V1220: June’s Meadow Shirt Dress

Continuing on from 2017 being the year of the shirt, perhaps 2018 will be the year of the shirt dress?

There’s always been a gap in my wardrobe for a work appropriate dress suitable for really hot days. This gap has now been filled, and very much in the nick of time too – as it’s been a warm summer.

I cut a size 14 to muslin, just over a year ago. But I couldn’t get the front button plackets to even meet across the front (let along overlap!) – quick was the realisation that I’d need to wait until I finished breastfeeding before I tackled this… Seriously, boobage volume whilst breastfeeding is insane. Sure enough when I tried my year old muslin on just before Christmas in 2017, it fit.

Well, sort of.

My muslin showed I needed to drop the waist a good 5cm and the skirt length raised about 2 cm.  It does appear to be very short-torso in the bodice. And if I was really honest – it possibly needed a full bust adjustment. Enough significant changes to warrant a second muslin, rather than just tweaking with the fit on this one.

Except when I went back to look at the pattern pieces – it actually has the waist marked 4cm below the waist seam – so this high waist was intentional, and I left that change off, just altering the hem length accordingly (although since wearing it a few times, I now wish I hadn’t messed with the hem length!).

I ended up not doing an FBA (even after partially making my way through the instructions by Cennetta from Mahogany Stylist, which are excellent – btw – especially as I find such fitting alterations to be beyond my mental capacity since becoming a parent, so having her pictures was pure gold). After spending a few hours wearing my muslin around the house, I decided it would do. It obviously doesn’t have the ease across the bust that is evident in other people’s makes, but I can live with it.

I love the hidden button placket – my buttons are from Buttonmania. Another-post-them-in-a-sample-of-fabric-to-match-buttons too job. I’m really pleased with the match, even though they’re for the main part hidden from view!

The buttons perfectly match the print’s background blue-grey, although every photo I took makes them look like a completely different shade!

That neckline is a lovely detail, with pleats emanating from the centre back seam, and sitting around the front of your neck in a similar fashion to a shawl collar. I found that the bit of fabric folded under really needed to be tacked down to the underside as far up as you can possible go, to maintain a nice shape at the front. The three pleats are tricky to seam match – I figured 2 out of 3 was perfectly reasonable!

I had originally intended on sewing this up with a Liberty cotton tana lawn in the yellow floral Claire-Aude ‘D’ print. Coming from a revolving wardrobe palette of blues and greys, this felt risky, and not in a good way. I justified the risk by wanting to use up a stash fabric and this was the only thing both suitable and lengthy enough for this pattern. Which takes up some 3 meters of fabric!

I rather wish I had had the ‘C’ variation of this in my stash instead – this is far more in my comfort zone than the yellow. I reckon I pull off the yellow ok-ish, but it’s not amazing. And certainly when it comes to getting photos – the light has to be perfect to actually convey that. Otherwise it does have the tendancy to wash me out a wee bit.

But just before cutting, nerves got the better of me, and I ditched the yellow, and bought a different Liberty – June’s Meadow, in the grey colourway. Which was frustrating because it meant having to wait for it to arrive in the post! I at least managed to start on a muslin for my next project…. This fabric is far more in the comfort zone, and highly unlikely to make me look washed out.

Funny thing with this fabric – IRL I don’t see the pattern repeat of it, but every time I see it in a photo, the repeat really jumps out at me! Funny how photos can change what our eyes are immediately drawn to.

The tana lawn has been underlined with organza, because I think this is a pattern that really benefits from a fabric with body to really highlight the shaping – hence why I suppose the recommended fabrics are broadcloth and linen. Organza underlining obviously delivers that in spades.

Interestingly, Susan mentioned to me during January’s-just-past-class that Australian organza is really smooth – too smooth – which isn’t ideal for underlining as it’s not ‘grippy’ enough. Since then I’ve worked with both types and I’d agreed – but it sure does work well for underlining if you’re not planning to line your garment – and no way was I intending to bother with that for this. I’d also just gone halvies in a bolt of organza with Sarah, so I’ll be using it up regardless!

The pattern lists only 150cm wide fabric as the option (requiring a 2.7m length), presumably so you can cut the belt in a continuous piece. Liberty is around the 136cm mark, and I managed this pattern with bang on 3m. My belt is cut in 3 pieces – intentionally, so that the two seams in the belt line up with the side seams of the dress, keeping the illusion of a continuous length. Probably not something that really matters in a busy print such as this, but in my mind’s eye whilst I was dreaming it up, it mattered. It’s a huuuuuge belt though… and in my mind definitely requires’ wrapping it around 1.5 times (which is how you see it on me in this post) – the mid-point of the tie is lined up with my centre front.

The belt is 2.4m long – so thank goodness it’s wide enough to fit your hand in to turn it around!

The location of the pockets in this dress are just fabulous – bang on – but the pocket bag definitely needed additional room so I could have my whole hand in there. Even after adding additional length, I wish I had also added additional width. But, I do love that they just melt into the shape of the dress without detracting from the silhouette. And their angling makes it super easy to get your hands in.

Which is the main reason I’ve had this pattern floating around the top of my to-sew list for several years now – it achieves great shape, without being form fitting. There’s plenty of room to move, but it’s not a sack dress.

