New Look 6160: Plaid checked shirt dress and sewing giveaway!

New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress
New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress

Hello Friends. I have a RTW shirt dress in my wardrobe which is probably around 9 years old now. It’s not a mega expensive or intricate one (princess seams with A-line shaped skirt). It’s not even a colour I would normally select (dark brown). But it just fits so well and is made of great quality cotton which has just been washed and worn so many times over the summers. Here’s the proof (you can tell we’ve upgraded our camera since these were taken):

Me in Rome in 2006
Me in Rome in 2006
Me in Venice in 2008
Me in Venice in 2008

Anyway, this year I want to find a shirt dress pattern that I love as much as that shirt dress. So, first off I thought I would try New Look 6180. Here’s a look at the pattern envelope. Are we all agreed this is the worst styling ever….I mean, the hair, the earrings and the pattern on the dress….well, nope, this is not a pattern from the 1980’s, this is a recent(ish) pattern.

New Look 6180 - ignore the retro styling....
New Look 6180 – ignore the retro styling….

Here’s my version:

New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress
New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress

I really wasn’t sure what the fit of the bodice on this dress was going to be like, so this is really a wearable muslin made from a heavy cotton that was in the reduced bin at the market. Overall, the fit is not too bad. I cut my normal size and it does fit, but I don’t know as yet if I should have made the sleeves a tiny bit bigger or the bust or a combination of both.

New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress
New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress

Let’s talk about the skirt, shall we? It has four little pleats kind of centre front and centre back. Then the waist band is gathered on to the bodice (you form a casing with the seam allowances). From the front it’s ok…I am not so convinced about how flattering the back is…

New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress
New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress

It does have a neat little sleeve notch detail:

New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress
New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress

I finished all the inside seams with flat fell seams…even the ones which were only 3/8 inch…

New Look 6180 - flat fell seams inside - I SWEAR the thread is not so noticeable IRL!
New Look 6180 – flat fell seams inside – I SWEAR the thread is not so noticeable IRL!

I used a Lauren’s and Jen’s tutorials on plaid matching, which are both very easy to read and understand, and overall I am not too displeased with the results. I cut my fabric on a single layer and cut the front and back yokes on the bias. BTW, have you seen the plaid matching on Lauren’s new coat? Yet another beautiful tailored coat. Sigh. And I used Andrea’s method for attaching the collar. Again, ok with the results, something I want to try again though.

Here’s my review:

Pattern Review:

Pattern Description:

Misses’ retro style shirt dress in two lengths has front buttons, elasticized waist, full skirt and 3/4 or full length sleeves. Tie belt included.

Pattern Sizing:

10 – 22

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Not as retro I don’t think.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

Yes. Very. Watch out for switching between the different seam allowances mind!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I do like the way the finished garment looks, but am not (as yet) 100% convinced about the gathered skirt (especially from the back). I think if I made this again I would need to either do a FBA or make the sleeves a tiny bit bigger or a combination of both.

Fabric Used:

A heavy cotton which has a kind of feint seersuckerish stripe in the checks.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

None apart from a one inch sway back adjustment.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

Hmmm….I don’t know. If I did it would probably be in a very light weight cotton. Yes, I would recommend.


Easy to sew and easy to wear. But I still have McCalls 6696 to try and probably a couple of others in  my quest for the perfect shirt dress.

New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress
New Look 6180 plaid checked shirt dress

Now on to the giveaway!

I have mentioned that I do want to tailor a coat. So I am trying to collect the necessary tools to enable me to do that. I have been looking for a wooden clapper/ point presser and recently came across this ebay seller selling just what I was looking for in oak. I have already received the item, along with a point turner. I am extremely happy with both items and look forward to using them.

Oak clapper and point turner
Oak clapper and point turner

The ebay seller in question very kindly sent me some extra items, which I am happy to offer as part of this giveaway. So here’s what is on offer. First, a set of wooden sewing tools:

Top to bottom: a lucet, a stiletto, a paper folder and a point turner/ presser

A lucet is an instrument used to make cords, something like this. Instructions will be included!

