top of page
  • Writer's pictureCraft Cotton Co

'Petal & Pip' Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress

Project by Bernadette Wainwright

You will need:

  • Fabric as per the pattern. I used Roses from The Crafty Lass Petal & Pip range, 100% organic Cotton, also suitable would be cotton lawn, seersucker, rayon and crepe.

  • Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress Pattern

  • Bosal Lightweight Fusible Interfacing

  • 9 x 16mm Self Cover Buttons

  • Sewing Machine and Basic Sewing Kit


The minute I saw this stunning fabric from Paula, A.K.A. The Crafty Lass, produced by The Craft Cotton Company I knew it would be perfect for a shirt dress but which one? I felt the design of the fabric was quite retro and therefore the Vintage Shirt Dress from Sew Over It would be a perfect match.

Step-by-step instructions:

All seams are 5/8” or 1.5cms unless otherwise stated.

Before starting the project, gather all your supplies and have a quick read through all the instructions just to familiarise yourself with the terminology. I always like to wash and iron my dressmaking fabric to minimise any shrinkage and ensure it is flat and easy to work with. You would be amazed with the difference in size a few creases can make.

This dress is quite short but I wanted a longer version so increased the overall length by 3”. I also wanted to alter the sleeve as we are coming into summer so I reduced the sleeve length to just above the elbow and added a smaller cuff. Finally the pattern calls for quite a wide fabric but I really wanted to use “Roses” so I reduced the amount of flare in the skirt. All of these alterations can be seen in the photos.

1. Follow the cutting guide as per the pattern. When lengthening a pattern piece, cut the pattern along the “shorten/length” cutting line

2. Add a piece of paper beneath the pattern tissue and carefully Sellotape. I like to use Swedish Tracing Paper for this. Draw in the lines to make sure you are keeping the grain straight. Write on the alteration made. Remember to make the alteration on ALL corresponding pieces, front back AND facings.

3. To alter the sleeve length, draw a straight line 2” longer than the desired finished length on the pattern piece. Remember to widen it slightly at the hem to allow for turning. Cut.

4. The final alterations was to reduce the flare in the skirt. I simply folded over the same amount on each side seam to the width I wanted, ending at the same point on each panel.

5. Transfer all markings, the position of the pleats, buttonholes and buttons before removing the pattern tissue with either tailor’s tacks or the method of your choice.

6. I found this pattern really easy to use and understand. I neatened all of the seams with an over locker but a zig zag stitch would work just as well.

7. Follow steps 1 through to step 6 remembering to press all the seams as you go along in the direction instructed.

8. Now I know stay stitching may seem boring but it really is worth doing, it stops the fabric from stretching out of shape and is done within the seam allowance so is not seen on the right side. Complete the skirt sections 8 & 9.

9. Attach the skirt to the bodice as instructed matching all the seams and pleats. Press.

10. Apply the interfacing following the manufactures’ instructions to the collar and complete through to point 14. Note that not all of the notches match at this stage.

11. Complete the facing from points 15 to 18, take your time as the finishing of the outer edge is quite long.

12. Attach the facing to the dress following points 19 through to 27. If there are any tacking stitches visible, carefully unpick. When clipping into the curved seams be careful, again this is a fiddly job but worth it as it enables the collar to lie flat when turned. Grading the seam allowance also helps with this and reduces the bulk of the seam.

13. Under stitching is another process which makes such a difference to the end result. This stops the facing from rolling to the outside and gives a professional finish. Press, point 28

14. Complete the sleeves, points 29 to 32.

15. As I altered the length of the sleeve and just wanted a small cuff, I overlocked at the hem of each sleeve, turned up 2” and sewed at the base of the overlocking, then pressed. I then turned the sleeve the right way out, folded up the cuff by 7/8” and pressed in place, this just covers the sewing. I then handstitched the cuff as in point 35

16. Insert the sleeve, point 36. If not overlocking, re-enforce the seam between the two bottom notches with a second row of stitching. Beaten the sleeve seam point 37

17. Complete the hem as per the instructions. I love hand sewing so this was a joy for me but you can machine stitch if you wish.

18. Mark the buttonholes on the right hand side of the dress using the tailors tacks as your guide. Follow the instructions as per points 47 and 48 I have done an easy to follow reel on my Instagram page @littlemissdressco showing how to complete the buttonholes and also how to make self-covered buttons which I feel adds that perfect final touch to your unique handmade dress.

To see more from Bernadette follow her on Instagram @littlemissdressco and Facebook @LittleMissDressCo.

Made by Bernadette Wainwright for The Craft Cotton Co 2022.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page