The nice thing about having a bunch of blocks and half drafted patterns sitting around (you have no idea how many things I have started playing with and then discarded like a baby with amnesia) is that when you have a vision of a very particular simple dress stuck in your head, it probably won’t take that long to just draft it yourself.
The original incarnation of this pattern was actually a shirt dress project from way back last year; I was inspired by the look of women in oversized men’s oxford shirts (nothing sexier in my opinion… nothing). It’s still an idea I love and may dust off one day, but my original drafts made the perfect base for this particular shirt dress. I wanted something super lightweight and loose fitting that would look great in linen, and be easy to wear during my travels this summer.
I couldn’t be happier with it if it woke me up every morning with a cup of strong tea and a croissant. It’s the absolute 100% perfect thing to wear when it’s so hot you want to cry, I can dress sit it up or down, and because it’s made from a beautiful creamy white linen, I feel like Meryl Streep in Out of Africa but minus all the problematic neo-colonial undertones.
It is also easily the most complimented thing I’ve ever made; I’ve been chased down the street to ask where I got it. “My Bernina” isn’t the most helpful reply, sorry ladies.
The construction is pretty simple. It has a banded kimono sleeve with a classic shirt collar. What’s unique is the deeply curved hem, an exaggerated version of a men’s shirt hem. It’s so curved that it had to be finished with matching bias tape rather than the typical fold press and stitch hem (if I change anything I might shorten the back by just a smidge). I also extended the back yoke into the sleeve and drafted an extra wide back pleat; I like how fluid and sculptural it feels from behind.
I was so happy to have it in Barcelona when it got uncomfortably hot and sticky, and even happier that I packed a pair of bike shorts to wear with it (I don’t know when my inner thighs became allergic to humidity, but the chaffing is NO JOKE).
Heat rash aside, I’m looking forward to making a dozen more next summer, in every shade of linen available. Because.
What do you think of this dress/pattern? What’s your secret summer weapon (besides bike shorts?)
Details: Self drafted linen shirt dress, handmade Greek sandals from Etsy