70s Style Knit Shirtdress: Burdastyle 4/2011 #108

I recently told Jordan with great pride that I hadn’t purchased any fabric in 2017. His reply, “That’s only five months.” Bubble burst.  I haven’t bought for a few reasons. The main one being I have more fabric than I can sew in my current lifetime. And, I was losing track of the fabrics I loved and the projects I’ve always wanted to make. In addition, we are going to sell and buy a new home in the next two years and before we do so I’d like to get my stash down to…. visible.

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Anywho, one such project that’s floated in the back of my mind for years is a graphic jersey shirtdress. Two years ago I saw wonderful 70s style knit shirt dresses at the Halston exhibit at FIT and promised myself I’d make a knit shirtdress ‘soon’. This pattern from the April 2011 Burdastyle (and still available for download) is JUST the look I was going for.

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My  poly jersey fabric came from Jomar in Philadelphia some time ago. I originally thought a 70s style wrap dress. But, I knew it would be GREAT as a shirt dress. I contemplated snaps  rather than buttons to keep the print uninterrupted. But, found these buttons in my stash. To make the buttonholes, I used a light tricot jersey in the facing and front band. Then, I also used tear away stabilizer. I’ve seen knit buttons wonky in RTW and wanted to make mine as neat as possible.

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I legit think I haven’t sewn a stand collar in years. I’d rate this one a 7/10 and am glad I won’t ever button this at the neck. I used instructions from the Better Homes and Garden Sewing Book and my Bunka Garment Design Textbook: Blouses and Dresses. Because Burda sure wasn’t giving me detailed instruction on sewing a stand collar! Next time I’ll be using my David Paige Coffin Shirtmaking book.

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I’ve avoided using this print for a while because I don’t trust my print matching skills. For this dress, I focused on a straight horizontal line at the front and back and decided to let the rest do what it do.

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The pattern itself is drafted for a woven. So, I sized down one to a 42 at the top and 44 through the thighs. If I make this up in a woven, I’ll just add to the seam allowances. I think the fit is spot on and will make for a great fitted shirt too. I have a second version I’m working on in a silk jersey that has less stretch and is gonna be a snug one!

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I made a 1 inch FBA. I usually make a larger FBA in BWOF. But, I’ve been sewing a 40 up top for a while. This time, I finally used my upper bust measurement rather than my underbust and I’m really happy with the fit (if not the increase in size!).

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Overall I lurv it. And, it reinforces my goal to sew somewhat from a plan this summer and focus on what I have. As for that plan… it involves more red,white and blue and shirtdresses πŸ˜€

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  1. How I love this perfect summer dress. The pattern and the fabric go so well together. It looks more 40’s styled rather than 70’s, but then again the 70’s did recreate a ton of 40’s inspired looks.

    • I totally see the 40s influence! Just some shoulder pads and a few more gathers and it could easily pass.

      On Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 10:12 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  2. Dear Celiepants,
    You look great in the dress and did a great job! I am a fabric addict, have been since I was a child and make no bones about it! The hubs and I( who just celebrated our 31rst wedding anniversary) both have our things, but we live in peaceful coexistence!

    • Hahaha! I think it hasn’t been a problem until we started looking for houses and I kept saying the largest rooms were necessary for my fabric πŸ™ƒ

      On Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 10:17 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


    • Thank you, Elle! It’s probably the happiest I’ve been with a sewn garment in a year!

      On Thu, Jun 1, 2017 at 10:52 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  3. Great pairing of the fabric and pattern! Plus, the fit is terrific. πŸ™‚

    • I’m totally going to end up with a few of these! I need to double check my stretch factor though. The second one I started is going to be a little too snug :-/

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 12:23 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  4. that is stunning- perfect on you and a perfect print for the style of dress- you wear it well -(well done on no new fabrics – i sometimes think the woman in my head sews a lot faster than me as I am always thinking about 4 projects ahead and so easily tempted to pick up new pieces to plan to sew)

    • There are just so man things I can and want to sew! But, I cannot let another piece of coating pass through my doors ☺️ Like you, I’m already four projects ahead!

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 4:07 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  5. Looks fantastic. Good luck on the stash busting – moving a fabric stash is a huge amount of work. I am impressed with no fabric purchases in 2017 even if Jordan isn’t!!

