Sew the look: A denim shirtdress


It’s Spring, the perfect time for shirt dresses. There’s nothing easier to wear when the weather’s warm than a simple dress, and if it’s made from denim…well, that’s even better!! Here are some of the shirt dresses that inspired me this Spring.

First up…Burberry’s version. Perfect in dark denim, with princess seams and topstitching. burberry-brit-dark-indigo-pippi-denim-shirtdress-blue-product-0-002385459-normal

Made well’s version is waistless and the denim looks so soft and comfy.


This one from Chanel has tucks at the waist. The skirt is so cool…it’s an overlay, or is it a drop waist, or…well..I’m not sure? Love the puffy sleeves and the printed denim. I would die for this dress.


Here’s mine…Straight cut, princess seams. I need the Chanel shoes with it, don’t you think?IMG_8737For my dress, I used McCall’s 6124, a classic shirt pattern that I used to make Alexa’s corduroy dress here. I love this pattern because it has princess seams, a classic collar with a band, and two-piece sleeves with cuffs; all the timeless design elements I want in a shirt dress.  Honestly though, there are other cool patterns out there too. For my next shirt dress, I’ll try a flared version like Simplicity 8014, Or McCalls 6696. All of those are in my queue, waiting for the perfect fabric to reveal itself.


My fabric is 5 oz denim from Joann’s (Is it just me, or has that store upped their game lately with more natural fibers and on-trend fabrics?). This fabric has enough body to support the dresses’s structural elements like the pockets, collar and cuffs, but it has a soft feel too, and just the tiniest bit of lycra….which makes this close-fitting dress pretty comfortable to wear.

The details...

  • I added (2) 6″inch self drafted pockets with flaps to the front. I gave them a bit of a pointy edge this time, just for fun! I interfaced the flaps and added functional buttons too (no I will not be stashing money or car keys or my cell in those pockets, but nice to know I could if I wanted to :)).
  • I double top-stitched the dress using topstitching thread. Here’s my latest top-stitching process. To get the distance I wanted between the two rows, I lined up my trusty #57 presser foot (patchwork seam foot) with the seam for the first row. For the second row, I move the needle three clicks to the left of the first row to position it for the second row.I used topstitching thread in gold, and a stitch length of 3.  Love that #57 presser foot (pictured here) I could not have done all of this topstitching without it!

Question though…I used regular thread in the bobbin as my machine groaned when I tried topstitching thread there. Not sure if other’s have that problem?

  • I used bronze jeans buttons that you punch into the fabric. (Fun!!!)
  • I used french seams throughout to keep the insides looking crisp.
  • IMG_8733

Besides being comfortable, the 5 oz. denim has an added benefit. It didn’t wrinkle ever after I wore it all day!

IMG_8742Yes, it’s Spring, but it’s still cold and rainy outside, so these photos were taken indoors (sigh), but my furry friend quite likes the routine now.

This dress took a bit of time (top-stitching is like that, isn’t it?) but I think it’s a dress I’ll wear a lot, especially since I made a topper to go with it just last week. Hmmm…the word capsule keeps coming into my mind….

Sometime this Spring, I would love to make a drop-waist shirt dress like the Chanel I showed above, but how? Does anyone have pattern suggestions for that?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!


26 thoughts on “Sew the look: A denim shirtdress

  1. that’s a lovely shirt dress, it’s my favourite sort of dress for all year round actually and denim is perfect fabric choice. You have done a great job with the topstitching,it must have taken you quite a long time to do it. I have used only ones top stitching thread and like you I didn’t use it in the bobin, I didt that mainly because I didn’t have much thread but the result was good so….

    1. Thanks! Yea, top stitching takes a while but I find it relaxing, how weird am I? Good point. If I’d used top stitching thread in the bobbin, I would likely have gone through a lot of thread!

  2. No, I think your booties are perfect 🙂
    What a great dress. Works as a dress and will also work as a jacket over jeans.

    1. Thanks! Yeah, the Burberry dress would work in my closet too (sigh) but then there’s that money thing…I love how they added those tucks (?) that go down the bodice part way, stopping at the skirt. I’d love it if someone would come up with a pattern like that or maybe there is one already? Maybe a Marfy:)

  3. Your topstitching🙌👏🙌! Amazing! Love the princess seams on this dress. I cant really tell but the Chanel looks like a skirt and top? Try Lekala they have quite a few interesting options. Hila x

  4. Oh my happy topstitching goodness! You couldn’t have picked a better inspiration than Burberry–they do so well with crisp clean styles like this. I’ve gotta wait a few months before I cut into my denim stash, but thanks for reminding me about Burberry! You’ve got a great dress for Spring.

    1. Thanks! Topstitching is one of those things that i can get so obsessed with 🙂 enjoy perusing the Burberry lovelies. Every time I look, I get a new idea for a project!!

  5. Love your denim dress! The topstitching is impeccable. Your dress looks very much like the Burberry one without the cost. The fit looks great.

    1. Thanks! A topstitching kindred spirit! Yes, I love my special foot. I hope you’re right, that I’ll get a chance to wear the dress and topper soon. Our spring days have been so cold, I had to pull out my heavy down coat and Revert to my heavy jeans. So hard to finish something and have it just hang in the closet. But soon…

  6. When I look at the Chanel dress, I see a top and skirt. Seems the top has pleats and the bottom of the shirt expands to the same width as the skirt at that point, creating the design line of a dress. at least that’s how I would make it. What do you think?

    1. I see what you mean. If you drafted a top and then gave it a drop waist skirt that followed the line of the shirt… Hmmmm, wheels turning. If only Karl would comment, and give us the scoop!!

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