HONEY, I SHRANK THE SHIRTDRESS…


Am I suffering from maker’ s bias (unintentional pun!) or is this totally twee AND squee at the same time? This is the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress.

Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress

Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress

I made this for Aislinn, my one & only niece (I have four nephews). The fact it’s so cute will hopefully make up for the fact her baptism was last weekend. Oops.

This is a downloadable pattern – I believe it is no longer in print. That’s a shame as it’s a lovely age-appropriate (ie not old-fashioned daggy) dress for little girls. This is a size 12 months-18 months. Tiny! The pattern is sized 6-12 months to 3 years and you can also download it as age 4-8. My daughters both want shirtdresses now, fortunately I won a magazine from The Perfect Nose and I have a shirtdress in the queue from that.

Unfortunately I could not find a shop that would print the large format sheet on the weekend (it provides a tiled pattern as well as a large format pattern sheet) so I tiled the pages myself. The logic of the PDF layout of Oliver + S is outstanding and putting them together was a breeze.

This itty bitty little shirtmaker dress has a Peter Pan style collar and a button placket. I had never constructed a placket before but the instructions are very clear and it was easy. Fiddly but easy.

The one thing that threw me was the 1/2 inch seam allowance – instead of 5/8 seam allowance. I chanted it to myself every time I went to the machine LOL.

I stuck to the pattern with just a few little SewBusy touches…

Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress sleeve tab

Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress sleeve tab

  • I used press studs rather than buttons on the placket. They seemed more practical and less swallowable than buttons.
  • I attached little white flower buttons on the contrast sleeve tabs and pocket flaps (with some little bits of green contrast stitching)
  • Added a little lace trim to the hem, cos a gal can’t be over-trimmed.
Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress pocket

Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress pocket

And the finishing touch? My own little label – courtesy of ELH, the Ever Lovin’ Husband. It seemed appropriate to use the first one on his god-daughter/niece’s dress.

SewBusyLizzy Label

SewBusyLizzy Label – the slip stitching is a bit messy – I was excited at this point!

It’s actually our 13th wedding anniversary tomorrow.

One of my friends once said I should blog my wedding dress. I didn’t make it but she said it’s so lovely I should share it with you. It’s fairly simple in style. What do you think? It still fits :-)

Pattern Review RTW Competition
The RTW Pattern Review competition voting is about to close. I’m pretty confident that I’m not going to win :-( in fact I think one of my blog followers will! when I saw her dress I thought ‘yup that’s the winner!‘. That’s cool. I realised when I decided to make the dress that it wasn’t the ‘showstopper’ ‘prize winner’ type, it’s too ‘everyday’ however I wanted to create an everyday dress that I would adore wearing and that’s exactly what I did. I continue to wear my gingham 15 pound Aussie shirtdress a lot and it always receives high compliments, in fact my hairdresser complimented me. I mentioned I had made it and she laughed “I was just thinking… I should get some fabric I think I could make that“. It really is the best knock-off yet – people want to knock-off my knock-off! LOL

And back @ SewBusy Headquarters…
I’m thread-tracing my jacket pattern. Yes, it’s time-consuming and intense… but it’s relaxing & fun… yes, I’m not kidding! I don’t joke about sewing. This is serious stuff.

Burda 03/2013 jacket

Burda 03/2013 jacket. A pretty wool blend.

Jump Rope Dress details
Pattern from here.
Fabric: Japanese lawn from Spotlight (Australia).

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62 thoughts on “HONEY, I SHRANK THE SHIRTDRESS…

    • They are all adorable. I love the Sunday Brunch coat and skirt. I’m thinking about making that in white for my daughter’s first Communion this winter.
      It’s a great pattern, there is another view of the dress which is much simpler to make up. Plus every girl needs a shirt dress. Both my girls want one now!

  1. I’m in love with the little shirtdress! And I can’t wait to see the jacket, I’m sure it will be gorgeous too, like everything you make (no pressure here though ;) ). And congratulations on the wedding anniversary!

  2. Sooooo cute Lizzy! I just love making things for little girls…you can get all cutsy and stuff on the details…lots of fun! I love your label – and your slip stitching does NOT look messy at all! Looking forward to seeing your jacket – I love your fabric. Winter will be here before you know it, although you wouldn’t bank on it here considering the hot nights we’ve had…I’m so over it.

