After the completion of my Mimi blouse I wanted to make another dress. I am always swooning over shirt dresses and actually bought the Colette Hawthorn pattern in the Spring. However, the muslin I made for it fit me atrociously and I didn’t really know what to do, so it’s been sitting scarily next to my sewing desk daring me to try again. With no pattern in mind I was looking for inspiration and I suddenly thought – why not make a shirt dress out of your favourite shirt pattern? And so the Mimi dress was born.
To make it into a dress, I cut out a pattern piece that went from the notches at the waist and flared out in a straight line from there, following the curve as the waist comes out to the hip. I added a curve to the bottom so that the hem would be straight and notches to line it up with the blouse pieces.
A quick note because I didn’t think about it until I started construction – if you’re using a pattern with a right way up then the yoke is not going to be the right way up on the front and back. On mine this means I have some upside down palm trees on the shoulder, but I don’t think it looks that weird – the collar covers part of it up anyway. Something to consider though!
For the construction I again added the collar and facing before sewing the side seams, which I definitely think makes it easier. Sadly I completely forgot to add pockets when I did the side seams, which I’m finding quite annoying. Wondering if I should add patch pockets? I also changed the shape of the collar to more of a square collar for variety. To get the pattern for the collar to be the right way up I cut the upper collar piece in two pieces with a seam at the back.
The last deviation from the pattern was the facing. On both the Mimi and Mathilde patterns the neckline is faced with a piece of material that folds to the inside and is then understitched to stop it rolling to the outside. I don’t know what I do to clothes, but I can never stop this facing from popping out. I don’t think it’s particularly the pattern or my sewing because I find the same with shop bought clothes.
Anyway, this was especially bad with Mimi because it has a collar that should be on the outside and a facing that should be on the inside and I can never get them lying right without much ironing, so for this iteration I have not let it flap around. I reduced the width of the facing pieces by about an inch and then sewed it all together as per the instructions (don’t do what I did and forget to lengthen the front facing to the length of the dress). Once the facing was attached, understitched AND finished with zig-zag to prevent any more fraying nightmares, I topstitched it down. This doesn’t detract at all from the look of the dress because the part around the neck is hidden under the collar and the part down the front becomes a button placket of sorts. I would highly recommend this to anyone that hates having to rearrange their facings every morning. I’m considering hand stitching it down on my other tops and dresses.
The fabric is a lovely polyester peach skin chiffon from Backstitch, which I thought would be very cute for the summer with its parrots and palms. Makes me want to lie on a tropical beach! The buttons were from my stash, originally from the bargain bucket of buttons in Masons. The colour of the buttons goes well with the parrots, so I’m pleased with those.
Negatives: No pockets! Also, the polyester fabric has a tendency to stick to my tights or legs and ride up if I’m wearing a bag, so I have to be quite careful when wearing it.
Positives: I’m very pleased with this dress. It looks great with a belt for the office or without a belt on the beach. The fabric is really cute and lovely and airy for the summer
I’ll leave you with a couple of photos of my Mimi Dress “in the wild” at the Elan Valley in Wales. These photos were taken on my old film slr.