Tilly and the Buttons: Rosa in denim chambray

Dressmaking: It i all in the details for this simple shirt dress...
It has been a while! A rather busy autumn kept me from sewing much... but I have managed to get back into some knitting at last.

This dress ended up taking an age to get finished! I loved the look of this pattern and bought it as soon as it came out, as the perfect excuse to buy a few metres of this amazing chambray in John Lewis. 

I fell into the usual trap of skipping the toile process and cutting right into my fabric... This worked out OK, but the Rosa dress is quite contoured and feels like it is make for quite the "hourglass figure". If I made it up again I would straighten out the silhouette a bit to suit me. 
Flat felled seams

I decided that the ideal seam for this project was a top-stitched, flat felled seam. It makes the seams lie flat even if the fabric has a bit of a life of its own. I chose a pale blue / grey top-stitching thread for this but I did toy with the idea of using an amazingly wacky contrast...!

I made some tweaks to this pattern along the way:

MY HACK 1: Ditch the dip.

I have something personal (and entirely odd, I appreciate!) against shirt dress hems that curve up gratuitously at the side seams. Call me crazy but I just can't stand the extra flash of thigh! So I smoothed out the hem on this to have minimal "dips"...

MY HACK 2: Contrast inner collar stand.

I bought some beautiful pale gold buttons for my Rosa and I happened to have a scrap of beautiful silk in my stash that matched perfectly! So I interfaced this and used it on the inside of my collar for a soft colour pop.

If finished the bottom edge of the inner collar stand with a tiny hand stitch before doing the edge-stitching through all layers, as I felt this gave me better control over the way the fabric lay and the placement of the turn under.

MY HACK 3: Sleeve pleats and V-shaped tramlines.

I wanted to create a bit of a vingtage / country feel with some more volume in the sleeve head. What I really liked about Rosa was the soft V-shaped yoke, and so I used this pattern piece to recreate this same shame across the sleeves as well, at the seam where my self-drafted pleated piece joined the regular sleeve.

MY HACK 4: Cuffs.

Tilly and the Buttons released a long-sleeve and cuff bonus just as I was wondering how to make the long sleeves that I really wanted... I used this as a guide, but I made my cuffs about 1.5 x wider. The instructions for the construction of the cuff were really good and since this is my first time making cuffs.... I was rather chuffed with the result! 

Hello, Rosa!
Having a million other things to do meant I worked on this very gradually over the last couple of months and I am a bit worried that now she is finally finished I am not as in love as when I started the project. I would definitely cool down the curves next time, as I find the skirt too "bell-shaped" (I like tulip skirts, but not A-line or bell-shaped....)

I will definitely tackle cuffs again now that I have proven to myself they are not as scary as I first thought!


  1. I am hopping from burda. What a cute shirt dress! I love your fabric choice. Well done!