Shirtmaking adventures – episode one

I can’t really remember a time when I wasn’t inconsistent . Ironically, it’s been the one consistent trait in my personality. It’s really no surprise that blogging has also fallen victim to my chronic inconsistency.

In an attempt to write a bit more regularly, I have made the commitment to blog about all the projects that I have finished in the past few months and that have gone undocumented. The first, and very stressful, task I needed to complete in order to compose useful blog entries was to gather photographic evidence of the makes. Oh how I hate to pose for pictures!

Even after listening to the great Stitchers Brew Podcast’s episode on Photography (do yourself a favour and go have a listen, it’s packed with tips on blog & social media photography and really funny to boot!), I was seriously struggling to collect good-looking photos of my makes. Posing makes me so anxious that was threatening the marital peace. The scene would always unfold in the same way: after posing for a couple of very awkward pictures (during which process I feel like all my external shortcomings are suddenly being pointed out to the only human being I really care finds me attractive, I would walk away upset and unsatisfied. I also tried taking pictures of myself, but that also failed quite miserably.

This is where my wonderful brother arrives to save the day. He’s a talented photographer, patient and with a fresh sense of humour that helps immensely in making me at ease in front of the camera. This is how, on a blistering sunny day, I packed a bag full with me-mades and attitude, and headed for my first ever photoshoot!

Now for the real protagonist of this post, the Alex Shirtdress from Sew Over It.


I’ve put this together last year, I think I have started it in September and it was barely ready by the beginning of November when I was getting ready to go to Costa Rica. I had in mind to sew a few summery pieces that didn’t need ironing, could easily be layered and were quick to assemble.


I don’t have any construction notes on this garment, so I have to go by memory: I sewed up the smallest size, as there is heaps of ease. I also remember using the burrito method from the Kalle Shirtdress sew-along for the yoke assembly, instead of following the instructions provided. Apart from that, the instructions were really straightforward so I didn’t need any further deviations.

The pattern seems intended for a novice sewist, and cuts quite a few corners to create a shirt pattern that isn’t every beginner’s nightmare. Without a collar stand and plackets, and with no need to do any fitting due to the dropped shoulder and the oversized fit, the only challenging part really was the buttonholes – which I had always skirted around until then.

The same simplicity of construction that makes it an ideal beginner shirt has also its limitations. It has an undeniably casual feel to it. I find it really hard to dress up. Also, the sleeves are completely shapeless and only make sense if rolled up.


This said, this pattern works is absolutely perfect for hot weather. It’s super airy and the three quarters sleeves were a godsend when my skin started to resent the sudden abundance of sunshine. Besides, with sandals and a thin belt it was a pretty stylish look and I wore it as happily on the beach as in the middle of the jungle – especially since it’s meant to be worn as a dress, therefore conveniently longer in the back.


In these pictures you see it in the gardens of Brockwell park, worn with skinny jeans and boots. A great styling alternative for spring, although it wasn’t quite the same as when I was sitting on a beach sipping coconut water & rum straight from a coconut while watching an epic downpour. I wonder why!

A million thanks to my photographer for making this blog post possible <3.


2 thoughts on “Shirtmaking adventures – episode one

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  1. Oh my goodness, you should never be afraid of the camera, you are beautiful. I won’t go on, but please convey my thanks to your brother for taking the time. Funny thing, marital harmony is always strained when my husband tries to help out! My daughter who is over in your parts currently, is the very best and I think it’s about the dialogue. Try this, turn your head that way etc. Recently I’ve had success with putting on loud music and setting the camera up on a tripod and auto timer. The music makes me dance and move – the photos are less self conscious.
    As for your dress, it sounds like it fulfilled it’s job on holidays, and suits you perfectly. I’m travelling to Germany in June and here in Sydney we are in the autumn/winter. It’s so hard to think about anything cool!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh Lesley, thank you so much! I think most women can only feel as beautiful as they allow themselves to be… and I find it challenging at best. I also think you are completely right about the dialogue! My brother and I get along really well and he’s super comfortable giving me awkward feedback, and because it’s him I don’t take it badly. (My boyfriend is also a really good photographer but I can’t take feedback from him. It’s my issue, not his!)

      I will surely try your music advice, sounds like a great way to be natural on camera 😊😊

      Enjoy your trip preparation!


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