HEY ya’ll, gwarn and grab a cuppa while I spill the tea on this make…now slip slowwwww-ly; it’s gonna be a long one (but oh so worth it).
Check this, a search in a conventional dictionary for the world ‘popular’ may reveal the following results:
‘liked, admired, or enjoyed by many people or by a particular person or group’
Contrast that definition with what you would find in the Sewist’s Dictionary:
I ain’t even playing y’all. This shirtdress has gotta be the crème-de-la-crème of shirtdress patterns. It’s everywhere! M6696 has 5 views including a slip dress. It has 2 different skirts, sleeve variations and optional pockets and belt loops. This is also one of the few McCalls patterns that comes with 4 different cup sizes: A-D.
I think the pattern is a good skill building pattern because of the placket, buttonholes, collar and sleeves (assuming you make the sleeved version). I would probably rate it advanced beginner for these reasons.
I used a size 16 in the ‘C’ cup bodice but blended to an 18 at the bust and waist of the front bodice only. If ya know me, you know that ain’t all. I STILL had to make a few fitting adjustments:
shortened ½” between the shoulder and bust
shortened ½” between bust and waist
¼” sway back adjustment
½” sloping shoulder adjustment
½” forward shoulder adjustment; and
lowered the bust dart ½”
Once I was satisfied with the fit, I went ahead and modified the pattern for aesthetic reasons. I removed 1” width from the CB to reduce the amount of gathers. I also reduced the width of the collar stand by ⅛” and by ¼” on the collar, as I felt they were a little too big and clumsy, as drafted. Having worn the dress, I think I need to lower the bust dart just a tad and increase the sway back adjustment in order to get the waistband to level out at the back.
I ordered 3 yards of this fabric from Stylemakerfabrics.
Gorg-e-ous… enit? Well, I certainly endorse it! The fabric had a nice crisp hand which I thought would be perfect for a shirt or shirtdress. The only downsides are that: 1) the fabric is 44” wide and 2) is a directional print. This meant I had to be very careful cutting out my pattern pieces to make sure the print was the right way up. Yardage limitations also meant pattern matching was not even an option. DANG!
Initially, I wanted to make View B , but ended up settling for View A because… (you guessed it), I did not have enough fabric to cut the sleeves! Still, the recommended yardage for View A in my size was 3 ⅝”. That meant I had to work some magic to get my pieces to fit. I reduced the length of the skirt by 1”, cut the back skirt on the fold, and removed 1 pleat from the back skirt and another from the front skirt. I truly had a ‘make it work’ moment…(hey Tim Gunn – I see you!).
As far as construction goes, I sorta did my own thing… no surprise there, right? I burritoed my yokes to enclose the yoke and shoulder seams, and then French seamed the ENTIRE dress, pockets and all!
I’m sure this sounds like gibberish to some of ya, but peep this: Google is ya best friend! Do you hear me?! You can find tons of tutorials for the burrito method (that have nothing to do with eating, and everything to do with sewing), and also for sewing French seams – trust me: I’m a google Vet!
The pattern instructions have you hem the skirt before attaching the placket. I ignored this, attached the placket first and then turned a ½” double-folded hem (instead of the 2” the pattern allows for). I’m 5ft 8.5” and since I already had to shorten the skirt for it to fit on the fabric, I thought I would reduce the hem by the same amount i.e. 1”.
As far as the collar instructions go… well, I disregarded them completely! They say experience teaches wisdom, and from my experience, constructing the collar, as per the instructions = MASSIVE headache, for me at least! I’ve since learnt an (arguably) easier way of collar construction: I call it the ‘kittenishbehaviour way’ since Sian’s YouTube channel was where I first learnt it. Head on over there and take a look – I promise you its good one!
The sleeveless version uses bias binding to finish the armscye. Let me confess, I hate bias-binding finishes. Ugh… anyways…I pulled up my big-girl panties and went for it. I stitched a line 3/8” away from the raw edge of the armhole and lined up the crease of my binding against this line. I attached the bias, trimmed the excess fabric and pressed the remaining seam allowance toward the binding and then under-stitched my seam allowance to the bias. Most people don’t under stitch their binding, but I find it helps me to roll my binding nicely to the inside of the garment before topstitching. If you’ve never tried it, you should give it a go. It’s an extra step and requires more thread (lol) but it does make life a little easier.
If you follow the instructions slavishly, you’ll end up doing a fair amount of hand stitching on this dress. I only hand sewed a few areas: I slipstitched the waistband lining to the skirt (because I love the finish it gives) and also slipstitched the collar band lining to the main (because IMO it’s easier than tryna manoeuver around the collar band)! Additionally, I hand sewed my label to the inner back yoke of the dress, and my buttons.
Talking about buttons, I decided to use pink buttons to pick up on the pink in the print. I had two shades of pink on hand, both ½” in size. I ended up making 10 buttonholes on this dress, and so had to use the lighter pink buttons, even though I preferred the darker shade (since I only had 8 of the latter in my stash). If I took the time to plan out my makes from start to finish, I would have known to order more buttons *covers face*.
Before all your tea is done, lemme warn you, right quick, about these pockets. I AM A POCKET LOVING GIRL – and the bigger, the better. The disappointing news? Whilst M6696 does include a pocket pattern piece, it is ridiculously small – and I’d probably only be able to fit 2 teabags in each pocket. That is a big NO-NO. Needless to say, the next time I make this pattern, I’ll be sure to upsize the pockets, and you probably should too!
*Whispers* let me tell you a secret…
I accidentally snipped a hole in my outter collar band.
Don’t ask me when or how I managed this and there really aren’t any blog-appropriate words to describe how pissed off I was with this discovery. Hear me out, the hole wasn’t huge, and since I will probably never wear the shirtdress buttoned up to the neck, you won’t know its there… but I know so *big dutty strupes*. Anyways, I hand darned the hole, and the button sorta covers it, but given the level of care I took with the rest of the dress you can surely understand why I’m P.O about it. Note to self – forget the mistake; remember the lesson!
Finally, since masks are the newest fashion accessory, I used my fabric scraps to make a matching mask. As far as I’m concerned, if i HAVE to wear a mask, may as well make it fashion!
Lordly Lord, that was a mouthful, and you probably need to top up your tea cup so I gotta love ya and leave ya til the next time!