    • Too true, I made nappy covers with appliqué hearts on the bottom for my girls LOL
      It’s getting cooler here at nights, still hot during the day… when it’s not raining of course.

    • It’s just a delight to sew, using contrasting trims and fabric add to the fun. I wanted to pipe this but the fabric is too light for the thicker seams. I was a little disappointed about the two sets of sizing. I’d love to make it for my girls but just can’t buy the same pattern twice!

  3. That little Oliver + S dress is soooo cute and I love all of the details! I wish I had a little girl to sew for – my 12 year old is way too cool for any type of cuteness. I can see why you would get so much wear out of your shirtdress. I’d love to fit one in somewhere in my long laundry list of ‘want to makes’. I’m almost finished with my Cordova jacket (just need to handsew the lining) and am very interested in how your jacket progresses. Happy anniversary!

  4. oh! MY little grinchy heart is bursting- it’s sooooo cute! It’s like a panda holding a tiny panda and they both have lollipops cute! Love the sash and the tab sleeves. Really adorable!!

  5. Cutest little dress I have seen in a long time! Yes, on the wedding dress. Just exactly how do you go about thread tracing? Are you holding it in your lap? Happy Anniversary!

    • I’ve kinda taken over the dining table and just have the fabric spread out. I’ve pinned down the pattern pieces and am tacking around them on the stitching line. I’m not sure if that’s perfectly correct but it seems to be working. I think it will make it easier to attach the pockets etc as I have traced them as well.

  6. Loving that dress! Today is the first day of Daylight savings (losing an hour) over here, so am huddling with my coffee and reading your blog to get my day rolling on an upbeat note. Thanks as always for the fun and the inspiration. Oh yes, wedding dress pics are always good! :)

    • So pleased to brighten up your morning, thank you. I will have to get organised and dig out the dress. I’ve been a dreadful bride – never even put my pictures into an album :-) still married though!

  7. Your post title scared me – I thought something had happened to the gingham shirtdress. (I’m easily fooled. :)) This little shirtdress could not be any cuter – wonderful choice of fabric and trims. I’d love to see your wedding dress! Has your style changed much in 13 years?

    • Yes I think my style has changed but not too much. It’s empire line and very simple. I’d love to think my girls would wear it one day – however few people do that and the eldest at 10 already comes up to my chin!

      • Forgive my ignorance about how television travels the world. There is a new show on the Learning Channel called Something Borrowed, Something New. One bride-to-be brings in a family gown and the designer re-purposes/re-fashions it (gorgeously, I might add); a stylist goes shopping and finds her something new that would be her own. The bride then chooses. I watch this because I love pretty things anyway, but I really love re-fashion. Perhaps with your sewing skills you might be able to do something like this for one of your girls when the time comes. :)

  8. I’ve always loved the Jump Rope Dress — one of my fave Oliver + S offerings. But now that I know the first size range only goes to 3, I think I’ll hold off on it for a couple of years. I’m already making size 2 for my daughter! Darling dress for a baby girl!

    • I love it because it’s cute without being impractical. Some little girls’ dresses are gorgeous but just not good for playing in – and hey, what kid doesn’t think that fun is the most important thing in life!

  9. Wow that is some selfless sewing Lizzy. It is completely cute and not at all twee I think and I can’t believe how tiny it is. You must have very nimble fingers.

    Oh the big trip is getting closer and closer and that jacket and cardi are going to be very cute too. Just make sure you get the 1/2″ seam allowance out of your head before stitching them lol.

    • It’s more amazing how fast it goes! I’ve got a bit more selfless sewing to go this year with a white dress for the daughter’s holy communion & a jacket (its in winter and cold – like 16 degrees LOL) and a jacket for my other daughter. Whew!

    • Oh that’s a hard one. Maybe four hours? I did fiddle & hand stitch the collar down, make the sleeves perfect etc and I kept getting interrupted by children wanting lunch, peeled apples etc!

  10. Late to the party as usual and everything’s already been said- Congratulations on the anniversary, the shirt dress is darling (awesome fabric pattern combo as usual-the heart shaped hanger totally sends it over the top XD) you are awesome.

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