Hello! I’m Rochelle, here from LuckyLucille, and today I have a shirt dress modification to share using the Archer Button Up pattern by Grainline Studio. I’ve seen a lot of cute shirt dresses at Anthropologie lately, and when I saw their Tela Shirtdress in particular, I knew I had to recreate a similar dress.
Please note this is a pretty “lite” tutorial since the sewing construction will follow nearly the same steps as the original instructions. You’re basically just changing a few pattern pieces before you begin, and then sewing a cute ruffled skirt to the bottom of your shirt at the end. I’m here to help you through those pattern changes :)
The pattern pieces we’ll be modifying for this tutorial are the Front, the Back, the Button Band, and the Sleeve, plus we’ll be drafting our own pattern piece for the skirt. (Also note: my illustrations are for reference only and are not drawn to scale.
Pattern Preparation Steps:
First we’re going to chop off a bit of length from the front, back, and button band. If you’d prefer not to re-trace and/or cut or pattern pieces, you can fold up the extra length to make your modifications. This shirt dress has a drop-waist, so I simply squared off the bottom at the point where the hip curve starts. Make sure your button band ends up the same length as your front, and your front and back pieces are the same length along the side seams from the armhole down.
Next we’re going to modify the sleeves. For the length of my sleeves I measured 10” down from the sleeve head and made my cut. You’ll need to add a bit of width to the sides to allow you to fold up your hem evenly. Cutting at this length will give you a 2” seam allowance, but if you prefer more or less you can cut accordingly.
Finally we’re going to draft our skirt pieces, which is essentially just a rectangle cut on the fold. A good rule of the thumb for the width is to measure the width of the bottom of your Back pattern piece, then add 6 inches (so that’s a total of 12” extra when unfolded). The length is all about personal preference. For my dress I cut a length of 16 inches, which includes a nice thick hem allowance of 4 inches. Remember this is a drop-waist style dress so your skirt piece will seem quite mini at first!
For reference, my final skirt piece measured 16.5 inches wide (on the fold) by 16 inches long (including a 4” hem allowance).
You will need to cut two skirt pieces.
Sewing Construction Steps:
(Again, this is a “lite” tutorial…) To construct your Archer Shirtdress, follow the original Archer pattern instructions as you assemble the front, back, collar, and sleeves. The shortened sleeves will be much quicker to sew because there are no plackets or cuffs! For a two inch sleeve hem like mine, simply fold up one inch, press, and then fold over one inch again.
Skip step 21 of the original instructions because we’ll be attaching a skirt instead of hemming the shirt.
You’ll probably find it easier to sew your buttonholes and buttons before attaching the skirt portion. I chose to save my buttonholes for the very last step after the skirt was attached and because of that, my bottom button has no actual buttonhole! I couldn’t maneuver my buttonhole foot around the button band with the skirt attached, so just be weary of that.
To assemble your skirt, sew the side seams and finish the raw edges inside. You can hem the skirt now if you choose. It took me just a bit longer to press around all the gathers after the skirt was attached since I was using a whopping 4” hem. For speedier pressing/pinning on a wide hem, consider doing that step first before you gather the skirt to attach it to the dress.
To gather the skirt I used two rows of basting stitches (one at 3/8ths and one at 5/8ths), leaving my long thread tails open at one of the side seams. I then aligned the side seams of my skirt piece with my shirt piece and gathered the front and back separately to fit.
Remember to match right sides together when attaching your skirt, and sew your final row of stitches with a 1/2” seam allowance.
Well that’s about it for that. I hope you found this post helpful for recreating your very own Archer Shirtdress!
Thanks for reading :)