Vogue 8577 – Sewing the retro shirtdress

large bodice
Fabric: linen/rayon blend, 5.5 oz, from Fabric Mart

What a project – I’m four days in and just finished the upper bodice. This has been so much fun, and a challenge on many levels. So much so that I’m thinking that 2 posts will be better than one loong one, and I know that not everyone wants to read the sewing details 🙂

This is an interesting pattern – it has a definitive retro vibe, even though it was released in 2009, and it’s just full of surprises…


I worked on the pattern for 3 days before I cut my fabric. Most of this time was spent on the skirt. Even though the pattern calls for only 3 yards/60″ fabric in my size, it has a huge, voluminous, more-than-a-circle skirt. Many reviewers of the pattern mentioned how heavy the dress is once it’s lined. I think it could be heavy unlined! And when I laid out the pattern pieces, I totally disliked the skirt -the pocket, the volume, the back-gather overkill, the whole thing.

V9168 line artSo I pulled out the skirt from Vogue 9168. It has the same lines, it’s also cut on the bias, and it’s ‘calm’, not fussy.

Even better, it’s a maxi length, so I don’t have to add 11″ at the hem (V8577 is midi-length at it’s longest, and shorter than a midi on me at 5’7″).

I haven’t sewn V9168 yet, so I put a lot of work into the adaptation.

The V9168 skirt is shy of being a full circle, but I took down the volume a little more. My small change actually removes about 10″ from the width at my hip, from 62″ to 52″:


This and the original skirt are both cut on the bias. Long bias seams can be tricky stuff, so I used the layout directions from V9168 (flipping of the pattern is really important, more below)…

Skirt layout

Yes! I got my edges right. I.e., the side seam comes together with opposing vertical grainlines:

Opposing grainlines in bias seam

Note: if bias boggles you, here’s a great link to Bias 101 by Marcy Tilton, Threads magazine.

On to the bodice. No lining! It’s too hot here. I can’t wear linen against my neck, waist, etc., so a simple binding around the neck was out. Instead, I drafted facings for the front neckline and lined the back yoke. To prevent bloom show-through, I used white cotton/poly broadcloth for my innards.

inside bodice front

Small irritant: the pattern uses the same armscye for both the sleeveless and sleeved version. Crazy. I trimmed and reshaped the armscye quite a bit, taking away from the shoulder and putting a little more curve in the front and back. I had to wait until the bodice was sewn together to make these changes, even though the need for them was apparent from the beginning.

inside bodice back

I’m getting jazzed now, and have the waistband ready for attachment this morning.


Bye for now! Coco

6 thoughts on “Vogue 8577 – Sewing the retro shirtdress

  1. Loved seeing how you changed the skirt to be less voluminous. I can only wear so much volume. I also like the facings on the bodice as I , too, have some difficulty wearing certain fabrics at my neck. Who would not want to read the sewing details???? You have common sense solutions to many sewing problems. Thanks again.


  2. I love the fabric. I have this pattern. It’s survived several pattern culls because I love the look, but the amount of fabric needed has always put me off of making it. That skirt would only work in a super lightweight fabric! Can’t wait to see the finished product!


  3. Love seeing your process with this pattern. I have the pattern, but haven’t made it up yet. Look forward to seeing your finished product!


  4. I love linen/rayon blends! You are really coming along on that pattern–good work on the skirt modifications. You have so much patience with pattern work; wish I had more! Keep on keeping on…..can’t wait to see the final dress!


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