Friday, 6 May 2016

Liberty Fabrics and Fitting McCall's 6696 Shirt dress

Ok, fun stuff first!  I just got my delivery of Liberty of London Fabrics.  The first one is called Wildflowers, and I've had my eye on it for a very long time.  I love the botanical illustrations; it makes me feel like I'm wandering through a meadow.  When I saw there were only 2 yards left I snatched it up because I knew I'd regret it later if I let it disappear.

The second one is called Joy and Sorrow.  I love it because it's a unique print and I love anything with birds. There's 4 yards of that one so, plenty for a dress.

So, I've been working on fitting McCall's 6696 Shirtdress.  I've had this pattern for a while and now that warmer weather is here, I was thinking of making myself a comfy new shirt dress for summer.  If I'm lucky, I'll be able to squeeze a dress out of the wildflowers fabric.  It is a directional print so it may be tricky.  I made a muslin of view C, the sleeveless straight skirt version.  This forces me to do some fitting work on the skirt (something I often avoid by doing gathered full skirts).

I made a size 12C bodice grading to size 14 at the waist and a straight size 14 skirt.  There are several fitting issues with this right off the hop.

  1. Very poor fit in the back skirt - This is the most glaring problem as soon as I put it on. It's also one of my most frustrating problems even in ready-to-wear.  There's a lot of excess fabric in the back above the full hip, and it may be just a little snug at the fullest part.  This causes those annoying draglines from the butt to the waist.  To get some extra shaping and curve hugging, I'm planning on lengthening those back darts and curving them out big time.  I may also need to add some extra room to prevent it from being tight.  It's not supposed to be super fitted, just skimming the curves.
  2. Excess fabric in the back bodice - I really like the gathering in the back bodice as a design element and I don't think the gathering itself is the issue.  If you look at the pattern on a grid, you'll notice that it dips down at the centre back.  That's what I think the problem is for me.  Excess vertical fabric.  Basically, I need to do a swayback adjustment on the back bodice.  I think the easiest way to do that is to straighten out the bottom edge of the back bodice.  Theoretically, that should tighten things up vertically, and the gathers will not bunch out like a balloon.  Crossing my fingers it'll work.
  3. Fine tuning the front bodice - The front bodice fits fine, but it could be even better.  There are some minor draglines.  I was thinking of maybe trying a size D and definitely shaping those underbust darts for a more accurate fit. The upper front bodice could be slightly better fitting.  I have a narrow upper chest and sometimes get gaping in the neckline so I may fine tune that slightly.

Here is the back bodice piece.  I think if I take a slice of that extra fabric below the ruler, it may lay better against the back curve.

So, I'll be tracing my pattern pieces on paper and making those adjustments and then sewing up muslin number two.  I'm hoping I won't have to do a third one.  Either way, whatever it takes to get a great fitting dress will be totally worth it.  My future-self, gallivanting on summer vacation in a unique and awesomely fitted dress, will thank me for all my hard work.

So, yeah.  That's what's happening in my sewing room today.  Updates will be coming shortly!

Happy Sewing!


  1. Wow! Beautiful fabrics! I really love the both, esp Wildflowers! I am so happy just seeing beautiful Liberty fabrics:) I can't wait for your new dresses.

    1. Thanks Eli! Me too, I'm a huge Liberty addict now!

  2. Looking forward to seeing your progress on this shirt dress - it's looking lovely even in calico.

    1. Thanks Sarah! I've been procrastinating on sewing the buttons but they're done now. I'll be taking photos soon. :)