Completed: Vintage Carline shirtdress

Vintage shirtdress in liberty fabric

Evening everyone!  Hope you’re all well, and not feeling like it should be Friday already…  Anyway…  If this fabric looks familiar, it’ll probably be because it’s been everywhere for the last few years, but also maybe because it’s the second thing I’ve made from my length…  I think I’m a tad on the cautious side when I buy fabric – I like to know I won’t run out, you know?

This was the Liberty Carline left over from my Carolyn pyjamas – told you I bought plenty!  Although, having gone pattern-matching crazy on the pyjamas, there’s no matching of anything here – I barely squeezed this dress out of the fabric I had.  I had to piece the belt, for goodness sake…  There isn’t even a hanky-sized bit left!

The pattern is a vintage Style one from the late 50s – the photos don’t show the detail very well. but it’s a nicely cut classic shirtdress with 2 little tucks either side of the front waist.

Vintage shirtdress sewing pattern and Liberty Carline fabric
I’m actually pleasantly surprised at how well it fits – I lowered the bust dart straight off, around 1″, and took it out a bit at the waist halfway through – I had made a muslin of the bodice last year, and thought the waist was big enough, but it turns out not.  Sadly, I’d already flat-felled the side seams by the point I realised, so I took a little out of the tucks and the back-waist darts.  If I make it again, I’ll grade out so I can keep the tucks a bit more pronounced, as I think they’re such a lovely detail!

Oh, and I lowered the front waist a little.  Not sure I needed to, now, but there we go…

Being a vintage pattern, the instructions are brief and to the point.  They’re clear enough, though, and do kind of show that you don’t need a 32-page instruction booklet to sew a dress…  The only place I got a bit muddled was with the skirt front below the buttons – I’ll admit it took me 3 tries, and I’m not convinced it’s altogether right now, but it looks like the picture, which is good enough for me.

vintage instructions

Bound buttonholes
I really went to town on the details – bound buttonholes, fabric belt, faux-turned-up sleeves…  all in all, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t glad it was finished!  The belt is stiffened with buckram – not quite as good as actual belting, but I happened to have some, and I figured it’d be better than interfacing.

Vintage shirtdress details

Apparently I didn’t bother to pick all the threads off before taking pictures…

Because I was a bit fed up of it, and rushing to finish, I didn’t bother shortening the skirt at all – I just hemmed it at the length of the pattern pieces, so it’s very vintage in length.  I may shorten it in the future, as I think it would be a bit more flattering.

Vintage 50s sewing pattern Liberty shirtdress

Overall, I love this dress!  From the muslin, I was afraid the collar would be too high around my neck, but although it is quite high it doesn’t bother me at all.  It has a generous fit through the bust with no gaping, and actually barely gapes at the waist without a belt, even though it’s quite fitted there.  Happy days all round 🙂

I’m definitely ready for some quick-and-mindless dresses now though – how about you?  Are you stuck into a long project, or knocking out t-shirts for summer?

Take care, see you soon!





  1. kaitlynssimplyvintage
    May 25, 2016 / 1:18 am

    This looks lovely on you, love the bound button hole details

    • May 25, 2016 / 6:51 am

      Thank you! They were a bit time consuming, but worth it I think! X

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