Blueprints for sewing: Cabin dress

I bought this pattern whilst I was in the US recently and have been dying to try it, I think because it reminds me of a tent dress (remember them?) I had in the 1960s. The pattern states that the  “Cabin is easy, comfortable, and flattering shirt or shift dress.” and “Both shirt and shift feature comfortable and easy to fit kimono sleeves. They include a back pleat that adds ease and volume for a relaxed fit, while french darts create a barely-tailored silhouette in front. The back pleat can be embroidered with a variety of cabin designs provided in the pattern or your own design, or left unadorned.

Two seam finish options are also given for the pattern and include instructions for creating these finishes.

The pattern features alteration instructions for different sizes at Bust-Waist-Hip, Shorten and Lengthen, and Full Bust Adjustments.”

What’s missing in the description are the pockets, which are noted as “weltless” pockets, but which we used to call “letterbox” pockets.

So all in all, a fairly comprehensive pattern for such a simple shape, and I couldn’t wait to make it.


I chose an organic cotton which I had bought in India, and please note the embellishment. Done with chain stitch and variegated thread. This has to be the easiest way ever of jazzing up what would otherwise have been rather dull fabric.

A close up of one of the weltless pockets and the fabric.



I used a fairly strong stitch for my topstitching around the yoke and the little teepee pattern over the back pleat, as I wanted it to stand out.IMG_6156 (dragged)

I had a very small amount of fabric so had to do some piecing to get the dress cut out – situation normal then! I was going to do a centre back seam, but managed to put it at the front, but I think it’s ok. I also had to add a little bit to the sleeves. The dress is extremely short, but there are a couple of “renovations” to the pattern (how cute is that, given the name of the pattern?), one of which is a hem band, and so I managed to squeeze this out of my fabric. However, the hem band is supposed to be quite long with a normal hem, but I chose to double the band up, using the burrito method to attach it to the dress, and this has given a lovely heavy feel to the dress and it is now a perfect length for me, plus the inside of the hem looks really nice as there are no visible edges.


I was a bit concerned about the width of the back and wondered if I’d look a bit second trimester, but I’ve gotta tell you, I really like it.


As to the pattern: there are a number of tutorials on the website, and the pattern instructions are really clear and easy to follow. the alteration instructions are comprehensive, although I didn’t use any of them.

This was the first of two such dresses, and I’m going to give the second one its own post as I really like it too.



22 thoughts on “Blueprints for sewing: Cabin dress

  1. This is just lovely. The fabric suits the simplicity of the design so well. And the hem band is brilliant.

    I love the pockets! I’ve made a jumpsuit with the same kind of weltless pockets from a BurdaStyle magazine, and think they’re ingenious.

  2. I had completely forgotten about that kind of pocket! Made it in a jacket years and years ago, in a fleece that was another color on the reverse side, so that the contrast showed through. And what a great choice for that fabric!

  3. I love what you did with the fabric. Did you use an embroidery machine and embroidery thread and did you cut out the ieces first? The length is perfect, showing your lovely legs.

    1. I didn’t know whether this colour would do anything for me, given my rather olive skin, but I think it’s ok. I like the length too – not too short and not too long. This would look nice on you!

  4. The close-up on pockets shows how amazing they are and I love the back pleat too (not second trimester at all!) and this deep hem, wow. Bref, another one to put on my endless list!

  5. Lovely, lovely dress! The top-stitching embellishments take this dress to the next level. Love! Need to investigate the burrito hem band method…..! 🙂

  6. I am looking at this from Sidangoli, Halmahera, Indonesia, as I wait for my husband to return from birding. Found it via the Sew Your Stash Facebook group! The dress looks great, you look great in it, the embellishment idea is inspired. you look better in both of your versions than the designer does, I think. Glad you shared!

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