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Sunday, May 27, 2012


There is little in this life more simple than a shirt dress.  I talk about them every chance I get, and rant for hours about how a shirt dress is really the summer wardrobe staple.  In my opinion, no matter where you're strolling on a warm afternoon you can never be over or under dressed in one.

Finding the perfect shirt dress seems to be the challenge.  Honestly, I don't think I've ever found a legitimately cute one while shopping (and I've done a lot of shopping).  Occasionally I snag a cute one at a cheap store like Forever21 completely ok with the fact that by the end of the season, it's pattern will aggravate me and it's lackluster 'too short to be truly perfect' cut will fade away with the radiant heat of the brilliant sun.  But unlike the sun, that cheap shirt dress will not be missed.

Therefore, I found a better way to acquire shirt dresses and love them.  Sew them yourself with vintage patterns, duh.  Why does this work (if you can sew)?  Because the climax of shirt dress perfection was reached by the 1960's.  Honestly, there is no point to look any further in my eyes.  In the 1920s and 30s they were shoulder padded and bias cut.  In the 50s their skirts puffed out and their waists tightened.  By the 60s their skirts got shorter, but the styles remained much like the decade before: dainty, lady-like and well tailored.

The best part about making them yourself is picking the fabrics.  Cottons are always easy to find, and an easy summer shirt dress is best made in cotton.  I generally find my fabrics on sale at Hancock's.  I was actually very surprised to find that I can always spot a cheap cotton in their enormous sale piles that is quite cute.  For this sort of dress it's not necessary to get a top shelf fabric of the highest quality, it's a day dress for goodness sake.  When a dainty floral fabric catches my eye, I call it my "old lady house dress fabric."  Currently I'm sewing one of those, and will be posting about it in the near future.

A shirt dress (and sewing one) is truly the best, in that wonderful nerdy kind of way!

photo credits
1, 2, 3, 4


  1. I think one of my post-graduation endeavors is going to be to sew some of my own clothes. I have to agree that shirt dresses are quite dreamy. (: Thanks for the gorgeous inspiration.

  2. you could buy fashion shirts at much lower prices per piece, you could resell those at higher tags so you could generate attractive profits. bulk t shirts