Challis shirtdress: My new favorite.

by Evie on June 2, 2014 · 18 comments

in 1940s,Dresses,Vintage Sewing

I made myself a new everyday dress. It’s from a mail order pattern I’ve had in my collection for a while. I don’t have an exact date on the pattern, but it looks like a very early 40s design. It’s Anne Adams 4811. I wanted to make something a little different than most of what I have in my current wardrobe, and this softer styled shirtdress was just what I was looking for. The rayon challis print that I used for it makes for an incredibly light, comfortable summer dress.

I interfaced the collar and front facings to keep the edges nice and crisp and support the buttons/buttonholes in this fairly limp-bodied fabric, and the drape and feel of the whole dress is wonderful. I ended up needing to grade all the seams in at the waist, as well as grading them in slightly over the bust and through the shoulders. The pattern as is was surprisingly rectangular, despite the very shapely envelope illustration. I’m very happy with the final fit of the dress. The only other real change I made was to shift the bust gathers up about 1.5 inches (as some of you may have seen in my query from not too long ago). The original position of the gathers was ridiculously and unflatteringly low, even if it had been an earlier 1930s, droopy chested dress. Moving them up made a HUGE difference to the overall look of the dress. I actually wasn’t sure how much I was going to like it once I started assembling the pieces, but now that it’s finished I honestly think it might be my new favorite dress. I kind of want to make three more.

 This dress will definitely be getting a lot of wear this summer and into the fall. It’s nice to have something with a slightly different silhouette than most of my other clothes, and the colors make me really happy. I’ve got enough of the fabric left for another project, and I think I may whip up some sort of 1930s style Hooverette, or maybe another version of my other favorite dresses:


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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Erika C June 2, 2014 at 4:50 pm

How pretty!


Miss Crayola Creepy June 2, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Oh man, this is stunning!!!


Evie June 3, 2014 at 11:22 am



Katherine June 2, 2014 at 8:48 pm

Really pretty! You made it on to the WeSewRetro facebook page:


Evie June 3, 2014 at 11:22 am

Cool! Thank you!


Joni June 3, 2014 at 7:54 am

I’ve got some of that fabric in my stash too! Haven’t decided yet what to make with it…


modistegirl June 3, 2014 at 2:30 pm

I love this, what a great choice of print too.


Lore June 3, 2014 at 3:27 pm

That is just stunning. Love the aqua with the bold print, paired with the red belt. Flashy! Looks like a high-quality rayon, too. And the work you put into it really shows: it’s absolute quality!


Samantha Jo June 3, 2014 at 4:59 pm

What are the pattern name/numbers of your two other favorite dresses? they are stunning! i think i need one of each!


Deb June 3, 2014 at 6:41 pm

What she just said! Love them all, but that’s the other pattern name/number?


Evie June 4, 2014 at 7:02 pm

Thank you! I actually drafted that pattern myself, with minor alterations between the two versions. The top is a very basic bodice cut on the straight of grain (adapted from a 1930s drafting book), and the skirt pieces are cut on the bias, with a full circle flounce attached (plus a circular ruffle at the neckline of the black/pink one).


Bella June 4, 2014 at 9:42 am

So PRETTY! And I love the red belt. Looks great on you, too.


Shana McCracken June 4, 2014 at 11:47 am

Very cute!! It sounds like the fabric you used was new, not vintage. Is this correct?


Evie June 4, 2014 at 6:57 pm

Yes, that’s correct. It’s a rayon challis i got from Denver Fabrics.


Reading Goddess June 6, 2014 at 5:36 pm

So pretty! Let’s bring back the “house” dress for every day wear, everyone!


Susanna June 7, 2014 at 11:17 pm

Beautiful. I love a housedress in our hot Australian summers, when I like to channel Rita Sue


Evie June 8, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Rita Sue is exactly who I was thinking of! ;)


Ursula June 14, 2014 at 12:45 pm

Oh my gosh! These are beautiful!! I love the pattern on the dress. Looks like summer!


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