A cord made on the lucet
A cord made on the lucet

A stiletto is useful for holding fiddly bits or seams open during pressing or sewing. A paper folder is a piece of wood with angled top and bottom edges to neatly form an accurate crease in paper patterns or material. The point turner is used to turn out points and is also useful to hold seams open etc during pressing.

Additionally!!! I am also offering a brand new copy of the New Look pattern I used. It comes in sizes 10 – 22. So, you stand to win the pattern and the set of 4 wooden sewing tools.

All you have to do is leave a comment below telling me about a RTW garment that you love from your wardrobe that you wish you could find the perfect pattern for, before midnight GMT Monday 13th January 2014 after which time I will randomly select a winner. I am happy to post anywhere in the world. Please also make sure you use either a valid email address or blog address etc so that I can contact you after Monday. In any case, check back after Monday, just in case 🙂

Until soon….

Posted by

By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at

34 thoughts on “New Look 6160: Plaid checked shirt dress and sewing giveaway!

  1. Well I was going to comment even before you offered free stuff! I love your dress, particularly how it is button up only on the top and then gathered on the bottom. Super cute. I totally want a dress like this.

    As for the RTW dress, I have a button up twill shift dress from Anthropologie that I absolutely love. It crosses in the front and the buttons are off center but fit absolutely perfectly and I would love to find a pattern or actually spend the time copying it!

  2. I’d like to find (and the skills/confidence) a great blazer pattern because I can’t find a well-fitted RTW version. It seems like RTW and my post-baby body are not compatible…

  3. Oooh, I like that dress pattern! Incidentally, I’m also currently looking for the perfect shirt-dress pattern. Thanks for the chance to win!

    I noticed just recently that my favourite coat is slowly starting to fall apart, so I think that I’ll have to look into coat-making for next winter. That’s what I’d most need the perfect pattern for—eventually! I’m really not quite there yet with regard to my skills, but it’s good to have goals, right?
    If a garment for someone else counts, then my biggest goal would be a classic suit jacket for my boyfriend. He is very slim and has narrow shoulders, so RTW suit jackets just never fit him right, but I’m sure he would look great in a tailored one that fits him perfectly. It’s SO hard to find good men’s patterns!

  4. I have 2 skorts that I would love to find a pattern for. One is the athleta whatever skort the other is a flared skort from an independent company. If only I had the knowledge to draft my own.

  5. I love your dress, definitely much better than the pattern picture!! I like how you can see past the dodgy pictures to see how you can make it look good.
    I’m on the hunt for the perfect jeans pattern, my (second hand) 7 for all mankind jeans are nearly worn through 😦

  6. Wow does that dress look nice the way you made it up! One of my favorite things about sewing blogs is seeing how things look made up and worn by a real person. I now want to track that pattern down to give it a try myself! My RTW I’d love to replace is a J Jill car coat in wool. It’s a nice, easy shape, but I’ll have to tackle a new-to-me fabric and put in a lining. This year for sure! My old one is starting to look pretty beat up.

  7. I have a beautiful vintage brown wool coat that I would love to find a pattern that matches it. Your dress looks nice, and like others have said, much nicer than the pattern. Fabric certainly makes a difference.

  8. I, too, am on the hunt for the perfect shirt dress. Have tried two which were just ok (didn’t even bother blogging about) and about to try combining two patterns in the hope I achieve the look I am after. I can’t wait to see which other patterns you try!

    I would love to recreate an asymmetrical jacket I have owned for years…

  9. Like you, I am constantly on the hunt for a well constructed shirtdress pattern. I have so many in my pattern stash (including this one) which tells me there must be something I truly desire in a shirtdress that I haven’t found yet. My fav RTW item is a wrap dress I bought about 10 years ago. It’s made of silk jersey. I’ll have to post a photo. The dress bares the right amount of cleavage, defines my waist when I feel bloated and makes me feel like a star when I wear it. I think it’s a combination of the print (burgundy roses on smoky pinky background) and the material. But I refused to get rid of it. I’ll have to post a photo.

