Sewing Projects: Shirt Dress Digital Sewing Pattern (PDF)

shirt dress pattern free

Shirt Dress Sewing Patterns to Sew for Spring 

This slow-sew project is one to savour, as you can really go to town with all the detailing. I love topstitching, as you can see from the sample, and a plain fabric allows you to showcase some lovely topstitching detail in a contrasting colour of thread. However, the design works equally well in a print fabric that would not need much additional adornment.

The pockets, too, are an area where you can really make this dress your own. I’ve included back and breast patch pockets as well as pockets sewn into the side seam, but you could leave off the patch pockets – or even add more! – if you wish. For a really unique take, why not embellish the pockets with some simple embroidery? Just make sure that your decorative stitching doesn’t extend into the pockets’ seam allowances.

Buttons are the finishing touch and definitely worth taking time and care over, as they can make or break a garment. There’s a wealth to choose from, from vintage buttons sourced from charity shops or antique stalls to up-to-the-minute fastenings that will give a cutting-edge look to a classic garment. As my old needlework teacher used to say, ‘Buttons are like eyes: they are the windows into the soul of your sewing’. 

Fabric Choices

This style of dress works best in something that has a little bit of substance to it, so linen or lightweight denim would be ideal. If you are more confident handling fabric, then a beautiful viscose rayon would be lovely to work with, too.


•2.9m (31/4yd) main fabric, 140–150cm (55–60in) wide
•1.2m (48in) lightweight iron-on interfacing
•10 buttons, 1.5–2cm (5/8–3/8in) in diameter
•Matching thread
•Contrasting topstitching thread (optional)
•Contrast bias binding (optional)
•Topstitching needle
•Buttonhole foot


• A   Dress front – cut 2 in fabric
• B   Dress back – cut 2 in fabric
• C   Sleeve – cut 2 in fabric
• D   Collar – cut 2 in fabric and 1 on fold in interfacing
• E    Front facing – cut 2 in fabric and 2 in interfacing
• F    Back neck facing – cut 1 on fold in fabric and 1 on fold in interfacing
• G    In-seam pocket bag – cut 4 in fabric
• H    Back pocket – cut 2 in fabric
• I     Breast pocket – cut 2 in fabric
• J    Belt loops – cut 1 in fabric
• K   Belt – cut 1 in fabric

All seam allowances are 1.5cm (⁵⁄₈in) unless otherwise stated.

Get Your Pattern Now!! Shirt and Dress - PDF sewing pattern


1   Cut out the pattern pieces, following the lay plans (see General Sewing Techniques: Cutting out).

2   Transfer the pattern markings to your fabric (see General Sewing Techniques: Transferring pattern markings).
3   Apply interfacing to the upper collar and facing pieces (see General Sewing Techniques: Interfacing). Staystitch the necklines of the facing pieces . Staystitch the necklines on the dress front and back pieces too.

shirt dress pattern free


4   Neaten the top edges of the front and back patch pockets. Fold over the tops of the pockets along the foldline so that the right sides are together. Taking a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance, sew across the short ends to create a facing. Turn the pocket facing right side out and winkle out the corners.

5   Press under the seam allowances around the sides of the pockets, mitring the corners (a). Topstitch across the bottom of the pocket facing to hold it in place (b) (see General Sewing Techniques: Machine stitching).

6   Place the patch pockets on the front of the dress along the placement line (a). Do the same with the back patch pockets (b). Topstitch around the side and bottom edges of each pocket to secure it in place.


7   On the front dress, pinch out the bust darts and pin in place. Sew along the dart line from the edge to the point. Pivot at the point and sew back up into the dart. Press the dart up towards the armhole.

8   With right sides together, matching up the small dots, place the in-seam pocket bags on the dress front and back side seams. Sew with a 1cm (3/8in) seam allowance, then neaten the seam on the dress back sections only.

9   Press the pocket bags away from the dress and understitch the dress front pockets (see Sewing Machine Presser Feet Guide).

