Named Wenona Shirtdress

The first time I wore this dress was to a donut-making class. I think that was maybe in late September? Here I am with a maple stick:

The class was at Sur La Table, a wonderful gift from my boyfriend’s dad. We made four kinds of donuts. It was so sweet. We had a pretty good streak going where we made donuts probably every other week, and recently we looked back at the dough-notes we kept about them, and we hadn’t made donuts in over a year! So we’re changing that right-quick.

I’ve been searching pretty hard for a good shirtdress. We had the Deer & Doe Bleuet, but that was a little too cute for me (it is super cute though). We have this Amy Butler Liverpool that I’ve been considering for awhile. It just never really “blew my dress up,” as my dad says. I’ve heard great things about the Simplicity Lisette Traveler Shirtdress, which we don’t carry, and I guess I’ve never wanted it badly enough to order it. So maybe I haven’t been trying that hard.

Several months ago we ordered some patterns from Named in Finland, and what I really love about them is how different they are from most of our other patterns. It seems that vintage vibes are a big trend in independent patterns, and Named is refreshingly modern. Here are the patterns we have. And below is one of their patterns, the Wenona Shirtdress:

At first I thought this dress looked awfully mature for me, but the more I wear it, the more I love it. I think the belt really livens it up. I made it with this webbing and two D-Rings. It looks so much better belted.

This is the perfect late-summer/autumn dress. The main fabric is this wool/cotton blend. It’s gauzey and a bit spongy–great for tops and blouses. And it’s warm, but not overly so. We sold out of this blockprint a long time ago, but we do have these other beauties. Oh, and I used these corozo buttons. Corozo is some type of nut shell.

I accidentally cut a smaller size than I intended, but the dress is meant to be blousey so it’s not tight anywhere. The only place I would worry about tightness is at the shoulder, but the pattern has raglan sleeves. So then the only other place I would worry about tightness is the armpit, but I was saved by these underarm gussets!

I didn’t know these existed until maybe the week before I made this dress, when Carla of Clever Charlotte mentioned she was putting them into a fitted dress she was making for herself. If not for that conversation with her, I would have been so baffled by this pattern. Underarm gussets, if you have never heard of or seen them before, basically look like the sleeve head, and are eased into the underarm. If you hate putting you sleeves, you will sure hate putting in these sleeves! But wow, what a range of motion I have!

Okay, here is my biggest beef with this dress.

Like, I know I’m kinda gangly, but not this much. I don’t think this is from using too small of a size, because the sleeves of the other sizes weren’t too much longer. So I keep them rolled up (J Crew style). Honestly, I almost always wear my sleeves rolled up anyway, so I don’t have much room to complain. But next time, I will make these sleeves the proper length.

I added pockets. The pockets pattern piece to the Colette Zinnia skirt was floating around, so I used that. This blog post from Four Square Walls illustrates a very clean method for attaching a collar with a collar stand. It’s the best (out of the two methods I’ve used)! Definitely check it out if you’re into shirtmaking.

These patterns are not novice material. While I wasn’t impressed with the pattern directions (I found them to be pretty scant), and some of the pattern pieces didn’t fit together very well, and I had to trace and add seam allowances to the pattern, I would still make another Named pattern. Some of my issues could have been my own error, although Carla said she had similar issues with a pattern that she bought.

P.S. Sorry for all the wrinkles and rogue threads. I am my own stylist and photographer.


By Nanette Webb on
Tagged: Fabric, Named Patterns, Patterns, shirtdress, Wenona, wool

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