From the Back of the Closet: The Farm Girl Shirt Dress



My ‘From the Back of the Closet’ series will cover some of my older pieces that are now well worn and well loved but haven’t yet made it onto my blog.

This good work horse (hee hee) of a dress was made a while ago when I came upon Grosgrain FabulousFrock by Friday from 2010 that stepped through the making of simple but fun shirt dress with belt. The pattern is a free one from Bernina (the original link seems to be broken so I’m not sure if the pattern is still out there in cyberspace) but I changed the sleeves to capped sleeves and added pockets. (Gotta love pockets in a dress!)


The fabric I used is a gorgeous printed Japanese cotton from Tessuti.  I bought it a while ago but couldn’t find the right project.  This opportunity seemed to work.  And with the contrasting solid salmon coloured cotton (from Remnant Warehouse) for the collar, sleeves and other details helped to frame the more subtle main fabric. I also enjoyed picking the buttons :-). I was a bit worried that I would look a somewhat washed out in this creamy colour but I think it’s ok.

The photos that were posted on the sew along were really helpful in figuring out the different steps.  The most difficult part was the placket (button stand) and neither the pattern instructions nor the Frock by Friday’s photos and tips could decipher it for me.  I just couldn’t understand how you could make a cut in the fabric, add on a piece with seemlingly no seam allowance and get the edges to meet up!  I was about to give up and start all over again when the wonderful world of bloggers helped me out.  I found Nikki from The Girl Who Quilts with a tutorial explaining a solution to my EXACT problem.  I was thrilled and finally got over that hiccup to get the dress done.



This dress is a great weekend dress and good for travelling because it’s very comfortable and you can layer it up (leggings and boots in winter) or down (as is in summer).


Pattern: Bernina’s free shirt dress pattern (whose link seems to have vanished) and Grosgrain Fabulous’ Frock by Friday

Fabric: Printed Japanese cotton and a salmon coloured cotton for the contrasts

Alterations: I changed the sleeve to a more shaped capped sleeve (based on Simplicity 2282). I also added pockets . I initially had the idea to make the skirt a bit fuller but this didn’t turn out too well so I cut it back to the original design.

Do it again?: I would consider making another shirt dress but I might try a bolder fabric and I want to see if I can get the fuller skirt idea to work.

PS. The photos were taken at my mom’s beautiful home in South Africa.

PPS. I don’t suggest walking into a horses’ paddock wearing sandles!  I was lucky…but don’t try it at home

PPPS. One last horsey face…



3 thoughts on “From the Back of the Closet: The Farm Girl Shirt Dress

  1. Pingback: Me-Made-May: Perseverance | Dodgy Zebra

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