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Gemma’s Donny Shirt Dress Hack

What do you do when you have made so many versions of your current favourite wardrobe staple sewing pattern? Well, you look to see how you can hack it of course!

Although apprehensive of the Donny Shirt release (a pattern by Friday Pattern Company) thinking it was just ‘another’ shirt pattern, I quickly became hooked once I gave it a try. Yes, it is another shirt pattern, but this one really flips the script and is anything but ‘basic’. A relaxed, boxy fit, it looks great casual or dressed up, works in a variety of fabrics, has a really interesting front construction (with no button fastenings) but is still a relatively simple make, and I can get one in my size from just 1m of wide width fabric! It is a joy to sew, and yes, I have made several versions, in fabrics like Liberty Silk and cotton lawn to Broderie Anglaise. But one thing I’ve always wondered whilst making these is…. Could this be hacked into a dress??

Hayley always hits a brief just right with her box theme contents, as this month’s Autumnal vibe was no exception. When I opened my box I instantly fell in love with this fabric, it just screams Autumn! Such a gorgeous shade of green, the print is lovely, and the fabric is the perfect weight for creating something trans-seasonal. I instantly knew what this should become – a Donny Shirt Dress Hack!

Let’s face it, this year’s version of a British summertime has been pretty hit and miss. Hot and sunny one day, thunderstorms and showers the next, or if we are really lucky, all the weather conditions during the course of one day! I’ve really struggled with what to wear for the last few weeks, as it is often humid and muggy with showers, so jeans and trousers aren’t the best, but neither are shorts and T Shirts, so I have eventually found my middle ground with long length dresses. For years I steered away from maxi length, as I was made to believe that being on the shorter side it would only make me look even shorter, but over the last year or so I’ve really embraced the longer length and actually thinks it works really well (a lesson to us all to just wear whatever we want!) They are also the perfect trans-seasonal weather outfit, as being light and airy they keep you cool when muggy, but gives you a little protection from those pesky showers! This fabric is ideal for this kind of make, and I was very excited to give this hack a go.

I had a quick look on Instagram for some inspiration, as I had seen a few people make it and it is much more simple than I thought – I cut my Donny shirt front and back pieces slightly shorter, cutting them at the ‘lengthen here’ line. I then cut 2 skirt pieces to add to my shirt: the waist of my shirt measured approx 33cm, so I cut my skirt pieces at a width of 50cm, so that I would have a nice gather (and also so I could make sure they went over my hips!) For the length of the skirt I basically cut 2 pieces of what was left of my fabric – I think it measured about 70cm, but ideally I would love to have cut longer, at least it made it a minimal waste pattern! And of course, I had to add pockets! 

I sewed the shirt as normal, created my skirt and pockets and attached at the waistline and voila – one extremely comfortable and beautiful looking Donny Shirt Dress! I’m so pleased with how it looks. I think the fabric and print give it a slight vintage vibe with this style of shirt, and it really is a great dress for the confusing weather. Let’s see how many of these I now make!