Inspired by all the lovely Kalles out there, and by this lovely number from Self Assembly Required, and given a kick up the backside by the #sewtogetherforsummer challenge, I decided to make myself a shirtdress with a modern silhouette using the Melilot pattern as a base.
I bought the toile de jouy fabric ages ago from Brixton’s Simply Fabrics and think I might have originally planned to use it for an Elisalex, before deciding I didn’t need another black on white print version of the same dress. It was cheap stuff - about £4 a metre - so I didn’t mind sacrificing it for this experiment. On the minus side, it is a little stiff, but as a bonus I decided to skip interfacing the collar and stand and the button band, and it seemed to work out OK.
As you might have guessed by the name, the shirtdress is a mash-up of the Melilot Shirt and Alex Shirtdress (from the My Capsule Wardrobe City Break collection from Sew Over It). I literally cut off the dress section of the Alex and lined it up with the bottom of the Melilot to where it looked right and winged it with a little spare paper in back to fill in any gaps.
I think it works reasonably well when the dress is belted, as the skirt portion of the Alex has quite an A-line shape that kicks out from the hips which looks a little weird unbelted (I might have lined up the hips too low when mashing the patterns together).
With a belt the flaring gets hitched up to the right place, but in the stiff fabric it still wants to fold in on itself a little bit. In future versions I’d probably skim a fair bit off each side seam for the skirt portion (taking a note of where it naturally wants to fall) and perhaps raise the side slits to ensure that my stride wasn’t affected. But for now, the shape and length works for me and I like the hi-lo shirttail shape to the skirt, so I’m pretty pleased with the experiment!
Another change I’ve thought about incorporating is to alter the back of the Melilot to include a yoke and a box pleat - although I’m not sure how this’d work with the cut-on sleeves. This is basically making it even more like the Kalle - so if I wasn’t so stubbornly cheap I might have just bit the bullet and bought that pattern to reduce the workload. Having said that, I think there’s something to be gained from experimenting, hacking and tweaking that builds skills and confidence and forces you to think about the elements you like and how to achieve them with the best results.
Thanks for reading, I have more Melilot-related makes to share soon (it may have been an expensive pattern but one that I have certainly got good use out of!).