Many moons ago I spotted a lady in a café wearing the loveliest chic shift of navy and white. I sat staring for as long as would go unnoticed, you know, just before she might call the police! She had a youngen in a pram so I suspect she may have been between 6-12 months postnatal. This chic shift looked cool and easy going for a coffee morning with the girls.
For years I have dreamed of just such a chic shift. White plastron (bib) on navy shirt like dress. Little grandpa collar in white and the crowning glory of the outfit a concealed button placket. Darling Anita over at Studio Faro helped me draft a ‘dress shirt’ from a Burda 7136 pattern I had toiled (over and over), eliminating the bust darts by moving them into the sides of the plastron for a neat, no dart effect – very clever that Anita.
The first attempt at this design was made in a lovely fine checked baby blue linen. The plastron was embellished with rows of machine embroidery and I used loop buttonholes to eliminate the need for a button placket which seemed too heavy for this style. I absolutely love this top and it has become my go to top for summer. My only reservation is that I feel the embroidery makes it look a lot like PJs, which is probably why I like it so much – ‘cos PJs! When I have to run errands I feel like I should pack a teddybear in my handbag and shuffle into my Ugg boots! The centre front inverted pleat is a little excessive and causes the top to sit away from my body, but I like the swing line a lot.
Essentially I have spent the best part of two weeks drafting my ideal chic shift and this is what I got – blah! I hate it because it reminds me of at least 423 nurse’s uniforms I have worn over the years – only somewhat dental!
- Firstly its too short, because I decided all the dresses I have made thus far have been too long. The ideal length may change without notice though – I’m fickle like that!
- I preferred my original ‘grandpa’ collar, this latest draft is too wavy even though I stabilised both sides of this cotton elastane woven monstrosity. Back to the drafting books for me (self flagellation ensues).
- I do like the concealed placket – so that was a win, but the fit below the waist is really awful. Just goes to show you can’t just lengthen a top and get a dress! Well you probably can with a swing line, but not with anything remotely fitted.
I really preferred the beast in this before shot. A photo I texted to my hubby early in the process with the prematurely cheery caption “I think I nailed it”.
The after version… “now Mr Smith, just a little prick…”!
What went wrong? I completely lost the essence of what I was trying to recreate. I kept shaving off the sides and tucking at the waist until I made it blah.
What to do? “Step away from the scissors and put down the sharp object” I hear you say.
Do I cut off below the waist and add a skirt that isn’t straight? That would necessitate removing that collar for the 3rd time. Further collars may not improve because the elastane in the fabric just seems to increase the upper collar circumference no matter what I do, even when its stabilised with a non stretch fusible. All and any ideas welcome!