As far as I am concerned, there are only two seasons: from March to August, it’s gingham season, and from September to February it’s time for plaid flannel! By the way, have you ever noticed that buffalo plaid is basically gingham‘s evil twin? White buffalo plaid or black gingham, it might be the most controversial question since the color of “the dress”… But anyway let’s get back to my new shirtdress!
I found this plaid flannel at Toto tissus in Toulouse, when I was staying in France at the end of 2016. I wasn’t necessarily loving the color palette – for some reason the mix of blue with this kind of faded black reads a little sad to me – but it’s pretty hard to find plaid flannel in France, especially soft one, and it was right in the middle of autumn so I snatched it without hesitation.
Since I’m starting to have a nice collection of plaid shirts, I felt like changing things up and going with a shirtdress instead. I had wanted to sew McCall’s M6696, a favorite of the online sewing community that I’ve had in my pattern stash for years but still haven’t made. Except I had left my stash behind in the US, and I only had access to my PDF patterns, safely stored in the cloud… as well as the whole catalog of Deer&Doe patterns (one of the benefits of working for a sewing patterns brand!).
So I chose to go with the Bruyère shirt, that I had already sewn in plaid flannel for the Deer&Doe blog, and is really easy to fit with its darted bodice. I simply lengthened the skirt so that it would hit just above my knee and straightened the hem.
I thought I would also replace the sleeves of the Bruyère pattern with the 3/4 sleeves from the Hoya blouse, which feature a sleeve tab, so I shortened them, but in the end I didn’t attach the sleeve tab. The length of the sleeves as is is okay, but I mainly wear them rolled up above the elbow (which of course I forgot to do for the pictures, but the wrinkles are there to back up my story!).
When sewing with plaid, I really enjoy trying to improve my plaid-matching skills with each project. For this dress, rather than “cheating” as I usually do with putting the button band on the bias, I cut it on the grain and matched it to both the bodice and skirt. The vertical lines of the plaid are also matched between the bodice and skirt, and I even did okay matching the sleeves to the bodice.
This fabric is really nice to wear as well, it’s brushed on one side and I sewed it with the brushed side on the inside. This means the fabric is super soft against the skin, but the outside looks a little neater and I think it will pile less. Since I wear my flannels quite often in cold weather I try to take good care of them – I wash them cold and never ever put them in the dryer – but flannel is still a fabric that ages quickly and I think this dress will age better than double-brushed fabrics.
Despite all this… I find this dress a little “meh”. Actually, after I cut into the fabric and started sewing it, I stopped just before sewing the button bands and just left it aside for over a year. I like it in theory: the fit is great and I think that Bruyère is a pattern that really works with my body type, with the darts in the bodice and pleats in the skirt. I am used to wearing blue, black, plaid and shirtdresses, but I don’t know, I’m just very underwhelmed here.
Maybe this lack of enthusiasm is partly due to the season: when Fall starts, I usually have a boost of energy and I get super excited at the thought of putting my summer clothes in storage and taking out my lumberjack shirts. But right now I have to be honest, after months of dreadful Boston winter with below-freezing temperatures, I can’t stand the sight of them. It might look like I was having fun, but trust me, taking these pictures under the freezing rain was a bit of a pain! I want my Goji shorts back! And I guess I’ll just wait for next autumn to enjoy wearing this dress…
Bruyère – Deer&Doe
Size 38 / 36 1/2 / 40 1/2
Skirt lengthened and sleeves shortened
Cotton flannel – Toto tissus