Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Shirt-dress success - McCalls 6885


This shirt-dress was posted on the Britex website.  And I thought I have a fabric very similar to this, a dotted denim shirting that I bought last summer at Fabricville. I had intended to make a shirt-dress with it, but didn't get around to it. Kind of glad that I didn't cut it then because I think it will be perfect for McCalls 6885 that I just made up in seersucker above.

The seersucker is very light fabric and I think that might be why it works better as a tunic than as a dress. But this denim-y fabric is a little heavier and should have just the right weight for the pattern.

I will make it with short sleeves and will cut the hem straight with side slits.

I was spurred on to make this version after seeing the pattern on this site.


I will also eliminate the little pleat at the front at the bottom of the placket, I don't see any reason for this pleat and I will simply fold it out all the way down to the hem before cutting out, then cut straight down the sides for a straight hem and will sew the sides leaving slits at the bottom.

I have often thought that making the same pattern two or three times is a good idea. After all, ready-to-wear is made after numerous samples are sewn to work out the kinks, to work out what fabric works best, etc. And yet we sew-ists hope to achieve success on our very first try. Often we do, but many times there is that little something that bothers us about the finished garment. Rather than just remain frustrated about it, why not make the pattern again and fix those problems?  The second version will sew up much quicker, it will probably fit better, and you may just hit that sweet spot. Success depends so much upon hitting that sweet spot where the finished garment meets or exceeds our expectations.

June 21, progress made and dress is finished.

Front of dress with placket opening; these get better each time I make them.

Side view, hem has been straightened and short slits left in the side seams.

Back yoke with added pleat at centre back. The pattern didn't have a yoke piece, so I just cut one from another pattern and shifted the back over from the fold to allow for a pleat. I think it adds some interest to the back of a garment and the self-lined yoke sits better on the shoulders than a single layer of fabric.

The back of the dress. 

My favourite part of this pattern - the collar and collar band. This pattern comes together so well that I may just use this collar and band pattern piece for other shirts.
I used the method that Louise Cutting uses for collars, sew the bands on the neckline, then sew the rounded front edges, leaving the top of the bands open to insert the collar.

Then sew the finished collar onto the inside collar band, and tuck in the raw edges of the outer band over the encased collar and top-stitch all around the band. This produces such a nice edge on the band. I used to use the technique of Margaret Islander, which is slightly different than this method. I have found that I have more control with this method and get good results every time.
Not one hand stitch on the collar, everything done with the machine for a professional finish.

I am so pleased with this dress and with this pattern. I have plans to make another version, perhaps the colour-blocked one. I saw a woman at church with a beige dress and a black border, and immediately thought it would work in this pattern!  She wore it with a black cardigan, black shoes, and a black chunky necklace and did it ever look sharp.

Next up: a dress for my daughter Elena.

Fabric Purchased:  0
Fabric Sewn:  2.5 metres cotton print


  1. cool is important. We will be traveling to Ontario for the month of July. We have become acclimatized to the coast where summer temps are moderate, but Ontario is central and has the heat and humidity of the southern US in the height of summer.

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    1. Beautiful pattern Julie! Love the fabric ... Hope to see it in July!