I had been saving this bold, orange, polka dot print for something special. Then as time went by, just for something suitable! This lovely Indian cotton, bought for $20 from a designer sale, was looking more and more like it was only suited for a clown outfit. Then, after I made my Wenona shirt, I decided it would be perfect for the Named Wenona shirt dress. To break up the print, I used some orange linen from my stash.
I finished this last December and, despite its obvious resemblance to a circus entertainer's outfit, it has grown on me to the point where I actually really like it now. I have even worn it out in public - once (sans red nose of course)!
However, while I was making it I went through a bit of an 'I will never wear this' crisis. I experimented with two different dyes on scraps of fabric to try to quieten the deafening orange. The orange linen and polka dot cotton scraps below were dyed with deep blue (left) and black (right). You will notice that the orange spots have stubbornly refused to back down. Eventually I emailed a trusted sewing friend for assistance. This wise and stylish lady said she liked the playful retro and summery look of the dress. She suggested that I wear it unaltered for a day to see how I felt in it, then perhaps shorten the sleeves or dye it if I thought that would help. This turned out to be excellent advice. As a compromise I shortened my hair, rolled up the sleeves, wore it for a day and suddenly the dress felt OK! I'm leaving it as it is...for now.
The shirtdress pattern has a seam at the waist for shaping, so looks better with a belt.
|Named Wenona shirt dress|
The stripe down the shoulder and sleeve is one of my favourite things about this pattern.
The button at the back of the pointed collar is my other favourite. I used irregularly shaped, black buttons with a white circle on them.
I made my usual size 40 in this pattern, but had to take the dress in quite a bit at the sides. Otherwise I didn't make any changes.
I've been on a bit of a Wenona bender actually. My, notoriously hard-to-please, sister requested a beach cover-up for Christmas. It had to be a sheer, white cotton shirt that was tunic length. I made her a Wenona in white cotton voile with embroidered cotton sleeve panels. I used the shirt pattern and lengthened it, rather than making the shirt dress. I added a casing and drawstring at the back to gather it in as desired.
The verdict: she liked it!!! Here she is wearing it on a recent beach holiday:
I love this pattern and have recently made another version, this time sleeveless. I'll save it for another post, this one is long enough already.