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June 23

A Novelty Print Shirt Dress

After I finished my first McCalls 6696 Shirt Dress last year, I knew I wanted to make up some other versions.  Time got away from me, good thing it did, as I finally found the perfect fabric to use for my second version.

Novelty M6696

I bought this novelty print from Emma One Sock sometime last year (I think).  I didn’t have a pattern in mind for it at the time so it just sat around in my stash.  I love the print, but didn’t realize the print was on a taupe/flesh tone background; not such a good pairing for a my pale skin-tone.  But this spring, I didn’t seem to care anymore and knew it would be the perfect, light-weight cotton match for this pattern.

Novelty M6696

I really wish I could find a vintage shirt dress pattern that fits as well as this modern McCalls pattern does.  I’ve tried over and over again to sew vintage 50’s shirt dresses but they never seem to turn out right.  At least the novelty print gives it a more vintage flare, which feels more like me.

No shirt dress is complete without pockets.  :D

Novelty M6696

Although you can’t see it in the images… I modified the waistband piece so that it’s easier to alter and fit.

The one thing that I always disliked about this pattern is the the waistband is one continuous piece around the body.  Which means, if you ever need to take in/out at the waist, you have to disassemble the entire dress & button band in the front – which is totally NEVER going to happen!

So I made my waistband into 3 pieces: one back and two fronts – with a side seam at either side.  That way, I can easily take in/let out the side seams to re-fit this dress.

As a side note: I actually do this modification now on nearly every dress & skirt I make.  I know the waistband isn’t clean with a side seam, but practicality is always a win for me!  And I do find my garments just fit better when I have that side seam as I’m curvy with a short waist.

Novelty M6696

And guess what??  I already have taken in the side seams before the first wearing!!  Felix and I have been consciously eating better and as a result I’ve lost a bit of weight. (YAAAYYY!) What’s sad is that between the time I stitched this up to when I was adding on the buttons two weeks later, I found the waistband didn’t fit anymore.

So I unpicked the inside waistband finish, took in the side seams, restitched the inner waistband again and voila, a dress that fits once again.

 Novelty M6696

I decided my dress needed some more flair, so I added this little pocket to the right bodice front.

Novelty M6696

Dark brown vintage buttons – directly from my time at the Paris Flea market.

Novelty M6696

Last but not least – I finally have a backdrop in my own backyard for photos!  I know its just a plain old fence, but it’s a huge improvement for us!  And my empty hanging basket has already been rectified with some pretty purple petunias.

Cheers & Happy Sewing!

  1. Michele / Jun 23 2016

    Love, love, love this dress, from the cut, the style, the fabric, the pattern and especially the pockets. I am going to have to get this pattern because I do love me a shirt dress…now just to find the perfect fabric. Happy sewing, Michele

    • Liz / Jun 23 2016

      Thanks so much Michele. You should stay tuned for my other (modern) shirt dress – its going to be a toss up between this and the other pattern I’ve been using. (Can’t remember the pattern # off hand otherwise I’d be telling you right now.)

  2. Gina / Jun 23 2016

    I love it, especially those buttons! Even though I have like six versions of M6696, I don’t have any with larger buttons like this. I’m definitely adding a version with larger buttons to my list after seeing how cute this is!

    • Liz / Jun 23 2016

      I rarely use small buttons – for me I like the extra security of a larger button at my waist and bust points. It probably doesn’t matter either way – but I’m all for sewing up fewer buttonholes. heh

  3. Sue / Jun 23 2016

    How cute! I like the idea of actually PLANNING for future alterations on a dress. I have so many old me-mades that don’t fit me right now.

    • Liz / Jun 23 2016

      Yes! I’m always stitching things up differently than the instructions now-a-days. My favorite change is sewing the shoulders on a bodice, then adding in the sleeve caps and doing a side seam last – for easy modifications on fit.

  4. Sarah / Jun 23 2016

    What a gorgeous dress, Liz! I love the high contrast of the fabric with the buttons. The fit is spot on!

    • Liz / Jun 23 2016

      Aww, thanks so much Sarah.

  5. Michelle / Jun 23 2016

    I LOVE this dress. It’s so perfectly, “LIZ”! The pockets and buttons are my favorite details on this on this version! And, it definitely has a 50’s vibe to it. That fabric is superb!

  6. Claire / Jun 23 2016

    I thought you were looking trim! Cute dress too!

  7. PinhouseP / Jun 23 2016

    It’s gorgeous!! And I like your take on the waistband issue, very smart. I love how it looks from the back, the skirt pleating is lovely and the whole silhouette is very nice :)

  8. ooobop / Jun 24 2016

    This is simply gorgeous. And I love that cute little pocket you added.

  9. Jennifer Shaw / Jun 24 2016

    I am a long time lurker who loves what you are sewing. This dress is marvelous and fits you like a dream! Thanks for the great tip about the waistband on this dress.

    • Liz / Jun 24 2016

      Hello! Thanks so much Jennifer. I am totally a lurker sometimes too – glad you made yourself known so I can say hello. :D

  10. Lynsey / Jun 25 2016

    I love your dress, the fabric is cute and the pocket detail is gorgeous. Your tip on the waistband is perfect, I recently made this dress only to find it was a little big in the waist and there’s no way I’m undoing all my hard work to alter it, in future I will do it your way, thank you.

  11. Annabelle / Jul 11 2016

    Liz, this is a perfect dress! I love the way you altered the waistband. I need to keep that in mind, as part of the reason I’ve stopped sewing is my ever changing body. We’ll mostly it’s the time factor, but I also don’t want to use my precious little free time to make something and have it not fit. But you are a genius, so I will need to remember that. Plus, this dress is amazing – that fabric :)

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