Every day at work, I fantasize what it would be like to be a housewife. I would gladly trade answering hundreds of questions, writing evaluations, and waking up early for cleaning, cooking, and sewing. I know most women out there would cringe to hear this (Girl power! Women must make their own living!!), but just let me live in my dream world, OK? It’s never going to happen, unless DD and I win the lottery… believe me, I ask him weekly if I could be a stay-at-home wife and he answers by asking me if he could be a stay-at-home husband. Sigh.
Anyhoo, I finished a dress that’s totally not my usual style – McCall’s M6696. It seems like everyone and their grandma in the sewing world has made this dress. I was first inspired by Cashmerette’s second rendition. Then more bloggers started sewing it up in the past few weeks – Sewn By Ashley, The Liveaboard Takes the Suburbs, and Saturday Night Stitch. I gave in and had to join the club:
This was the first time I sewed with chambray and… oh…. my…. God… it is amazing! This is the first woven garment I’ve made in a while and I forgot just how easy they are to sew. Plus, I feel like the fabric itself was fairly high quality, so that helped a lot.
I bought this pattern not only because I wanted to be a copycat, but because I needed a well-fitting, comfortable work dress. The reviews of this pattern praised the fit “right out of the package” and I have to agree! I sewed a size 10 on top, grading to a 12 at the waist and below. It fits like a glove… or ummm… dress. I just trimmed an inch or two off the hem, and it’s perfect! The only complaint I hear are people saying the gathered back poofs out too much. I agree, it is poofy, but it goes with the style of the dress. Plus, it helps me not She-Hulk out of my dress due to my somewhat muscular and wide back.
I love how girly yet modest this dress is (yay for not worrying about bending over at work and being indecent!). So what’s a girly dress without some girly twirly photos?
The fullness of the skirt is achieved with oh-so-many pleats.
The pleats weren’t really all that difficult to execute – it could be because the fabric pressed so easily or because I did it when I woke up feeling refreshed and ready to tackle anything. One way I ensure perfect, even pleats is do tailor tacks on the circle markings on the pattern and then go back and connect the lines to form little boxes with tailor’s chalk. I then draw an arrow on the fabric in the direction of the pleating so I don’t get confused. I’m not sure if that makes sense, but if and when I do a second dress like this, I’ll try to remember to take photos of that step.
OK, one thing that really got to me were the stupid sleeves. I’ve always had issues easing sleeves and I thought I had done enough research in order to do it properly this time. Nope, nope, I’m much too spastic to ever have perfectly set-in sleeves!
I took a good 3 1/2 hours easing, ripping, easing, ripping, easing, ripping, then finally giving up. I Google image-searched this pattern and saw I’m at least not the only person with less than perfect sleeves, so I’ll throw in the towel this time. I brought my sleeve woes up with my sewing guru and she said to have the sleeve portion against the feed dogs to help ease the sleeves in better. ‘DOH! I was totally doing it upside-down, so I’ll definitely try that out next time and hopefully THAT will end my sleeve-easing curse!
After I tried the dress on for the photo shoot, I realized the waist gaped a little between the buttons. I may or may not wear a belt with this dress, so I sewed in a snap to help keep it closed. I wish now that I would have done an inside-button because if I bend over or eat too much, the snap busts open. Sigh.
That’s about it for this dress. It’s definitely a different style and silhouette for me, but I think it’s worth making more. I may try a sleeveless version next time just to mix things up a bit. (Edit: Check out my second version here!)
I’ll leave you with a couple of fun photos:
I figured what is a 1950’s housewife dress without a random vacuum? I always think of ’50s housewives vacuuming in heels and a pretty dress. Did this happen in real life or only in movies? Please educate me – I’m a child of the ’80s…