  10. I’m loving the plaid and the way you have made a great job of matching.

    I want to recreate a simple pair of linen rtw trousers; comfy, well worn and much loved. I did consider a number of patterns until I saw a new Craftsy class using a ‘pinning’ method to copy the garment.
    So I’m going to give it a go!

  11. The styling on the pattern envelope looks like the company said “people seem to like making clothes out of bedsheets, we should try it too.” Your version is really cute though; the sleeve notches are a nice touch. In my own closet is a cropped short sleeved jacket, something between a Blazer and an old fashioned Spencer. I don’t know what I’ll do when it wears out; it goes perfectly over summer dresses.

  12. The dress looks lovely on you, sometimes I am put off by the styling on pattern envelopes but you made this dress work.
    I have a favorite dress that I love,cap sleeved with princess seamed bodice with an A line skirt. I hope I can clone 5 of these for everyday of the week.

  13. I have a fleece jacket I am trying to replicate…. And the Athleta skort so it fits properly…. And so many others! I love the shirt dress, and that is a plan for spring!

  14. Your dress is much cuter than the pattern envelope’s. I wonder if you shortened the bodice by an inch or so to remove the slight blousing?

    For me: I have an early 60’s Jackie-type wool jersey jacket that I have loved to death (holes in elbows). Colette’s Anise is close, but mine isn’t double breasted. It could be that a rub off is my best option…

  15. I would like to find a pattern and fabric to make a St. John’s knock off suit for my daughter. She drools over these, but faints at the price.

  16. I love your dress! I have an RTW swing coat that I’ve worn for years. I would love to find a pattern to make a lighter one for spring.

  17. Love your dress! It turned out beautifully 🙂 I have a really nice twill trench coat that has a wool second layer in it that comes out or stays in for warmth- I would LOVE to recreate this- as the coat was rather pricey new! (And that was many years ago 🙂 )

  18. Oooh, I love your flat felled seams! I usually bind or hong kong finish my regular seamed allowances, but I really like this look. (goes to research use of flat-felled seams). ps, don’t enter me into the giveaway as I have a # of these items.

  19. I too have just made this shirt dress – I was wondering if you had any more luck finding the perfect shirt dress?

    I found the pleats in the skirt pretty unflattering but I the collar is what put me off the most. I guess due to the openness of the neckline, the collar tends to sit far back on my version.

    Keen to hear your thoughts…

    1. Hi nic, no not had a chance to sew any further shirt dresses. Don’t worry, when I do I will post on here. I have actually worn this dress a couple of times and it is very comfortable. I don’t love the gathers but I can live with them. I don’t find the collar sits too far back. I do need to do a slight FBA if I made this dress again. Obviously not see your version but just wondering; do you need to do an FBA? If the bodice is too small in the bust this could affect how the collar is sitting. Or is your bodice back length correct? Also did you do the stay stitching before putting in the collar to stop it stretching out? If not that might be causing the collar to pull out of alignement. Hope you work it out.

      1. Thanks for all the suggestions. I kinda reduced this pattern in a major way. I’m a size 4-6 in the bust and in doing the adjustments I think I made it too small. I also used a very heavy fabric. I still need to finish the hem and arm holes, but I’ll show you a pic once it’s done and you might be able to suggest a thing or too. Thanks 🙂

  20. Hi, I was wondering if you have used your clapper yet and what you thought of it. I checked it out on e-bay and the description says that it has a wax coating. Wouldn’t this wax transfer onto the fabric with the heat involved. I always assumed the wood would be untreated. I have wanted to buy one for a while but never seen any for sale. I also wondered if just a piece of any hardwood would suffice, it doesn’t appear to need to be any specific shape. Or am I missing something!!!!!!

    1. Hi Julie. I have used mine when I was pressing the cord collar of the quilted jacket I have just sewn without any problems. If there is any wax it is negligible and I didn’t have any issues with transfer. This clapper has other edges which are useful when pressing seams open/ turning points. I guess you could use a piece of heavy hardwood but it would have to be sanded very finely and probably coated with something to make the surfaces fine enough so it won’t spoil/ snag your fabric. If you are serious about tailoring I say get one!

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