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Friday, November 28, 2014

Finished Shirtdress: McCalls 6696

For a while now, I've wanted a shirtdress in my wardrobe. Shirtdresses from the store never fit (the buttons always, always gape horrendously on my chest), so the logical solution is to sew one that fits me perfectly. I was a little apprehensive about sewing one, so I kept putting it off. I thought it would take to long and be too complicated. But I finally took the plunge and sewed up McCalls 6696, and wow, was this dress easy! Yes, there are a lot of steps, but it's nothing too difficult. Like I said before, I was finally sold on making a shirtdress after seeing some great ones from Mary at Idle Fancy. (Thanks for the inspiration!)

I chose a lightweight denim fabric for my dress. It was really nice to work with - sewed up beautifully, although it does fray easily. I serged all the exposed inside seams to prevent it from unraveling.

I didn't have to make too many fitting adjustments, other than a slight FBA (no gaping buttons!). I cut a 12, (D cup bodice) and it fit without any other adjustments. The other changes I made were for design reasons, rather than fit.

There was a lot of handstitching called for with this pattern. I can handle a little hand stitching, but there was a LOT for this dress. So I just topstitched those areas instead, which I think makes the dress look more professional and finished anyway. (Sorry for the bad lighting in the pics below - the dress is definitely blue, not gray!)

Topstitched waistband and button bands
Topstitched yoke back and collar band

I changed the back gathers to darts because I did not like how much it bunched out on my muslin. Maybe in certain fabrics it would look nice, but I just prefer a more fitted look for this dress.

I shortened the sleeves by 1.5 inches. The dress was actually finished, sleeves hemmed and all, but I thought the longer sleeves and wide sleeve hem made the dress look a little matronly. So I chopped off a bit of the sleeves, and I definitely prefer them shorter. Finally, I also took about 3.5 inches off the bottom hem. The original hem hit me below the knees, which again, I thought made the dress look frumpy. What a difference a few inches can make! I should have taken a before picture, but I wasn't thinking.

I definitely need to perfect my buttonhole-making skills. They're all functional, just not the prettiest... When I tried on the dress after it was done, I noticed a little pulling on the waistband. Probably wouldn't be a problem if the waistband was a quarter inch longer. So to prevent it from gaping there, I added a few snaps to help keep it in place. Worked like a charm!

I can see this dress in a variety of fabrics for very different looks, so you will probably be seeing this pattern again in the future!


  1. Great job! This is so flattering on you. Please pin it to our fan gallery on Pinterest if you don't mind:

  2. Very cute and you did a fab job.

  3. This is adorable on you. I really like the pleated skirt. Nicely done. :)

  4. It looks really pretty.I liked this dress.

  5. This is adorable! Sometimes you just need to chop off the bottom and the hem length on this one looks great! And those tights!!! Love!

    1. Thanks! The hem length can make such a difference!

  6. Wow! Love what you did with the back. !

  7. Hey this looks awesome. I love the adjustments to the back bodice - I might try darts next time - I popped little pleats in at the waist but omitted the gathers at the yoke.

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  9. Nice dress! I also use this pattern to make a black denim dress with white topstitching. Mine also has pulling in the waistband... I like the snaps idea.