I also just LOVE the hem facing. Such a lovely way to finish things off. And that the hem is ever-so slightly curved into a hi-lo, but not that you’d notice when it’s on.

Two problems with the design though – it 100% needs to be worn with a skirt slip. I wear it with the last two buttons undone (because I like to stride – and quickly! – and this means it doesn’t strain much when I’m sitting, as the skirt is pegged) – but it means everyone is going to get a significant view of your underwear when you sit. So after wearing it once, I also made a slip skirt (that sounds a little more modern and less fuddy-duddy than a petticoat, doesn’t it?) in a pale grey silk. One Problem solved.

The other problem – I suspect I ballsed the instructions for the sleeve – the way I read them, it had you fold the sleeve cuffs over, meaning the wrong side of your fabric is on display…. no thanks! But no other review mentions this so perhaps I just messed up interpreting the instructions. So I sort of did a wierd origami thing to make that not the case. If I had my time over again, I’d sew separate cuffs I think.

Otherwise, I’m well pleased with it :) And even better, I wore it first to a 2nd round job interview on a scorching hot day – and I totally got the new job :D



  1. Firstly, huzzah for new job! Go kick some more butt!
    And secondly, this is a fabulous fabric and frock match! I really love the structure of the Liberty underlining.
    And I may have just secured a copy of this pattern on eBay – this would be seriously glorious in linen for work!

    1. Yep, the organza does wonders for that lovely soft and lightweight Liberty :) And you’re on the same wavelength as me, I very nearly did sew this up in Linen instead! I think it would work amazingly well in that fibre :) I look forward to seeing your version of this pattern!

  2. Beautiful dress! Love the shape on you and underlining the whole thing in organza under that lovely cotton lawn- it must feel a dream to wear. Congratulations on your new job!

  3. Fabulous dress and congratulations on the new job. I love that fabric and have it in navy. The pattern repeat often surprises me with Liberty.
    What an excellent idea to underline the Liberty with silk organza. Where did you get a whole roll from?

    1. Oh, Navy! That would be just lovely as a colourway :) I went halvies with Sarah – who used to own the online shop SewSquirrel, so she’s still got the wholesale contacts… lucky me!

  4. Congrats, this is a lovely dress on you, in a really beautiful fabric. Thank you for the detailed review-this is also in my pattern list. Do you think this pattern might also be suitable for a knit with body? Obviously the silhouette would be somewhat changed… abbey

    1. Certainly, I think it would. In fact, I believe one of the fabric recommendations was actually a stretch of somekind, although I can’t recall exactly what. Maybe it was a woven stretch. Any kind of stable knit would be so lovely to wear as well, although you would have to watch for bulkiness in the hidden placket at the front, perhaps? And perhaps it would benefit from an actual belt, rather than an obi tie like this. It would all come down to the fabric in the end! Thanks, Abbey :)

  5. Congratulations on the new job! Hope it all goes well.

    I think you were right to change fabrics. It would have looked good in the yellow, but in the yellow I think you would only wear it now and then, whereas the grey will work on more occasions.

    And now you can do something fun with the yellow!

    It looks like it was a tricky sew, but once again, you have pulled out an amazing sew.

    1. Thanks Katherine :) Couldn’t agree more re the fabric. So much more wearable than the yellow, I’m glad I switched. I originally had the yellow print designated for the Closet Case Files Carolyn PJ’s, so it’s back in that frame of mind now! :)

  6. This looks wonderful and perfect for hot weather work wear. I agree with you that the gray colorway works better and probably is a more wearable business look. Congrats on nailing the interview and your new job.

  7. It looks wonderful on you. I actually like the more fitted bust (and I’m totally with you on the bust breastfeeding thing, it’s crazy).
    I muslined this pattern maybe 6 years ago when was introduced, but decided not to make it. I couldn’t find the right fabric and my sewing skills weren’t up to it. After seeing it on you I reconsider it, I love the skirt shape and the clevage.

    1. Definitely give it a whirl! It’s a beautiful pattern and when you break down the instructions step by step, quite simple. The two tricky parts to get a nice finish on (the right angle corners!) both end up being hidden by other parts of the dress, so you can take the chance on them ;) Thank you so much!

  8. First, hurray for the new job! I’m sure you got the job entirely on your own merits, but this lovely dress surely was a supporting actress!
    I know exactly what you mean about seeing things differently in a photo. I often take a photo if I’m trying to visualize something, just to see what the camera says. It’s so helpful, but I’m not sure why!
    Oh yes, the gray fabric is just lovely!

    1. Thanks Karen :D if only it was that easy to score your most-wanted job! I also do that sometimes – there is one blouse that I muslined up a while ago that I had a horrible reaction to in the mirror, but I snapped a pic. And a few months later I came across that same picture, and I was trying to remember what made me react so badly the first time! I couldn’t see it… It makes me appreciate just how amazing our eyes/brain is, for all the work it does we take for granted!

  9. Congratulations on the new job. Your dress is lovely. It is interesting to hear how you have changed the hand of the fabric with the organza, I love to use tana lawn but would never have thought of changing it to a linen-like drape.

    1. Yes I’m an absolute addict for underlining now. It really opens up the world of fabric choices for garments you’d otherwise not pair a particular fabric with! Thank you :)

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