10 With right sides together, pin and sew the centre back seam. Neaten the seam allowances together and press to one side. If you wish, you can topstitch the seam from the right side for a bit of extra detail and decoration. Pin and sew the fronts to the back at the shoulder seams, then neaten and press the shoulder seams in the same way.

11 With right sides together, matching up the underarm point, the pocket bags and the hems, pin the front and back together at the side seams. Sew down the side seam on each side, pivoting at each small dot to sew around the pocket bags and then continuing down the rest of the side seam. Neaten the seam allowances together.

shirt dress pattern free


12 Sew a row of easing stitches across the sleeve head between the notches (a). With right sides together, sew the underarm seam(b). Neaten the seam allowances together from the armhole edge to the cuff foldline and press to one side.

13 Neaten the hem of the sleeve and press up 4cm (11/2in) for the hem. Topstitch in place.

14 Matching up the underarm seam and side seam, single and double notches and the dot on the sleeve head with the shoulder seam, set the sleeve into the armhole. Ease the sleeve head to fit the armhole and pin in place. Sew around the armhole and neaten the seam.

shirt dress pattern free


15 Trim 3mm (1/8in) from the outer edge and short sides of the under collar. This makes it roll under slightly and creates a much neater finish.

16 Place the upper and under collars right sides together. Ease the under collar out to fit the upper collar. Pin and sew along the outer edge and short sides. Trim the seam allowance down to 5mm (1/4in) and carefully trim off the corners.

17 Turn the collar right side out and press it flat so that the seam is just on the edge. Topstitch the collar from the right side for a bit of extra detail and decoration.

18 With the under collar next to the dress, centre the collar on the back neckline. Match up the dots on the collar with the shoulder seams and make sure the collar sits on the large dots on the dress front. Machine baste in place.

shirt dress pattern free

19 Match up the shoulders of the back neck facing and the front facing pieces. Pin and sew across the shoulder seams. Press the seams open. Neaten the outer edge of the whole facing: you can either overlock or zigzag, as shown in the illustration, or use a contrast binding.

20 Neaten the hem of the dress.

21 Place the facing and dress right sides together, with the collar sandwiched in between. Match up all the key points and notches from the centre back neck along the neckline, around the lapel and down the front to the hem, and pin in place.

22 Sew across the facing at the hem, pivot and sew up the centre front, pivot at the point of the lapel and again at the collar. Make sure not to sew a stitch onto the collar itself before pivoting to sew around the neckline. Do the same in reverse to sew down the other side of the dress.

23 Carefully trim, layer and clip the seam allowances.

24 Turn the facing and collar out to the right side. Roll the seam so that it sits right on the edge, then press carefully to set it in place. Topstitch along the facing and lapel to tie in with the topstitching on the collar. Press up the hem of the dress and topstitch around the hem.

shirt dress pattern free


25 Using the pattern markings as a guide, transfer the buttonhole lines onto the right-hand side of the dress. Check they are in the correct place for you and adjust if necessary.

26 Sew the buttonholes the correct size for your buttons and carefully open them up. Lay out the dress and mark the button positions through the buttonholes along the centre front line. Sew on the buttons in the correct places.


shirt dress pattern free

27 Neaten one long edge of the belt loop piece, then fold it lengthways into thirds, with the neatened edge on the outside. Sew a double row of topstitching along the belt loop piece. Cut into four 8cm (3in) long pieces.

28 Press under 1cm (3/8in) on each short end of the individual belt loops. Pin in place over the belt loop markings and sew across the folded edges with a small zig-zag stitch to fix the belt loops to the dress.

29 Fold the belt in half lengthways, with the right sides together. Sew along the outer edge, leaving a gap of about 10cm (4in) in the middle and remembering to pivot at the corners. Turn the belt through to the right side and roll the seam to the edge. Press everything nice and flat. Topstitch along the belt for decoration and to close the gap in the seam.

shirt dress pattern free

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