Another round with Lenox


Singin’ in the rain on my grubby deck!

Why yes I have been doing silly poses in my garden this weekend, what have you been up to?

I think I’m giddy with the joy of actually finishing this make. I suspect sewing a shirtdress is rather like decorating a wedding cake or tiling a bathroom. You forget how complicated and time consuming it is until you start another one?

It’s finished!!!!!!!!

This isn’t my first Lenox shirtdress. I’m actually surprised it took me so long to make another , its a lovely pattern. This time around I used a crisp cotton poplin from Spotlight. So much easier to sew than rayon, so stable! But boy did I use some poplin. Disclaimer: complete operator error. I managed to cut the sleeves pieces all the same way (hint, if your cutting multiple pieces on a single layer of fabric, follow the instructions and turn your pattern piece over hey?)

So after quick trip to Spotlight (thankfully only a 10 minute drive), I purchased another meter and away we go. Or not. In the flurry of pattern pieces (there are a lot of pattern pieces, especially as I had traced some off to grade between sizes) I managed to completely miss cutting out my button band. Naturally that needed 1.25 meters of length, not the extra meter I had. Cue another trip to Spotlight. Do they do a frequent flyer card I wonder?

The “don’t make me go back for more fabric” face right there…

This Lenox is version A, with a full collar, and pleats rather than gathers. I thought this would work better with the stiffer poplin. Now I’m pretty loose goose with pattern matching , but did I think about the fact the small “flags” on the print are directional. Um, did I go to the gym today? Of course not.

So naturally when I realized I had cut my button bands with the print facing the wrong way I briefly considered buying yet MORE fabric & re-cutting them. Then I had a Chardonnay & gave myself a talking too. Only my Mother would notice. Hopefully?

Yep, Mum noticed…

I did however re-cut my waistband, I’m think it’s an issue with my grading, but once again I was about 2.5 cm short when I came to attach my waistband. This time I measured before attaching, added that extra inch & re-cut, which I’m glad I did. My seams don’t exactly match my pleats because of the grading, so it that kind of thing will keep you awake at night, check & adjust before you attach the waistband.

I have lost a few kilos since my last Lenox, so I cut a 16 C/D Bust grading to an 18 waist & hips. The waist & hips are spot on, but I think next time I would go for an E/F cup, I have some pulling lines on the bodice which I think are due to a lack of space for the girls up front. I’d also like a little extra room to put another button on the band at the top.


A full sleeve & bicep extension pack for this pattern had been released, I used the full bicep piece for this one (I did a full bicep adjustment myself last time, I’ve managed to misfile/lose that piece so being able to just print off the new sleeve & cut it out was rather handy!)

I wasn’t sure the pleats would be the go for me, sometimes they skim, sometimes they balloon out & give you an arse the size of Australia. I think we prefer skim yes? Of course pockets are always on point.

Skim skim skim…

Now, shirtdress means buttons. Lots & lots of buttons. My Janome does a nifty job of button holes (such a step up from my old Toyota, 4 step manual process!!) but you’ve still got to sew those buttons on. I thought I was terribly clever figuring out a bodge job on my machine to do it , rather than my labored hand stitching. I know, it ridiculous, but like peeling potatoes, there are just some minor tasks I really don’t enjoy. Button sewing is one of those.

I think we can say that’s a fail?

Well button sewing can be hazardous! This is even more ridiculous when you consider I actually have a button foot, I just didn’t know how to use it. Then I went to my sisters for lunch today & found a tutorial for just that in her Threads magazine. I really needed it yesterday, but hey, I’m sure I’ll make more shirt dresses.

I’d like to make one with the long sleeve option, perversely so I can roll the sleeves up. Nothing says “I mean business, let’s crack on & you can also admire my watch/bracelet/handsome forearm while I’m at it” like a rolled up sleeve. I love the contrast between feminine dress & masculine sleeve.

I spend so much time sewing, I have no time to garden…honest.

Its been a slow process but I’m happy with my dress, although sadly given the arctic air con in my office I need to find a wee cardigan to match.

Hope you have had a fabulous week, I’ll leave you with Yorkshire puddings I’m very pleased with (although I showed my Mum & all she could say was “ewwww look at that bloody meat”! Sigh…) Edit: A few people have asked me for the recipe for my Yorkshire puds, so here it is !

