Hey there, hepcats!
I made this dress with swing dancing in mind. I've mentioned before that Greg and I have been taking ballroom lessons. Well, we liked the swing unit of our ballroom class so much that we decided to try out lindy hop classes as well.
The swing scene where we live is very active -- we take class once a week and go social dancing at least once a week as well. It's really fun! (We take classes from this group, in case you're local and interested.)
By the way, the saddle shoes I'm wearing are swing shoes from dancestore.com. G.H. Bass & Co. makes similar shoes that are street legal. (Swing shoes have suede soles and are meant to be worn inside only. They will be very very quickly ruined if you wear them outside.)
The pattern for this dress is McCall's 6696. Finally! A shirtdress of my very own!
This pattern has definitely made the rounds in the blog world -- and with good reason. It is everything I could ever want in a shirtdress pattern.
It features a nice, full skirt with pleats, a waistband, an option for belt loops and several sleeve options. There's also a straight skirt option, but we all know that I won't be making that one. :-P
The shirt styling is very traditional -- it includes a collar with a collar stand, and a button placket made from its own pattern piece (as opposed to the fold-over type).
In the upper back, which is where most shirts have some pleating detail, there is a lovely gather, which is repeated above the waistband in the back. I think this is a very feminine detail. You could easily swap it out for a more traditional pleat, though, if that's more your style.
I think I might not have eased the sleeve caps correctly. In some pictures, including the one above, it looks like the sleeve heads are poofing strangely. I'll have to be careful with that if I make another version with sleeves!
In terms of sizing, this is a pattern with bra-cup sizing. I made a C cup bodice and graded from an 8 at the bust to a 10 at the waist.
I could probably cut a straight 8 in this pattern -- the waist has a bit more ease than I normally use, but I find that comfortable for dancing.
The button placement suggestion from the pattern does not have a button at the waistband so that there's room for a belt. But since I left off the belt loops here, and do not intend to wear a belt with this one, I rearranged the buttons so I'd have one at the waist.
Speaking of buttons, these are vintage buttons from Etsy. Originally, I was going to use plain white shirt buttons, but I decided they didn't look quite right. I posted some different options on Instagram and Facebook and black was the clear winner in my informal poll.
These are plastic buttons from 1930. I chose them because I thought they nicely echoed the dots between on the fabric.
Speaking of the fabric, it's from Emma One Sock. Another blogger (I've forgotten who -- oops!) posted a picture of this fabric on Instagram and I asked where it came from and ordered it immediately. Sometimes you just know what you want!
The fabric is cotton blend that's a bit sheer and slightly stretchy.
I don't particularly mind the sheerness. I have on a very simple white cotton skirt slip under this and that, along with a nude-colored bra, is good enough for me.
I was unable to match the pattern perfectly, but the print is on a small enough scale that I think that's OK.
This dress is definitely a favorite and I've already made another using this pattern and am about to cut a third. It's a winner in my book! Have you made up 6696 yet? Or are you abstaining from this particular blog trend? ;)
Reminder: I'd still love to hear your thoughts on my new series on sewing fiction! I'd so appreciate it if you'd stop by and leave a comment and let me know what you think of this idea. If you've already sent me some feedback, thanks! :)