A Shirtdress for All Seasons


As soon as the new Sew Over It City Break ebook came out, I knew that I wanted to sew the patterns up for fall. I fell in love with the Alex dress – partially because it shares my name!

I decided to make the dress in an orange designer chambray. The fabric is thin enough to be worn in Fall and Spring, but its color makes it perfect for year-round.


The dress was easy to cut out and sew. It features just a collar piece, rather than a collar piece and stand. The button bands are formed by folding the front pieces, rather than attaching a second button band.  The adorable yoke and pleat in the back give it a polished ready-to-wear look.




After the dress came together, the real fun began. It was MASSIVE. I took about 4 inches off the hem and took in the side seams a bit as well. As you can see, it is still rather large, but at least it is wearable with a belt. For my next version of the Alex, I will definitely be sizing down – maybe by two sizes. My advice: Before you make this pattern, measure a shirt dress or other loose fitting dress that you own. Compare these measurements to the finished garment measurements mentioned on the Alex Dress Pattern. You might think you know what 4-8 inches of ease looks like, but it is MUCH more than you think 😉

All in all I am very please with my Alex dress and can see many more in my future. Perhaps out of this diamond tencel chambray. What would you make an Alex shirt dress out of?

Alexandra is a librarian and blogs about her sewing and reading adventures over
at The Library of Alexandra



Alexandra holds a Master’s in Library and Information Science from UNC Chapel Hill and is currently completing her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Johns Hopkins University (expected graduation 2023). She is passionate about the science of learning and ensuring equity in education.

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9 thoughts on “A Shirtdress for All Seasons”

  1. Really fab colour on you, I like the idea of this dress but worried about the lack of shape, it looks great with a belt though. I like the idea of a denim dress, the diamond Tencel looks lovely, shame I’m in the wrong country for shipping! Look forward to seeing more of them.

  2. I think you’re right. There is a tad too much ease without the belt. Palmer/Pletch recommends pinning the pattern pieces together and trying them on before sewing to determine the fit. I find this works particularly well at my age, since gravity has attacked. Sadly, too much ease is never my problem, and darts are never too low, but at least I can catch these problems before I sew without making a muslin, which bores me to death. And if the muslin works, I never seem to get to the fabric I wanted to use to begin with.

  3. This looks great! I am in the process right now of making an Alex Shirtdress and I can’t get over how long it is. I shortened the pattern by 5 inches and I think I can take off another 2 or 3 inches! I sized down. I made the shirt version first, and I went by my high bust measurement which seemed to work. It is meant to be a looser, comfy style. I can’t wait to see your next one!

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