Checking In, Checking Out: Stylish Dress Book 1 – Dress V

Stylish Dress Book 1: dress V by Ivy Arch

Returning to Stylish Dress Book: Wear With Freedom – the mother of all Japanese dressmaking books – I found there are still a good number of dresses in it that I haven't made, so turned my attention to tartan shirt-dress V. I like the loose shape of this design and the gathered lower front panel. The shirt collar looks great on the twenty-something Japanese model pictured, but experience tells me that wearing a sharp shirt-collar with my own short grey hair and middle-aged face is a dispiritingly dowdy look. Instead, I redrafted the neckline with a simple scoop shaped front, drafted a facing, and took out the centre front button panel replacing it with a centre front seam. 

Tartan shirt dress V, Stylish Dress Book

I used two and a half metres of a checked suiting fabricanother £4 a metre bargain from Worthing's Wednesday market. The book suggests you use 2.8 metres but I managed to match the checks at the side seams and had some fabric left over, so consider their estimate generous. I shortened the front hem so that the hem line dips lower at the back, it makes the shape of it feel a bit more sprightly in this heavy fabric.

Stylish Dress Book 1: dress V

Gathering and stitching the front panel was fiddly but not impossible and the rest of the dress was not problematic until I burnt a small hole in the centre front when pressing it with a too-hot iron. Curses! I repaired the hole but decided to sew the front pocket over it dungaree-style for peace of mind. The pocket has since come into its own as a handy place to transport my mobile phone. I added a second small pocket the back of the dress, consistent with the improvised dungaree pocket on the front, and finished the pockets and hem with some embroidered braid.

Back view, dress V

The dress has been such a hit that I have worn in three days in a row - unprecedented behaviour from someone who is not averse to changing outfits twice in one day.

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