When Fabric Godmother released her latest collection of exclusive prints earlier this year, Josie generously invited me to pick my favourite as a gift, with no obligation to share what I made. Naturally, my love of big cat prints drew me to the gorgeous Cheetah Lily tencel crepe, and as soon as it arrived I just knew it had to become a Named Reeta Shirt Dress. I'm so happy with how it turned out that there's no way I wasn't going to share it. 




Recently I've been quite lazy with my sewing, opting for simpler/quicker makes, so this felt like the most involved project that I've tackled in a long time. Details like the pleated breast pockets, collar, waist channel, turned up sleeves, skirt vents and buttons all add to the luxurious finish of this dress, but they take time to sew. I also decided to make my own waist ties instead of using cord, so that didn't help matters. 

Once I accepted that this was going to be a slow sew and focused on one element at a time, I actually found the process quite enjoyable. It reminded me that it's ok if it takes longer than a day or a weekend to make something. Literally, what's the rush?!?

The pattern instructions are ok, but I always tend to need a bit of extra guidance when it comes to tricky bits as my brain can't cope with 2D explanations. When it came to the collar I did a bit of Googling and stumbled across Sew Sew Live's sew-along on YouTube. It really helped me to see it being sewn up, so I would recommend scrolling to 54 minutes in if you need help with that step.

The rest of the dress is actually pretty simple to make. Just make sure you carefully transfer all the pattern markings onto your fabric and take extra care if you're using something drapey.



Instead of adding the required buttonholes at each end of the waist channel, I was inspired by Crafty Clyde to use some hardware. I went for 11mm Prym eyelets in brass to match my buttons and I love how they look. With my fabric being so delicate, I figured that buttonholes wouldn't hold up as well over time and the eyelets feel much more robust. My buttons were a steal from a stall on Leicester Market and they're perfect for this dress.

In terms of sizing, I made a straight UK 12 and I'm really happy with the fit. I'm only 5ft 3" though, so I took about 10cm off the length and I probably could have taken off a bit more. Miraculously, when I measured the pattern pieces, the waist channel was already at my natural waistline (usually I have to shorten bodices), so I took 5cm off between the waist and hips and 5cm off between the hips and start of the side slits. As I was taking so much off I wanted to space it out to cause as little interruption to the design lines as possible and to make sure I didn't end up with tiny slits. It paid off I think. 




Throwing on this dress makes me feel effortlessly chic. It's both sophisticated and casual, an irresistible combination. I wore it out and about with black trainers recently and I've never felt so good during peak comfort levels. I can totally see why the Reeta Shirt Dress is such a popular make. Have you made it? What do you think to the pattern?



The minute I spotted this dreamy viscose from Fabric Godmother a few months ago, I knew I had to have it and I knew it needed to become The Sorrel Dress by Jennifer Lauren Handmade. I'm very much an impulse buyer when it comes to fabric, so buying with a purpose was a revelation. I might try to do it more often...haha!


Something about the vintage-inspired print paired with the classic shape of the pattern just screamed 1940s perfection to me and I wasn't disappointed. This dress came out exactly how I pictured it in my head and I couldn't be happier about it. It's a shame I finished it just in time for colder weather, but it might get some winter wear with a cropped cardigan and tights. 




I love the foldout collar, open-ended darts and grown-on sleeves which give this pattern a casual vintage twist. The fact that it's drafted in different cup sizes is the cherry on top. I made a straight size 12 in a C or D cup (I can't remember, annoyingly) and it fits so nicely. 

The only change I made was to shorten the bodice by 4cm, which turned out to be too much despite carefully measuring the flat pattern pieces like I always do. Bizarrely, the front is fine but the waistline is raised at the back and slightly pulls. You can't really see it in the pictures, but it's there and it bugs me, but it won't stop me from wearing it as it's cute otherwise.

My only criticism relates to the skirt. I was drawn to this pattern because of the simple A-line skirt, but it's almost like it could do with a tiny bit more volume. Making it in a floaty viscose probably hasn't helped matters and something with a bit more body might work better. Either way, it would be easy enough to fiddle with the shape if I wanted to do so for future versions.


Originally, I had my heart set on red buttons, but I didn't have quite the right shade of red. These pearly beauties worked a treat though and I love how they blend in perfectly to let the print do the talking. Of course I had to finish it off with a lovely Crafty Pinup label.



Have you made The Sorrel Dress? What do you think of it?