When I first started sewing for myself, I used to upcycle my husband’s shirts. I’d start by removing the pockets and then cutting out the collars. For a really long time, I actually saved all those collars because their construction was quite intriguing! How one went about achieving a crisp collar with such a neat finish on both the inside and outside was beyond me. And how exactly did the shirt, collar stand and the collar come together? I did unpick one collar one time to try and understand what was going on but that didn’t go very far.
Fast forward three years and I am sewing for myself a fitted shirt dress with plackets, darts and a collar – a crisp and beautifully finished collar. It never gets old, that feeling of accomplishment when you have conquered yet another milestone, does it? So here I am, sharing another small triumph in my sewing journey with you – The Chai Shirt and Dress!
If you’ve seen my earlier blog posts on Itch to Stitch patterns (Arenal Top, Newport Top and Anza Dress) you know how much I admire Kennis’s patterns. Not only are her designs tasteful, but her drafting skills are extremely refined and professional.
The Chai Shirt and Dress is yet another amazing Itch to Stitch Pattern. It is a classic fit and flare button down shirt dress, with a full placket and collar. A fitted waistband, along with gathered bust darts make this pattern both elegant and unique.
The pattern already comes with pattern pieces for different cup sizes, so the only minor fit adjustment I made was shortening the bodice by 2″. On hindsight, I feel like shortening it by 1.5″ might have been enough because the waistband ended up a tiny bit higher than the intended design, not that it would stop me from wearing it 🙂
Kennis’s instructions are as always beautifully detailed and well-illustrated. Sewing the collar was as effortless as sewing the sleeves or hemming the dress. In fact, I hadn’t even realized till I’d finished sewing most of the dress that I had seamlessly tackled what are usually considered the intimidating steps in sewing a shirt dress. That says much about the quality of the tutorial! It might have been helped by the fact that I was able to get in three uninterrupted hours of sewing without little people’s constant demands for food and entertainment.
For quite some time, I have been meaning to try this Tencel fabric that has been popping up everywhere, so when i came across this Tencel Chambray from La Finch Fabrics, I ordered it and immediately found use for it in the form of my new Chai Dress. I am happy to report that not only is this fabric lovely in texture and drape, it is also easy to work with. Usually nice drape equals hard to align grainlines and shifty fabrics, but this one is neither. It was incredibly easy to work with!
The Chai Dress is currently on sale until the end of this week. If you have been considering a shirt dress, this is an incredibly great pattern to start with. Don’t let the collar or the buttonholes intimidate you! Check out all the gorgeous tester Chai Dresses and Tops here.
*If you buy the pattern through one of my affiliate links, I get a small percentage of the sale at no additional cost to you and you will help support my blogging adventure. Thank you.