Vogue 9201 navy blue elephant print shirtdress
An Unforgettable Fall/Winter Shirtdress
December 12, 2016
by Melanie for Following The Thread

My latest project was supposed to be a Fall shirtdress…but as you can see, it has turned into a winter shirtdress! Vogue 9201 is a great cross-season pattern, with View B’s long sleeves and detachable collar making it suitable for fall. If you’re going to wear it in winter though, I recommend a coat while outside, don’t follow my photographic lead 😉

I was intrigued by the option of a detachable collar and the hidden button placket, as a follow-up to my interest in shirtdresses which began this summer. Plus the views in this pattern are quite distinct, allowing for lots of variation.

Blue Elephant Dress (5)

And then I fell in love with this navy elephant print, an Alulu cotton — it’s lightweight and crisp with a smooth hand. This makes it great for this dress’ sharp pleats and fitted bodice. The gathers on the back waist were a little more difficult because of the lack of drape but there was only one tiny section of gathering to worry about.

Blue Elephant Dress (27)

There are many interesting details in this pattern; none that are really very difficult, but there are many steps that you’ll have to take your time on. The detachable collar, a front band and fly button closing, a side zip, a stand collar, pleated sleeve cuffs — all things to work at a little more than an ‘easy’ rated pattern, but well worth the time.

Details of Elephant Dress


I made a few changes. First, I added a pocket to the right hand side, as I hate wearing clothes without pockets – I’m too apt to lose my keys! There’s only one pocket, since there is a side zip on the left side. And that’s the other change I made. When I got to that step I realized I didn’t actually have a 14″ navy invisible zip and there were none to be found anywhere in my city. (I would have ordered one online from Fabricville but I was running short on time!)

But I did have a 12″ regular zip, and since I’d shortened both bodice and skirt quite a lot, the 12″ was a perfect length for me. Using the reliable instructions in the Readers Digest Guide to Sewing, I changed it to an enclosed lapped zip, and it went in so smoothly, with the waist seam so perfectly lined up (on the first try) that I may just use that option more often!

Blue Elephant Dress (18)

I made a bodice muslin, and shortened it a bit more than the petite lines on the pattern suggested. Also, the shortening was taken in different spots (above the bust in my case). Plus I pinched an additional swayback wedge out of the back bodice. I shortened the sleeves as well, and of course the skirt, as I am quite short (5’2″). So be aware if you are also petite that you’ll want to muslin this one first.

Anyhow, the final result will do well as a fall-to-spring outfit. The cotton is nice and crisp but the lines of the pattern don’t feel summery at all. Some nice warm tights for winter and I’ll be fine!