In a jug whick together 3 eggs & 300 ml of whole milk with a good pinch of salt & pepper. Leave to rest for approx 30 mins, then whisk in 1 cup (150 grams) of plain flour. The consistancy should be like single cream, if its to thick add a bit more milk. Heat your roasting dish/muffin pan in a good hot 220C/430F oven, with a bit of oil (or better still, beef dripping!) Β in each dish. When its really hot, quickly take out of the oven & pour in your batter, it should sizzle when it hits the fat. Put straight back in the oven & cook for approx 30 mins until puffed & golden. DROWN in good gravy!

Perfect rugby watching supper (don’t worry, there was gravy too!)

And my husband being deeply disloyal to Tommy & Tuppence, fraternizing with George, who my sister is currently dog sitting:)

Animal whisperer x

Have a fab week, apparently Spring is approaching in my neck of the woods, despite the fact the wind is currently rolling straight off the snow!

Kristina x



  1. That dress is fabulous! It turned out to accentuate everything perfectly! Enjoy wearing it and all the compliments you are sure to receive.


    1. plumkitchen says:

      That’s really kind, thank you ! It’s a lovely dress to wear, although I wish it would warm up here a bit !πŸ˜€


  2. Judy Nolan says:

    This made me laugh so much! I must be your never-quite-cut-it-out-right twin; I always end up having to buy that extra metre ☺ The fit looks great but I empathise with not enough boobage on a dress. Looking forward to your next make x


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks Judy! My Mum is always “but why do you buy so much extra fabric ???” She’s a child of the Depression, so waste is an issue. My ineptitude is why Mum.πŸ‘πŸ˜‰


  3. Inna says:

    Hi Kristina! As always I laughed out loud so many times while reading this that I think even my colleague in the next office started getting nervous. I just love a funny post about sewing adventures. What else is a girl to do when there is not enough fabric or the buttons just don’t want to get sewn on – have a glass of Chardonnay and laugh.
    The dress looks great! I had to squint at the screen to see what you meant about the directional flags. Nobody will notice, not even your Mother!!! I admired your first version and this one looks equally beautiful. I really want to make one too and I finally figured out why Cashmerette patterns do not fit me properly (it came to me in my sleep!). And I confirmed with very helpful Carrie at Cashmerette that I will probably need to reverse the forward shoulder adjustment they build into their patterns. Now armed with this knowledge, I just have to figure out how to fix this and I am good to go. And I am pre-warned about all the problems I may encounter on the way to a successful shirt-dress. I’ll buy about 10 meters of fabric from the start πŸ˜‰ Thank you!
    I love your attitude and your perseverance. You are a real inspiration!


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Oh Inna that such a lovely comment , thank youπŸ˜€ glad you enjoy the posts, especially the disasters (I love reading about those too!)πŸ˜„ Look fwd to seeing your Cashmerette makes , fitting is so complicated, but great when you get it right!πŸ‘πŸ₯‚


      1. plumkitchen says:

        That was us clinking a glass of Chardonnay by the way!!πŸ₯‚


  4. Laurpud says:

    I love your dress & OMG your dinner looks SO GOOD!!! I like rare beef, myself, & I haven’t had a Yorkshire pudding in YEARS (I hate cooking)


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks! Lucky I love cooking, because I sure do love eating! πŸ™‚


  5. Patricia bee says:

    Hello. The dress is amazing on you but I must confess I would love to know you receipt for Yorkshire pudding. My husbands parents were from York and I am from Portugal. We are all now Canadian. But my receipt seems a bit to eggy. Can u share your tips? Mine do puff up but they don’t taste as bread like as I have had them in a traditional English home. Best wishes.


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Hi Patricia, thanks so much, I have updated my blog post to include the recipe, hope they work well for you (what a great person making so much effort for everyones dinner!) x


  6. Deborah says:

    I am in awe of anyone who could make a shirtdress, never mind all the ups and downs – that just gives it character πŸ™‚ It looks just lovely. Now we need the Spring so you can wear it!


    1. plumkitchen says:

      Thanks, well it was a TINY bit warmer today, so here’s hoping!:)


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