experiments going this week during Ramona’s naps. I really can’t believe how versatile M6696 is! There’s so much opportunity for customization!

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