The Black Linen Shirt Dress – Vogue 8903

Hey up! Now that summer seems to finally have arrived in the UK, what better time to share my version of Vogue 8903: a classic shirt dress in black linen. This is my June Minerva Blogger Network make and you can find the full post with lots of nerdy sewing deets here:

Vogue 8903 shirt dress in black linen

Full disclosure: I received all the supplies (fabric, pattern and buttons) to make my dress free of charge from Minerva, in return for a 500+ word post with pictures over on their blog. There was no requirement to blog here, and all opinions are my own!

Interestingly, it seems I’ve unwittingly made something that’s really on trend this summer, as I discovered reading the Foldline Sew the Trends blog  post the other day. Yep, both linen and shirt dresses are in this year. Now, I’ve never been one to follow trends–why would I want to look the same as everyone else?–and when I was younger I would stop wearing anything I liked if it came back into fashion.

These days, though, I just don’t care either way. One of the many wonderful things about making my own clothes is that I can make what I want to wear. I’ve never much enjoyed clothes shopping simply because I’ve always had a vision in my head of what I was after, and have rarely managed to find that in the shops. It’s not so difficult with simple basics like knit tops and leggings, but anything more elevated is tricky. Now I have the sewing skills and experience to be able to make the garments I set out to make and have them fit me. That’s amazing and definitely my number one goal when I started sewing. It’s taken a few years to get to this point, but I feel like I’ve finally arrived!

Black linen shirt dress Vogue v8903


When Andy first saw me wearing this dress he complimented it, and then asked me if I was channelling Rizzo! Hah! I’ve been planning a Rizzo-inspired shirt dress for a couple of years now, but hadn’t actually thought this was it as it’s nowhere near as tight fitting as her Summer Lovin outfit, and doesn’t have the notched collar. However, looking at these pictures it definitely has the vibe:

Rizzo in Summer Lovin outfit

Before you point out that Rizzo is wearing a top and pencil skirt, I know. I just thought a shirt dress might be the way to go for me as I don’t like tight waistbands in the summer. I originally planned to make the Maria Denmark Edith shirt dress in a black stretch woven. I’ve had it in my pattern stash for a couple of years now, but pregnancy got in the way. I’m thinking it could be a project for later this year, but I’m not sure I need two black shirt dresses in my wardrobe.

I’ve made other garments to channel my inner Rizzo, such as my pedal pusher jeans and this cute anchor top, but so far I’ve resisted making anything too “costumey”. I’m thinking maybe it might be a good idea to, though, as Rizzo would be a great fancy dress outfit. I already have a black pencil skirt, so maybe I need to start looking up blouses like the one she’s wearing and bomber jacket patterns!


This dress definitely scores well on the eco-friendly front, as linen is one of the most environmentally sound substrates in terms of how it’s grown and processed. It’s also wonderful in the heat! I wouldn’t have thought a dress with sleeves and a collar would be good in seriously hot weather, but it turns out in linen it’s just perfect. I get to protect my shoulders from burning without having to slather myself in sun lotion.

It’s also warm enough on those cooler summer days, as this linen is a more hefty medium weight. I wouldn’t have thought something that provides some warmth could also be so cool on hot days. It’s like magic! And for extra warmth or sun protection I can even do up all the buttons and show off that perfect collar I achieved:

Black linen shirt dress Vogue v8903

Can you tell I’m in love with my black linen Vogue 8903? I honestly think this might be one of my best makes yet. I levelled up my technical skills, made something that perfectly fits with my vintage-inspired Dramatic Classic style, and have the perfect spring/summer/autumn dress.

Yay for sewing!

Anyone else fallen for linen this year?

What do you reckon? I'd love to hear from you!

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