Simplicity 8014: my new favourite shirt dress

Sunday 31 May 2020
a lady posing in a black shirt dress with leopard belt in front of a lounge room

Earlier this year while it was still summer here in Australia I finally got around to making a pattern that had been in my stash for a while - Simplicity 8014 shirt dress. If you google this pattern number it throws up many great dresses made by lots of other ladies, so I really don't know why I waited so long to make it.

This is quite a simple pattern with a few great variations:

The front cover of Simplicity 8014 sewing pattern showing 4 variations of a shirt dress

I particularly like view A and B because that waist seam is a god send for those with sway backs, and the flared skirt is also great for a pear shape.

side view of a lady posing in a black shirt dress in a lounge room

I did a slight narrow shoulder and forward shoulder adjustment which I do to all patterns, and graded out from the bust to two sizes larger at the hips - all of which are pretty standard changes for me.

close up view of a lady wearing a black shirt dress

I've made this out of black heavy weight linen from The Fabric Store - it's really great quality and didn't lose any colour when I did a hot pre-wash to shrink it before sewing. Being linen it did wrinkle after a full day of wear in the office (back in the good old days when we went into our offices on the regular), but nothing too outrageous:

photo of a lady wearing a wrinkled linen shirt dress in the front yard of a house

side view of a lady wearing a wrinkled shirt dress in the front yard of a house

Before I made this version though I firstly made view B which is essentially exactly the same but it just has a mandarin collar made by leaving the collar off and just sewing on the collar stand. It makes it look quite different without a collar, probably because it seems natural to wear it buttoned up completely instead of open like the collared version:

woman in a blue and red floral dress posing next to a pool

This fabric is also linen, bought online from Super Cheap Fabrics that I bought during one of their sales. It's also great quality - the colours didn't run when I washed it and it has a great weight and opaqueness for a dress.

I didn't try to pattern match at all, but it's not obvious in this busy print. And even without wearing a belt this one sits nicely around my waist and the two small waist pleats (not darts) don't fluff out too much.

woman posing in a blue and red floral dress next to a swimming pool

photo of a woman in a blue and red floral dress posing next to a swimming pool

Please excuse the dirty pool in the above photos - these were taken in February while we were still having those awful bushfires and the slight amount of rain we got washed all the ash and dust into the pool and everywhere else. We're now having a wet May and with all else that has happened last summer feels like a lifetime ago.

So overall this is a really great pattern that I can highly recommend. I'm thinking about trying the other view as well because I think it would be a more casual style which would definitely suit these current times, but I'm not so sure it will look as good on my pear shape.

I'm back! Meet Burda 11/2015 #112

Sunday 24 May 2020
woman posing on the side of the road in blue jeans and a maroon check top

When my enthusiasm for blogging petered out last year, I thought that would be the end of my blog. But someone emailed me recently to ask about a pattern I'd made many years ago and as I was scrolling through my old blog posts to find it I realised that I missed recording my rants and raves about various patterns as well as other snippets of things going on in my life. Instagram is good for a photo, but obviously you just can't capture the details of a pattern and project in that space, so here I am again!

These are strange times aren't they? I am very thankful that I am healthy and I still have my job when so many others have lost theirs due to the COVID-19 shutdown but I am busier than ever with work, two children to homeschool and a dog demanding pats all the time! Working from home has also forced a rethink in my wardrobe, as I don't have enough smart tops to wear and I can't be bothered putting on a dress for the camera.

woman posing in a maroon plaid check long sleeve top

Enter my latest project - a simple funnel neck top with a neckline zipper which helps get it over my head and adds a bit of interest. This fabric - a Marc Jacobs wool bought from the Fabric Store in Surry Hills a few years ago - has had a long journey into becoming this project. Firstly I made this fabric into a shapeless sweater dress but I really should have known better that shapeless looks like a literal sack on my curvy body so I pulled it apart and instead made it into a fitted dress with darts. Which was great until the next wash when the fabric shrunk a little more even though I did prewash and it became too tight to wear.

Finally, I've made it into a top using Burda 11/2015 #112 and I plan to hand wash and stretch it into shape from now on in case it still has a bit more shrinking to do.

technical drawing of a sewing pattern and a model wearing a top with zippered neck
images from
The only changes I made to the pattern was to lengthen it by 5cm as it is a cropped length and I graded out to the next size below the waist. I really like the centre back seam even though I had to pattern match the plaid because it made it easy to get rid of that sway back pooling I often get.

photo of the back of a woman's top in maroon plaid

Although it's a simple pattern the Burda magazine has illustrated pattern instructions in the magazine. However (and here is my rant!) I don't think the method for the neck zip is the best way of doing it.

photo of sewing instructions from Burda magazine

Essentially you sew cut the seam allowances off, sew the zipper tape on top, then hand sew the ends of the zipper tape together and sew the ribbon over the top of the zipper tapes. Doing it this way leaves a gap between the end of the zipper tape and the shoulder seam, unless my zipper tape is unusually short because I'm sure I transferred the mark from the pattern where the zipper stop goes correctly. I had to sew a small square of fabric to the underside to fill in that gap. I think a better method would be to sew the seam from the shoulder edge to the mark for the zipper stop, and then install the zipper as an exposed zip with a welt pocket type opening instead - this would hide the zipper tape, leave no gap at the end and keep that shoulder seam strong too. Or at lease use a zip longer than the magazine recommends!

four photos showing a close up of the zipper insertion into the shoulder of a top

Ironically it turns out that I should have narrowed the shoulders anyway because this sits off my shoulder point - that would have solved the problem of that little gap! Although looking at the pattern I think it's designed with an extended shoulder.

close up photo of a zipper

photo of a woman wearing a top with a zipper on the shoulder

Because of my forward rounded shoulders (thanks to being a side sleeper and having poor posture) I'm getting a fold of fabric across the front below the neckline. For my next version I would do a forward shoulder adjustment by taking a bit of width out of the front and adding it to the back instead.

photo of a woman posing

So if you're still here reading - welcome back and thanks for sticking around! I hope to get into more a regular routine with my posting. So many projects to catch up on....