Shirtdress in black, white, red tartan

white/black/red tartan short dress, front view

As part of my process of refining my Dress Shop measurements set, I made another garment, this time, a shirtdress. The pattern used was “Dresses/Unfitted/Shirtdress” and is one of the Dress Shop Quick Start patterns, which is of course also included in the higher-end versions, Dress Shop Deluxe and Dress Shop Pro.

I chose a pattern that does not depart much from a close-fitting sheath. The minimal ease of the pattern makes fitting issues easier to observe, thus making it easier to fine tune my measurements in Dress Shop. The pattern is listed in the “Unfitted” folder, but its “fit” can be set to any of five fits, ranging from “form fitted” to “unfitted”. I chose “standard fit”, the next looser fit up from “form fitted”.

I found a heavy cotton flannel from Jo-Ann in a great tartan of white, black, and red. The fabric’s tartan most resembles a MacPherson of Cluny tartan. It’s slightly heavier weight than top weight, perfect for fall, winter, and fall wear down here in Texas, where we have two seasons, summer, and slightly-cooler 🙂 .

(BTW, do you know the difference between a “plaid” and a “tartan”? According to Scot Meacham Wood, all plaids and tartans are comprised of stripes that meet at a 90-degree angle, but “with most every tartan, the pattern on the stripes running vertically is exactly duplicated [my emphasis] on the horizontal axis“.)

white/black/red tartan short dress, front view white/black/red tartan short dress, front view white/black/red tartan short dress, 3/4 right back view white/black/red tartan short dress, 3/4 left back view white/black/red tartan short dress, right side view white/black/red tartan short dress, back view

As expected, the stripe matching was a lot of work. I cut each piece separately, matching the pattern of a just-cut piece to the succeeding adjoining piece. Also as expected, I goofed in cutting and had to make one additional trip to get some more of the same fabric! Of course, the new piece of fabric had to be washed and tumble dried and ironed before I can cut it, taking even more time!

The mistake was that because I worked my way through the bodice pieces, right front, right back, left back, left front, matching the pattern of each piece to the succeeding piece, by the time I get to the left front piece, in addition to matching the pattern at the left side seam, I forgot to also match up the pattern at center front! One would think that the center front would autimatically match up, but not so, because fabrics can and do skew diagonally. I did make sure to “true” my fabric beforehand, but with fabrics of a looser weave, there is the possibility of localized distortion. The lesson here is to, well, pay attention! 🙂

The match of sleeves to bodice in front turned out great:
white/black/red tartan shirtdress, closer-up front view
but not so much in the back, because matching the sleeves’ dot up to the shoulder seam rotated the sleeve a bit such that the pattern is off a bit in the back:
white/black/red tartan shirtdress, closer-up back view
For next time, I might try rotating the sleeves a bit when cutting them, so the pattern matches both the front and back bodice. Of course, the pattern will no longer run parallel the sleeve’s axis but slightly off. I wonder what that would feel like visually…