Thursday, April 23, 2020

Gingham for Spring

I love gingham and spent some time collecting several colors and sizes of this beloved fabric. I've used it for accents in garments and for actual garments, here and here. So it's no surprise that I used some to brighten up this blue chambray maxi shirtdress.

This is the third version in my shirtdress making series. As I was constructing this dress, I realized how similar this is to another dress...guess I'm losing my originality! Honestly though there is a part of me that just doesn't care. I really am more interested in being comfortable and appropriately dressed than anything else.

Supply List ~
- 4.5 yards Blue Chambray purchased from Fabric Mart's Brick & Mortar Store during Carriage Corner Sew Camp
- 1/2 yard light blue gingham also purchased from Fabric Mart's Brick & Mortar Store during Carriage Corner Sew Camp
- 10 3/4" covered button shells from my notions collection
  (There's an interesting story to these covered button shells. I have to share it some day.)

- Interfacing from Steinlauf & Stoeller

Design Changes ~
To distinguish between this version and all of the others previously made and to come, I changed the sleeves. I wanted a longer sleeve but not so long the dress would be uncomfortable to wear in the summer. I decided to add a below elbow length sleeve with a tie.

Here's how I made it:
o  I added 5" to the bottom of the short sleeve 
o  Made a band 4" wide by 35" long from the chambray
o  Added a line of gathering stitches to the hemline of the sleeve 
o  Sewed the band to the sleeve hemline using a 5/8" seam allowance applying the center back of the band to the armhole seam
o  I left a one inch opening at the front of the sleeve to make it easier to tie the band
o  Topstitched the entire band after tucking in the ends 

Those are the only changes I made. It's the fabric speaking for this dress. I wanted a chambray maxi shirtdress and the gingham additions highlight the differences.

A Few Pictures ~

This not only fulfills my need for a chambray maxi shirtdress but also checks off one of the garments in my Chicos wardrobe.  While I may not be sewing from the cut pile right now, I am going back to it because I really do want those pieces in my closet.

My daughters have been amazing during this time. They've picked up groceries for me so I wouldn't have to go to the stores since I'm in the high risk category, and brought my grand kids by so I can talk to them through the car windows...cause Face Time is not all that! Today she showed up with some groceries, caught me taking pictures on the porch and volunteered to photograph this dress before heading home.

It took me awhile to come around to photographing these dresses. It seemed silly to be prancing around on the porch or in the front yard wearing pretty dresses during this crazy time. But I guess we're finding joy and stress/anxiety relief wherever we can find it. This 15 minutes we shared made my day and gave me a little normalcy back. Especially when she criticized my hair (she usually does it when we take pictures) and her naming my dress "The Prairie Dress."

There are two more dresses to share...they will show up here sooner rather than later! always more later!



  1. Hello Carolyn - The Prairie Dress is a great name for your beautiful new dress.The dress looked good hanging up in a previous post, and looks even better on you. I'm all for dressing comfortably while looking good too, and this dress looks wonderful. Here in New Zealand we're currently on full lockdown. Take care and keep safe, Michelle in Wellington, NZ

  2. Don't feel frivolous. I love your dress and I love reading the sewing blogs, especially yours, at this time. It brings a sense of normality. thank you. Julia

  3. Lovely dress. Not frivolous. I always enjoy your posts.

  4. I think it's great that you're making and wearing beautiful garments. And I love to see them.

  5. You are so inspirational to me! I've learned so much from you about sewing and I really enjoy the posts! Don't stop making these dresses and shirts!

  6. I adore gingham and chambray, and I think your dress is delightful. As for being frivolous -- no. A person has to do something to keep herself sane, especially in trying times like these. I'm so glad you continue to share!

  7. Carolyn, You are such an inspiration! I am a beginning sewist and your pictures, and prose provide me inspiration and a goal to strive for. Thank you.

  8. That gingham is the perfect accent for the chambray. A very successful piece.

  9. hi, caolyn. your dress is both casual and elegant--both are qualities that suit you so very well. the covered buttons in the gingham are the perfect designer touch. you done good, gal!--anne

  10. Pretty dress. So glad your daughter is getting your groceries and such. We are lucky to have the same. It has become such a funny routine. They back up to the garage and put it six feet in on the floor. My husband and I bring out a couple lawn chairs and sit. They sit on the tailgate and the kids in the back of the suv and we have some great talk for quite a while. Eventually I empty out the bags, wipe things down with Chlorox wipes and put them in the house. It truly is surreal and something I could never imagine. But we feel close and love these times together. We are glad to have each other no matter how we get that. I know you feel the same. Take care.

  11. Apparently, not only is your daughter a nice person she was raised well! You and other sewing bloggers and vloggers are doing a public service. You are giving us something else to look at and think about other than the horror that is the news. Thank you again. Jean

  12. I love your gingham accents! If I were sewing, I'm sure it would be things I know are comfortable, because that's all we want right now. How wonderful of your daughter to bring you groceries and bring the grandchildren to see you. Even if just from a distance or through glass, there is a lot to be said for the comfort of family. Patrick and Ryan are doing all of the going out for me, and I'm often annoyed because they don't bring back what I wanted, but then they try to bring me little surprises, and that's something.

  13. And any poor soul in the neighborhood looking out their window enjoyed the fashion show! Consider your time outside taking pics as a service to all the homebound! Gingham is lovely

  14. Love the play of the gingham with the chambray!

  15. The picture where you're being a bit naughty and showing a hint of legs is just beautiful!

  16. I adore this version with the gingham accents! I am so glad you are well taken care of by family during this time.

  17. Love the dress. And why NOT get in some good pics! What makes us happy is precious.

  18. You look like you are having a fun time modeling your dress! I'm sure the neighbors enjoyed it, too.

    I don't think there was anything wrong with your hair. Just a suggestion: prepare for your daughter's next visit by making some hats. (1) a Little house on the Prairie bonnet using some gingham, etc to match that dress. (2) a hat topped with spring flowers (real or artificial) and any other style you wish. If you do, don't forget to post the results.

    I love your blog.


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