Another finished project! This dress is part of our search for an excellent beginner-level shirt to offer as a class as the shop. I think we’ve found it, chickadees!

So, here’s the details. The pattern is the Claire Cami Dress from Serendipity Studio – the same source of my new obsession, the book Sew Serendipity. I thought it might be a good beginner choice as it has no closures, is pretty easy on sizing and has a ton of options for mixing prints and adding different width hems AND ruffles. Note my extreme use of restraint on this version. The only more advanced part is the sweetheart neckline (easy with good clipping!) and a copious amount of topstitching – more tedious than difficult, I suppose!

The XXL is meant for a 44” bust. I did a quick tissue fit, and decided to add a bit to the bust. Mostly, I wanted to add to the waist and hips (in hindsight, not the best plan!) I did a 1.5” FBA and added the same amount to the skirt part of the pattern. I think for future versions, I’ll take some of the width out of the skirt part – it’s hard to see while I’m wearing it, but the top of the bodice is nice and smooth and attaches to the waist-tie casing with no gathering necessary. The skirt part IS gathered a bit when attached to the casing, so there’s some wiggle room to take out some of the width. If I was to make as a shirt again, I’d probably make the skirt part of the shirt a bit shorter to ease back on the bun in the oven look.

Here’s the view from the back – a nice, high back! Also, the arms fit pretty well, but I did shave off about a quarter inch from the armscye on the bodice front to give myself a little more space to flap my arms about.

I really, really like this shirt, especially the fabric, an awesome hot pink print for the main fabric and an even awesomer (yeah, I said awesomer) pink and green scroll for the casing and hem band. I’m even MORE excited about making a dress from this pattern. I bought a dress at Target last summer that I wore to death –  simple, cotton, fitted top with not a lot of shaping, maybe some darts, a tie at the waist and a hem right above my knees. Here I am, swilling wine and wielding a clipboard at my wedding rehearsal, wearing my favorite summer dress which is blowing around in the wind, making my hips look giant!

I’ve been thinking of either finding a close-enough pattern or copying the dress in some other way to make a few more for this summer – I think this pattern is just the ticket! And in case you doubt, I have used the magic of technology to make the shirt into a dress. Not that I usually wear dresses with jeans and boots – although I sort of like this look!

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