Edit: The Montgomery dress had to be renamed to the Lenox dress. The url reflects the old name, but I have updated my blog post for the new name.
Let’s get this out of the way… Yes, I tested this. Yes, I received the pattern for free. Yes, I am biased. But seriously, it’s a shirtdress and I was going to be biased toward the pattern anyway. And sure I am biased, because I am friends with Jenny and I’ve tested for Cashmerette for a while. I am biased because the fit with her patterns is usually really good and works for me. I am biased because I get the patterns for free. I dgaf. This dress rocks.
The Lenox shirtdress has so many great features: princess seams in the front and back, a back yoke, a waistband, full collar and collar stand option, gathered or pleated skirt option, banded sleeves, v-neck shaping on the button band, and pockets. My go-to shirtdress before now has been the M6696, which I have made several times before. To be honest, I’ve never quite achieved a great fit there. I’ve gotten a good fit, but not a great fit. There are some issues I have with the pattern overall. The side-seam pockets are really shallow and the one time I used them I almost replaced them afterwards because my phone fell out. The back of the dress is pretty puffy due to the gathers. I’ve always meant to go back and alter that part, but generally forget. I also don’t really love the shape of the button band with the collar. If you button it all the way, the collar chokes a bit. In comparison, M7084, which I used for my wedding dress, is a bit closer to what I want in a shirtdress, but my fit on that was still not great and again the collar was a bit high. The Lenox dress sort of hits all my wants in a shirtdress. I was sick at the time I tested it, but could not say no to doing it so I powered through.
The yoke is sewn on using a burrito method and there is an inside waistband for two really great finishes to make the insides pretty. A shirtdress with these details is a time-consuming creation, but completely worth every second you spend on it.
For my tester version, I used the full collar with the gathered skirt. I did french seams throughout except for the sleeves. I find that can be a bit difficult and wasn’t worth my trouble for the tester version. I finished the seams at the armholes with pinking sheers. I made the dress using a white cotton that I got from a friend purging her stash.
After I was done testing, I put the dress on a hanger and left it unhemmed for a bit. I didn’t really feel keen to wear a plain white shirtdress in spite of the fact that when I started I wanted just that. I decided it would need something for me, the colour nut, to wear it comfortably.
Then Ciara posted about the beading she added to her dress. Add to that, all the embroidery I was obsessing over through pinterest and instagram. I kept pinning designs of varying levels of difficultly. I decided to use a variegated embroidery floss in all the colours and do very simple lines of Xs along the collar, arm bands, waistband and hem, as well as using the floss to put the buttons on with an X as well. At first, I was going to do two lines of the Xs at the hem, but several hours later and a pair of sore arms, I just left it at one line. The embroidery details are subtle and lovely. It gives it enough of a pop of colour that I don’t feel like I am wearing a plain white dress.
I’m really happy with how it turned out and want to make a few dozen more. I wish I had a crazy fabric budget right now since I want linen like crazy to make another version. I’m going through a linen fabric obsession right now. It’s just so lovely to work with and wear.
I will say that the pictures here are showing weird fit issues that don’t actually exist. I had just cleaned a bunch and was all sore and red from that. I may not have buttoned it correctly since my fingers tend to have issues after cleaning.
This picture taken this morning reflects the bust fit better:
There is some rippling along the princess seams, likely from doing french seams and not getting it flat enough.
Expect to see several more versions of this dress on the blog. I’m getting through my large UFO piles right now, though. Some things in that pile have lingered for almost a year. I got through a bunch of things this weekend and am still working my way through it. Let’s just say the pile is deep…