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How to turn the Willow Shirt into a shirt dress.

Posted by Stephanie Bull on


Willow Shirt as a Shirt Dress.

I have always loved shirt dresses; they look so smart but are no-fuss and comfortable to wear. Here’s a quick tutorial to show you how to alter the Willow Shirt pattern to a dress length. You can use a wide variety of fabrics and make it any length you like with long or short sleeves. I recently made a size 12 in chambray for my friend’s granddaughter and added a tie belt. The design details and sewing instructions are the same as for the shirt.

 How to adjust the pattern:

1/ Trace out the complete pattern in the size required. Get a largish sheet of paper to make the new dress length pattern or enough paper to attach an extension to the existing pattern. There are three pattern pieces that will need to be lengthened; the main back, front and facing. All the other parts remain the same.

2/ Get the length measurement for the new dress: the most reliable place to measure length is on the centre back from the cervical bump at the base of the neck down to knee level. Then decide the finished length you would like for the dress; about 6 to 8cm / 2½-3” above the knee is a good length for a young girl. Note the finished length.

3/ Lengthen the back pattern:

 Place the back yoke and body patterns together overlapping the yoke seam allowance. The edge of the yoke neckline sits at the cervical point on the body so measure down from here and mark the new hem length, add a couple of centimeters for the hem allowance.

Remove the yoke pattern and outline around the body pattern, use a ruler to extend the side seam and centre back lines to the new length.

If you want to keep the curved hem use the existing pattern to draw the new hem line. This will be a little wider now. Take care to get a squared 90 degree angle at the centre back/hem junction.Make sure to mark the tuck notches at the yoke seam. Cut the new pattern out. The hem can be squared off if you prefer by lengthening the side seam to create a straighter hemline.

4/ Lengthen the front and facing patterns.

 Outline around the front pattern. Mark the notch points on the armhole and neckline.

Place the new back pattern against the side seam and draw down so the front is the same length as the back.

 

 Rule the centre front line down and use the existing pattern to shape the hem curve. Make sure to get a 90 degree angle at the centre front hem. Cut the pattern out.

 

 Outline the facing and place the new front against the facing and draw down to get the new length and cut out.

Label the patterns and be sure to mark all the notch points.

The dress is ready to cut out now using all the remaining pattern pieces

If you want to add a tie belt simply decide how long and wide you want the finished belt, Use double the finished width for a bagged-out belt, add a small seam allowance and cut out. I also added belt loops to the waist of the dress.