Last winter I decided to make this nautical broadcloth into a breezy summer shirtdress–isn’t it funny how I always have the urge to make sundresses in the dead of winter, and once summer gets into full swing all I can think of is tweed and tights? In any case, I was without a sewing machine for a solid three months, and so by the time I was able to realize the dress, it was practically summer here in Portland.
The pattern, of course, is McCall’s 6696, as that is the only shirtdress pattern I have. (I’d like to try the Hawthorn, but I don’t really know if Colette patterns will ever fit my small upper body.) I made some adjustments from my green shirtdress, taking in the waist, lengthening the darts, and trying to make the whole thing generally smaller without tracing a smaller size. I also left off the sleeves, obviously, but the armholes are somewhat too large. I left the back gathers, but combined with the too-big armscyes and my forward shoulders, I feel like it makes the dress look too big and my shoulders look very round. It may be too late at this point, but I might go in and take some of the gathers out because I just don’t care for the way it looks.
(In this photo: my terrible posture, and probably half the reason for my square shoulders. I don’t even notice when my shoulders are around my ears, it’s so habitual.)
I used a circle skirt instead of either of the pattern options, because it looks good with a petticoat, and I don’t need a pattern piece for it (the truth comes out! I wear circle skirts all the time because I’m too stingy with my tracing paper to use patterns).
I gave the waistband some negative ease, because that’s what I like, but unfortunately forgot about the inevitable gaping that would result. A couple of hooks and eyes fixed that easily enough.
When I started this dress I was using only my straight stitch machine, and dreading the buttonholes. Then I found a vintage Kenmore with an awesome buttonhole attachment for only $20! Now it’s broken, and I’m not sure how to fix it, but at least I got two garments worth of buttonholes out of it… And the buttons match so well!
What else… I put the armhole binding on flat, thinking it would be easier that way, but neglected to understitch, so it rolled. Oops. Luckily it’s a busy print. I also tried to fix the collar drafting issue that my last iteration of this pattern had, but even with pinching an inch out of the collar and collar stand pieces, they were still too long! It’s a good thing I never button the top button anyway. I didn’t even bother making the buttonhole functional.
Overall, it’s not perfect (nothing ever is), but I like it a LOT. It’s a good casual dress (worn here with my fantastically grubby Converse), but it also looks great with red lipstick and red heels, and as soon as Zappos restocks those red saltwater sandals in my size, it’ll be a perfect summer outfit! It’s also lots of fun to wear with my giant red petticoat. I’m not sure how well it will transition to winter, as there is a distinct lack of red cardigans in my closet, but it’s definitely a winner for hot weather.