    • Our real estate agent came through a few weeks ago and pretty much told me to pack up my sewing room before we could sell. And, we have to repaint and do other minor repairs. I thought of you and Sigrid and got a little panicky! It’ll probably be in storage for about nine months 😳. I honestly might rent a cubicle at a makers space in town so I have someplace to sew with wild abandon.

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 6:00 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  6. Beautiful job! Lovely fit, and looks great on you. Now you need to knit a RWB sweater!

  7. It has never crossed my mind to make a knit shirtdress and as someone who is always looking for new knit patterns this is something of a revelation!! Yours looks fantastic and the fit is amazing. Also – reinflate that bubble, 5 months of no fabric purchasing is quite something, a good 4 months more than I managed, husbands know nothing about these things!

  8. Celie, the fit in the bust is perfection! High fives!

    I would have done the same thing with pattern matching. You have to pick the direction (vertical or horizontal) that would be most annoying if it were off.

    Question – what kind of needle and presser foot did you use?

    • Thanks, Erin! I haven’t done a button up in a long time and I am SUPER relieved there is no gaping. A FBA is like *magic*! I used a ball point needle and my walking foot (to better match the side seams). But, my regular presser foot for sewing darts, button band, etc.

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 10:11 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  9. This fits you so well and double kudos for getting button holes right on a jersey. I always avoid that if I can. Good luck clearing out the stash!

    • Thank you! I was too anxious to wait it out for snaps! I was so nervous making buttonholes. But, for once in my life I tested on scraps of fabric 😁

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 11:46 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  10. This is such a classic example of how great a perfect pattern and fabric match can be – I have some recent examples of the opposite, when it all goes wrong – being more mindful of the reality of the pattern and the fabric together is in my future. Plus – red shoes! Renting a sewing cubbie during the moving process sounds like an inspired sanity save.


    • Thank you! I have very few ‘fun’ shoes. And, these fit the bill ☺️ You’re right though. It’s not often everything comes together. And, this is just one time where it all worked!

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 12:07 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  11. that is super cute! and print dress love here – to me they are so appealing. Also I think people should make more things that are “designed” for wovens in knits – most times they work out really well and you get an extra comfort/wearability factor. Plus knits-> sewing=fast and easy πŸ˜‰

    • I have to give Trena credit for this. She *always* sews knits that were meant for woven. And, they have worked out so well for her. I’ll have to try it more now since I have some idea about getting it to fit right. I’m such a rule follower it only took me 25 years of sewing to make a woven pattern into a knit πŸ˜„

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 12:20 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


    • Thanks, Manju! I reaaaaaly love it. Hopefully I can make a few more with the same results.

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 1:10 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


    • What’s crazy is it was actually a little bit longer. I think it was about eight months (counting part of 2016). And, ZERO credit. You’re right. It deserved a ticker tape parade. Instead, I just bought fabric πŸ˜€

      On Fri, Jun 2, 2017 at 2:41 PM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


  12. I’m feeling bullish on shirt dresses too. Yours turned out great!! how can you switch from a woven to a knit? to use a knitting metaphor, do you have to do something about guage if you change that in a pattern???

    • My normal size should be a 44. But, I sewed one size smaller, a 42 to account for more stretch and less ease needed. That’s a good question! If I make a woven fabric version I would sew my regular size.

  13. This is gorgeous! Great fabric, great fit πŸ™‚ am inspired to get sewing from the stash!

  14. A whole five months?!?! You should get some kind of medal, or at least a certificate.

    I love this dress! It looks so good on you and the fit is spot on. It looks comfy and smart!

  15. Love it! It’s a great dress and the fit is perfection. That bust dart is in just the right spot, so hard to figure the first time you make a pattern!

    Stand collars in a knit, I’ll assume there was wine involved. I use a combo of Sandra Betzina’s Power Sewing and the wonderful craftsy class The Classic Tailored Shirt by Pam Howard (the best class on there imho). Your collar looks great, so well done there.

    • Oooh! I should take that class. I haven’t made a woven shirt in ages and would love to whip some up this fall. Thanks for the suggestion! And, you’re right about bust darts — esp in a knit. Mine usually end up all over the place. But, this pattern just really worked fit wise!

      On Sun, Jun 11, 2017 at 11:55 AM, Miss Celie's Pants wrote:


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