Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Finished McCall's/Burda shirtdress


The tale of three shirtdresses, merged into one: the finale! It was one of those projects that unexpectedly took forever. This dress started as a McCall's 6696 for Christmas. 
After tracing the pattern I wanted some more drama, and drama is exactly what I got. In more ways than one, ha! 
In an earlier post I described how I selected the bodice of Burda 5/2010 #137, a self drafted 3/4 circle skirt and the sleeves of said M6696.
All three elements came with their own set of troubles. Sigh.

I made a muslin for the bodice and made adjustments for forward shoulders, a small FBA, and added an inch to the indecently low neckline. Because of the altered shoulders I needed to adjust the collar and lapels as well. They were constructed in a rather unusual way:


The bodice had a cut-on facing in the front, but no facing for the back neckline was included so I drafted one. 


On the left you can see the facing, and the collar during construction.
Due to shortage of fabric I had to redraft the skirt to a half circle skirt. On the front I added extra width for the cut-on button band and facings, in line with the bodice facings.

After cutting the sleeves I had some doubts. Cruella de Vil vibes?
I went looking for pictures all over the internet but, other than the envelope pictures, no one seemed to have to used the long sleeves with pointed cuffs of M6696. 

A quick poll on Instagram showed most of the reactions were in favour of the cuffs. Democratic decision made (and not regretted!).

So....Bodice? Check! Sleeves? Check! Skirt? Check! Construction time!


This happy dance was days later, after testing buttonholes, sewing eleven of them, using a chalk marker to get the hem straight and handstitching four metres of hem, finished with satin bias tape.


Will I make this dress again? Probably yes. After all the work put into fitting this pattern mix it deserves a remake. I imagine a sleeveless summer dress in bright floral fabric or white linen. 
What will I change? Looking at the pictures I think the curved waistline on the bodice will look better if it's straightened out. And I will shorten the vertical darts. In fact I will revisit the darts on this one. Odd how revealing pictures can be, compared to what you see in the mirror. Especially when working with black fabric and artificial lights. But it's nothing that can't be fixed!


Now is the glass half full or half empty? In other words, did I finish my Christmas dress ridiculously late or marvelously early? At least there's one item less on my December 2015 to do list!


Now that the Christmas leftover drinks are out I'd like to thank the Empress of the 1000 Shirtdresses for hosting an inspiring challenge and for pushing back the deadline so many times that even the slowest of shirtdress sewists could finish in time.


Thanks, Mary. Cheers!

24 comments:

  1. I like the dipped hemline - the last photo shows it really well. I agree, in a summer print, probably not needed. The dipped front lengthens your torso nicely - and goes with the sleeve cuffs. A really stunning dress, so yes, you are all set for Xmas 2015.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah Liz. I disagree on the curved waistline, I feel it makes me look wider than necessary. As for the hemline, there's no dipping there. I checked and double checked, using my trusty chalk puff marker, it's absolutely straight. On some pictures midfront looks longer, in other pictures it looks shorter than the sides. All depending on the way I stand. I'm considering adding a waist stay to reduce the influence of the weight of all that fabric below my waist.

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  2. What a lovely "Easter" dress! Isn't it always the way that the project that seems crystal clear to start has things that will trip you up. It looks great, though, and worth the wait.

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    1. Some lessons learnt. Like: pick a pattern and be happy with it, instead of using three. And buy plenty of fabric so you don't have to change your plans along the way ;)

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    1. Thanks, Kathy. I'll be making some minor improvements first and then start a quick and easy new project!

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  4. Beautiful! thanks for the inspiration.

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  5. I like the waistline too.
    It is part of what makes you appear taller and thinner. It works together with the neckline and the longer hem.
    My first thought was how the elements worked together for a very nice finish.
    At no time did your 'waist looks wider' enter my thoughts. You're being unnessessarily picky. (Well that sounded harsh).
    The dress is lovely, the sleeves hit you just right.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! I'm pretty happy with my dress and the waistline curve was a design decision carefully thought out for this dress. After moving around in it for the photoshoot I just feel the skirt will sit better when the waist seam follows my natural waist, hence my note for future reference and thoughts about a waist stay. We'll see how that looks. At 5'8" (that's without the 4" heels) I don't worry too much about appearing less tall ;)

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  6. What a lovely dress. Better than a lot of the shirtdresses that look very casual (unless that is what you are looking for). Yours is very chic and a very classic look. Almost retro. Love it.

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    1. Thanks, Beverley! I can totally see myself making up M6696 in cotton for a casual dress but I thought this jacquard and blingy buttons were asking for a more festive pattern. I like how the classic look works with the subtle shine of the fabric, although hard to catch on pictures. Glad you like it too!

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    1. Thanks, Carmen. Now show us your cuffs too! Ow, you just reminded me I forgot to mention the horrible pattern instructions for adding them to the sleeves!

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  8. Very Classy-- All of your efforts paid off well. It would make a nice summer frock also.

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    1. Thanks, Robin! I do have some plans for a summer version!

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  9. That is one beautiful dress! Very classic, very flattering, and good for any season. Seeing your dress makes me want to alter my sewing plans for the year and fit one of these into the "plan"!

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    1. Thanks, Karen. Although this dress won't be worn on a weekly basis I like to be prepared for last minute invitations and surprise nights out. I agree it will work for any season :)

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  10. I love this dress! It is so you... It fits you perfectly! Let's make summer version as well ... please!

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  11. Beautiful!! You did a terrific job. I wish I sewed better, sigh....

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  12. I think it's a lovely dress, and you've convinced me to try the pointed cuffs! I was wondering how much fabric you bought? After seeing this version, I'm considering drafting a half circle skirt instead of the pleated one of the pattern. It seems more flattering and modern. I'm planning to use a wool Liberty fabric, with a very silky drape.

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    1. Thank you! I think I bought 3 meters of 150 cm wide, but I'm not completely sure. I didn't use the bodice of M6696 and added a bigger collar and it was quite a puzzle to fit everything on the yardage. Good luck with your dress!

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