The McGyver shirt dress: Simplicity Lisette Traveler

Traveler Front

One of my favourite Instagram accounts is that of the American designer behind ‘Poppy von Frohlich‘, who makes beautiful woolen womenswear, ranging from flannel shirts to winter coats. Her pictures really inspired me to finally try my hand at plaid matching, and what better project to start on than a plaid shirt dress?

I’ve been looking out for the perfect shirt dress pattern for some time now – a  design that could be made up into a cosy flannel dress for cooler weather or with more luxurious fabric for a smarter version (like this lovely velvet YSL dress).

Judging from the line drawings on the Simplicity (2246) Lisette Traveler pattern, it looked like it would fit the bill perfectly. It also helps that the pattern has gotten great reviews across a wide range of sewing blogs so there’s a wonderful selection of sewn-up versions to preview online.

Traveler Back Lady Stitcher

Sorry for the wrinkled back view! The only sunny window for taking photos was a few hours after I had put the dress on!

I sourced the brushed cotton from a UK seller on eBay and used it to make the Traveler dress in Version A. This version is supposed to have two lower pockets as well, but I left them off and cut the upper pockets and the plackets on the bias to shake up the plaid pattern. Matching that plaid takes a lot of effort! Hats off to all those people who’ve made several plaid Archers! Despite all my efforts, I didn’t quite match it across the side seams, but I’m happy with how well the front panels, plackets and pockets worked out. I made matching buttons out of one of those ‘self-cover’ button sets.

I have quite narrow shoulders and I think this falls just a little too wide for my shape. It would certainly fit better if I buttoned it right up to the top, but I’m not really comfortable wearing this style like that so I’ll just get on with it being the way it is! I’ll definitely measure the shoulders on the pattern pieces before trying version C, which is the next one I’d like to make from this pattern.

So, the McGyver connection. Well, when I was a child, that show was basically our ‘family viewing’ time. I hadn’t seen it since I was really young and didn’t really remember much about, so when I came across the first episode of it by accident recently, I had to check it out! It turns out that while I didn’t retain any of the storylines or general information about the McGyver character, his wardrobe has had an unconscious influence on me after all these years:

His Shirt

Nice plaid matching, McG.



39 thoughts on “The McGyver shirt dress: Simplicity Lisette Traveler

  1. This is really, really cute! I love it! I bought this pattern when I first learned how to sew, but it was way too ambitious for me back then, and more recently I haven’t been able to imagine myself in a shirtdress. But I really, really like the plaid- it’s such a nice choice! I may have to make one when fall comes around! Really beautiful work!

    • Thanks Sonja! 🙂 It’s funny how your pattern taste changes over time. The first few patterns I bought are totally impractical for me – 40s and 50s evening dresses! I still love how the designs but doubt I’ll be making them any time soon!

  2. thank you, I am so happy my sewing helped to inspire your sewing. I love the dress and fabric!! Maybe we could do something fun where I send you one of my patterns that i made and you can sew it up and we can see your spin on it. keep in touch. Thank you again!

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comment! And that sounds amazing – I’d love to try one of your patterns!! I love your design aesthetic and really admire your focus on sustainability. It’s great to watch your design and production process unfold, too. Thanks for sharing so much insight into your work!

  3. Well done on your plaid matching! You have done an awesome job.
    I have narrow shoulders too and its difficult to know if the fit will be right until you have laboured over the finished garment for hours.
    Good idea to reduce the shoulder width next time. Use a favourite shirt and measure the width to get a feel for how much you should reduce on the next one.

    • Thanks Caroline! Good tip about measuring a well-fitting shirt, will definitely do that next time around especially as the next version I’m planning is more fitted anyway.

  4. I agree that you could have reduced the shoulder width a little but it looks great nonetheless! Smart to do the placket on the bias, it adds a nice touch. I’ve had a shirt dress on my wish list for ages. I have a couple of patterns but somehow I never choose one as the next project.

    • Thanks Emmely! Yes, I think the shoulder width probably wouldn’t be as much an issue if the sleeve heads sat in differently, but it would be good to try closer fit on next version. If you still like your patterns, I say go make yourself a shirt dress! I get loads of wear out of the one I made for my vintage pattern pledge. (And hoping to do the same with this one!)

  5. Lovely – as always 🙂 Just nominated you for a Liebster award – not sure whether you’ve ever done it before. it’s up on my blog if you want to take part!

  6. Lovely! I’ve had this pattern in my stash since it first came out and had meant to make it a few times, but sadly it went into storage accidentally and was there for the past two years. It will finally resurface when I get to setting up my new sewing space this week and you may have just convinced me to bump it up the sewing queue.

  7. I’ve just been browing your blog (What? Can’t believe I haven’t been following you!) You make such lovely stuff and this is no exception 🙂 Plaids still terrify but I’ll put it on my “to-conquer” list, haha 🙂 You did a great job!

    • Thanks for the lovely comment Jo! Ha, I’m not sure I managed to conquer plaids myself but I’m willing to give it another shot some time! I love following your sewing and knitting projects, you have an amazing handmade wardrobe 🙂

  8. Love your blog. In just wondering where you get your simplicity patterns from I’m searching for stockists in Ireland for a particular Lisette pattern I spotted but can’t find it online anywhere !

    • Hi Gillian, sorry for my late reply! I actually bought that Lisette pattern ages ago during a sale on the official Simplicity website. I think it was back around Easter, and I haven’t seen a sale on their site since! You might have already tried them, but did you check Hickey’s? I’m pretty sure they had their catalogue the last time I was in, though I’m not sure what price they were. The postage from Simplicity to Ireland isn’t too bad in comparison to other pattern companies, so if you have specific patterns in mind, it might be worth ordering from them directly. Hope that helps!

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