I’ve wanted to make a cute shirt dress for a while but haven’t really found any patterns that jumped out at me. They’re either too fussy or shapeless or needlessly complicated. Then, about a month ago, I saw this adorable dress pop up in my email. Chelsea from Friday Pattern Company made this perfect linen shirt dress using the Ilford Jacket pattern. Here in the South, it’s getting too hot for jackets of any kind, but I NEEDED to make this dress! I purchased the pattern immediately and a few days later, I’d received gold Merchant & Mills EU Laundered 100% Linen fabric from Minerva. This dress hack is an absolute winner! It’s comfortable, classy and endlessly versatile (I couldn’t think of a synonym beginning with “c”).
The fabric I used is this stunning antiqued gold linen that Minerva sent me. It’s the perfect time of year for linen and this fabric is the linen of my dreams. It’s medium weight and is Oeko-Tex certified to be Earth-friendly. As I do with all my fabrics, I laundered it before sewing and had zero problems with fading or unraveling. It was a delight to work with and feels so good on my skin. Because of the unique color, you can easily pair this fabric to ground colorful prints or as a pop of color with neutral fabrics.
This was a fun and easy dress to make. Friday Pattern Company has a lot of video sewalongs, so any problems you might face along the way are typically covered in the videos. I followed Chelsea’s instructions for the hack – lengthened the body by six inches, made a belt and two belt loops, and shortened the boxy sleeves to an eight-inch underarm inseam. I omitted the right upper pocket and added an upper left pocket and lower hand warmer pockets.
The hardest part of this project was sewing the buttonholes. I HATE sewing buttonholes. It’s not a particularly hard task – it’s just that my machine proves finicky whenever the task arises. I think I waited a full week after finishing the rest of the dress to sew the buttons and buttonholes. The dress looked so perfect that I didn’t want to risk ruining it with wonky buttonholes. After staring at my almost finished make for several days, I summoned up some courage and began working on the buttonholes. I first sewed a couple test holes on scrap interfaced fabric. Make sure your test fabric is the same thickness as your final fabric. The test proved fruitful because my machine staged a revolt on the second hole, despite sewing the first hole perfectly. Determined to win the buttonhole battle, I turned off my machine, removed the bobbin, cover and casing, and gave my machine a thorough cleaning. After my hourlong cleaning session, I sewed three more buttons without too many issues. Now, I have a great linen shirt dress that can take me from the office to dinner to the beach!