October 15, 2023 5 Comments on A dress from 117 Croatian Shirt pattern
by Molly Hamilton
I have had a vision of making the 117 Croatian Shirt pattern into a dress for several years. I even bought the fabric I wanted to make it in and cut out the pattern. I just didn't get around to it until this summer. Sometimes I have to stop what I feel like is important work, like making new patterns, and work on what I want to work on, which might be doing something creative for myself. I also think it is important to focus on the amazing and wonderful old patterns that Folkwear has in its collection. These are truly unique and interesting patterns and I love working with them to make something new.
This summer I was cleaning out fabric and found this beautiful European linen I had bought from Merchant and Mills. It is a linen similar to this one, but mine was an autumn orange-brown. And I remembered I had bought it for making the Croatian Shirt which I wanted to be long enough to wear in the fall as a dress. I stopped what I was doing and started on the dress. The shirt pattern actually has two lengths marked on the pattern - one to make a shirt and one to make a mid-calf length dress. I shortened the dress-length to hit a little above my knee after it was hemmed, and cut out the pattern.
I was a little intimidated by the pintucks in this pattern, but slow and steady, as they say, and they came out fine (but not perfect). There are also a lot of pleats in this pattern - at the shoulders, neck, and cuffs - but giving each a little clip, as the pattern indicates, makes them very easy to manage. I also noticed that the number of pleats at the shoulder was incorrect in my paper pattern and I adjusted them to seven and centered them (this correction has been made in the PDF pattern).
I would not suggest using a linen of the type I used if you are wanting crisp pintucks and pleats. The linen relaxes and does not stay crisp. It also doesn't love to stay perfectly straight for making pintucks. But it was exactly the look I wanted.
I had finished making the pintucks on the front of my shirt piece when I headed off to drive to Canada with my children. So I decided to use some of my travel time riding in the car (my oldest drove some of the way), making the honeycomb on the pintucks. This technique was easy and interesting and went fairly quickly. I got one side done in an hour or so riding in the car on the way to Canada, and the other side done on the way riding home. I used a slightly contrasting dark brown buttonhole thread to make the stitches. I liked using a thread that could be seen but was not as thick as perle cotton, and liked the contrasting color rather than using a matching color.
I found some buttons in our stash at the office that worked quite well to finish the project. I also like the curved cuff (and collar) on this dress. These little details make it a special piece.
I love how this 117 Croatian Shirt dress turned out! It is exactly what I was hoping for - a perfect fall-colored, cool-weather dress that I can wear with boots for now and add leggings or tights as the weather cools further. It is comfortable and pretty, and I love wearing something that has some history behind it.