Simplicity 8014 The Classic Shirt Dress

The belt really added a nice modern touch to the dress, animal print shoes, yes!
I've had this dress made for like two weeks and didn't get any photos taken.  I'm usually not busy on the weekends, but these last few have been busy and I didn't get my photos taken.   Ohh, then it was raining, I really could have taken pictures inside, but I want to be outside in the sunshine.

Dress without the belt, and it has pockets!!!

 I went through the instructions in my insta-stories on Instagram.  I think it was easier to show my frustration with some of the instructions because you can see them.  I didn't find any errors per say with the pattern or drafting, but then again, I'm not a trained technical drafter so I didn't see any obvious issues that I would be able to identify.  My family had jokes about the dress without the belt, the belt that came with the pattern was comical on me, not sure, maybe it's the fabric, but it did nothing for me. 

The conversations about the size of the pocket and where I originally placed them was hilarious.

I purchased this oxford shirting from Fabric Mart during my last visit (my only visit LOL) and it turned out super cute!  This is my wearable muslin and there isn't much I would change about this version other than using different instructions for a nicer collar and different fabric.

I recommend getting a library of sewing books, I went to my local library and checked some out so I could see which ones I liked.  I've said this before, but truthfully, where the instructions are lacking, it's good to have a resource to show you a technique or tips and tricks.  I'm a book person, I go there first and then I look for blogs, Youtube and magazines.  I have a specific learning style so I may have to try something a few times before I get it.  I'm also a big fan of reading through the instructions before you start so you'll know if there's something you're not familiar with before you start, I know not really fun, but worth it.  It's nothing like sitting down and getting half way through a project and your stumped on a technique and now your researching while trying to finish.

I always wondered why some bloggers would say " I didn't look at the instructions" or "I used my method for xyz technique".  With time and practice, you realize the order of things and the way you would like to approach a technique.  So, for a basic top or dress, it's pretty standard how to construct it if you've made 15 or 20 of them.  I personally have a way that I like to do pockets and mitered corners, I look at the instructions first to see if they are trying to teach me something new and what kind of outcome the design calls for.  After I go through the instructions, I say, Ok, I don't like that technique I can use my method.

Pattern Description:  
Vintage shirt dress pattern for miss and miss petite features full length dress with collar and long sleeves, knee length dress with slim or flared skirt, and mini dress with collar and shirt tail hem.

Photo:  Notice view D and the model, the dress is different.

SEWING LEVEL: Advance beginner ( collar, button holes, some steps not clear for certain views)
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  
Yes, however, I did not like the belt so I used a purchased belt.  Also, the line drawings and the model have different versions of the pattern on which can be confusing.  The model has on view d, view d's line drawings have one pocket and  no belt, the model has two pockets on her dress and a belt.  I don't see a problem per se, because it shows how versatile a pattern can be, but if you are looking at the envelope the pattern should be made up as drawn/ design and you can add somewhere in the instructions how to modify the pattern to get the look on the envelope.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  
I made view D with view C's hem.  They were ok to follow, but they leave a few things off.  If making view C and D, they refer you back to View A and B.  Just note the collar instructions you need and follow the illustrations, step 16 is for the wrong collar, the collar insturctions were mismatched for view C and D. 

The instructions do not tell you how to press the collar, you're clipping and grading the seam so I pressed toward the neckband. They also give a general recommendation on how to finish seams, I pinked my seams because I didn't want to serge my seam allowances for my muslin.

There are no instructions on how to do a mitered corner for the unlined patch pocket, I used my Reader's Digest sewing book and I got a nice crisp mitered corner, here's a similar tutorial from Nancy Zeiman.  That was frustrating to me that the instructions did not give instructions on how to do that, someone who's never quilted or sewn before might have an issue with a good process for this.

The front of the shirt has an all in one facing and band for buttons and buttonholes.  Along the center front they tell you to fold for interfacing and then fold again for the facing.  However, the instructions do not tell you to interface this area, I interfaced along the edge designated for the interfacing.  To help keep my lines straight, I sewed down the pressed edge for the interfacing and facing giving me a good guide when pressing and top stitching the bands down.

I'm sure I didn't catch everything, but these were the most obvious and what I wrote down.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?  
I like the classic shirt dress silhouette, I like the neck ,length and sleeve variations and I like the skirt variations.  I like the back gathered yoke and I like the shoulder placement.  I typically make a forward shoulder adjustment and with this pattern, it wasn't necessary.  Dislikes are with the instructions more so than the pattern itself, it leaves a few things out which could effect the outcome if you're not familiar with the techniques.  I think adding instructions on how to add loops for belt carriers would be nice as an option but this is just something that would be nice to have.

Fabric Used:
Cotton oxford shirting

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  
I cut a 22,  and graded up at the bust, it had lots of ease and the armhole looked good.  I normally would do a"Y"  FBA to avoid making the dart bigger, but for my muslin it looked ok. .  I lowered the bust dart about an inch.  I graded the hip out three inches total bring the pattern to the size 24 and slightly larger than 24 in the hip.  I did bicep adjustment, I didn't do a sway back adjustment because I thought with the added width at the hip I would have enough ease in back.

I adjusted the pattern for my hip using the seam allowance method, I cut along the seam allowance on the front and back pattern pieces at the side seam and added tissue for my adjustment.  This method keeps the side seam curves the same and should have less distortion.  I saw this technique in a pattern alterations book but can also be seen here in Threads magazine.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and yes I would recommend this with modifications to the instructions.  I think familiarizing yourself with the techniques used in the instructions and realizing the instructions may not include everything will mitigate frustrations and give you a quality garment.  I've already modified this pattern and photographed it, hopefully next week I'll have the blog post up.

My family said this dress looks like a house dress when worn without the belt, my fabric choice did not lend itself to a wow factor, I will agree.  However, I wanted to try the shirt dress in a oxford shirting and yeah, the yellow is not necessarily my color, but I like it.  What say you, does this look like a house dress?


  1. Your belt really makes the dress work. Liking the pocket size and placement 😉 I thought about buying this pattern when you started working on it but realize that I have a McCalls pattern that's similar so expect me to copy you some time this summer!

    Oh and yes experienced bloggers do know when and where to use techniques that work for them. And I learned to sew so long ago that I was taught a pattern instruction sheet was a guide not an instruction I'm always amazed when newbies follow it word for word.

    Glad you've come up with a process to make it work for you! Finally, are you starting to build your own sewing library?

    1. Yes on the library, the techniques are much better in the books and the go into the whys in the book.. This is why learning to sew (traditional classroom by professional ) is good but most are self taught and never formally trained so, we really aren’t taught the techniques and when to apply them.

  2. Love the dress with the belt! Pockets are perfectly placed with the belted height, too.

  3. Last time I checked, a house dress was in the muumuu family. Yours doesn't qualify. You styled it in a very casual and chic way with the belt. I have this is on my list of shirt dress to sew this summer. Thanks for the heads up about the directions. I can't wait to see your next one!

  4. I love the belt with the dress! It looks so nice! And I like your process as it relates to sewing instructions. I still hate to go rogue because I trust the pattern drafter, lol! I am learning it is ok to veer off at times.

    1. Yes, it’s ok to veer off, sometimes they don’t tell you everything! Thank you!

  5. Hey girl! Looking good. I love how you styled this dress with the belt. I can't believe no FBA. I need to bump this one up on the list to make. Anytime I can cut to the chase is a plus. ;-)

  6. Really cute.. I love the pattern. Happy sewing


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