Finished projects

A Gingham McCall’s 6696, AKA Another 1950’s House Wife Dress

I think McCall’s 6696 has to be the most sewn dress on the internet. I mean, it is flattering on almost everyone who wears it and I suppose it does give one a sense of accomplishment (Millions of pleats! Tons of hand-stitching! Collar and button holes!). It is also a great stash-buster as this is a fabric EATER.

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I had this gingham fabric in my stash for the longest time and there was a lot of it. I bought it at SAS in Tucson, and whenever you buy fabric there, unless you’re buying all of it, you have to make sure you leave at least 2 yards left for them to put back for sale. This was one of those times where I really only wanted maybe 2 1/2 or 3 yards, but I had to buy the whole piece – probably a little over 4 yards. I originally envisioned this fabric as a button down shirt for work…. until I saw this dress on ModCloth.com:

321da72371d3e27ef8f703e4757e2472Inspiration struck! I love when that happens. I check out ModCloth several times a week mostly for project inspiration – and the occasional purchase. I find there are a lot of clothes on the site that have a home sewing pattern doppelganger. This dress screamed “McCall’s 6696!” to me and so it was done. I turned a $70 online dress into a $15 homemade dress. BAM!

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My first McCall’s 6696 was pretty successful, but I find the sleeves of my first rendition a little constricting. I flail my arms around a lot and they absolutely cannot be restricted! I’m glad I kept true to my inspiration as it’s a lot easier to flail my arms around in the sleeveless version.

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Not only is this a cute, feminine dress that can double as office wear, but it has pockets!! I do suggest drafting the pockets deeper than the original pattern because they’re kind of shallow for today’s smart phones. I’m always worried my phone will fall out when I have it in these pockets. Of course I knew about this needed tweak when I was cutting the fabric, but I had no room for that as I barely eeked out the dress as it was.

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Other than shortening the hem by a few inches, I also added an inch to the length of the torso ‘cuz I’m a tall lady.IMG_8587

I’ll also probably wear this with a belt since I like how it breaks up the gingham. I also need to invest in some colorful belts because I think a pop of color would look great with this dress.

Here it is sans belt:

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Not bad… but I also like having a belt to keep the tummy in check after meals. I had an issue with the waistband gaping open on my last dress. I put a button smack in the middle of the waistband for this dress, but there is still some strain on that poor little button. I know, I should have made a larger sized waist (size 12 for waist, 10 for bust), but I am in denial that I’m growing. It’s from eating and beer, people, not babies. Just to keep that straight…

I thought I was so smart by having the button(s) placed where they are, but it turns out there is a gap between the chest buttons! UGH!

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Not bad, but just enough to keep the creepers happy. I rectified this by hand sewing a snap in between.

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Problem solved! No more peek-a-boo!

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I should also mention I accidentally made the button holes horizontal instead of vertical. I blame the fact that I was sewing this before work on the week that I was working the night shift (3:45 pm to 1:15 am), so my brain was fuzzy. Derp. At first I was upset because I thought the placket would shift, revealing the fabric underneath but after wearing this for a full day already, I haven’t noticed a problem with it (except for that darn too-small waistband!).

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I really wanted the back yoke and the front placket and the waistband to be cut on the bias, but alas, I only had enough fabric to do the yoke. I like how it breaks up the pattern, although after staring at it for a few seconds, I’m starting to get dizzy…

One thing that didn’t go so well was the actual back piece. The back pieces are gathered right under the yoke and in the center above the waistband. This much gathering creates quite a poof which looked OK on my last McCall’s 6696, but not so much for this one:

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Crazy, right??! I think the insane amount of poof is also from the fabric being a little stiffer than the chambray I used on my first 6696.

I pinched out two inches… TWO WHOLE INCHES… from the center back after the dress was fully constructed. It’s more of a fisheye dart but I am so glad this fabric is busy. I did my best to have the straight seam pattern match as much as possible, and I think I did an OK job. You can see the seam smack dab in the middle:

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But even after taking out that much poof, it still poofs. I can deal with it, though.

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Reminder to self: Next time, take those darn gathers out before even cutting into the fabric!

All in all, I consider this dress a success, even with the couple of hiccups along the way. I wonder… will there be a third rendition? Or should I move onto a different shirt dress pattern? (I’m looking at you, Grainline Alder!).

-RED

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31 thoughts on “A Gingham McCall’s 6696, AKA Another 1950’s House Wife Dress

  1. I think the level of poofing looks absolutely fine – but I can see why you had to reduce it initially!! You look very elegant in this dress and it works really well with a belt – red or pink would also look great.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! A little poof is OK (and helps the waist look smaller) but that first poof was crazy, lol! A red belt would be awesome… I wish I had bold colored shoes so I could buy a matching colored belt for it. That would be so fun!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. The one poof shot made my eyes bug! It’s like it was made for a hunchback. What is the need for all the fabric? All that said it is a super cute dress and I think it looks totally fine with or without belt. I would move to the Archer Shirtdress just because I’m loving them from everyone. Plus I’m secretly envious of all your clothes so maybe if you make one it will encourage me to do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m not sure but that sounds like it might work! I think I would have to ruche the whole back instead of, say, the lower half because I think it would poof over. I wonder if it was so darn poofy because of that added 1 inch? Hmmmm….

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’ve never tried to do it but the process sounds simple enough. I agree that it would have to be the whole back. The elastic used would still give a lot of movement and the extra fabric would be much more fitted.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha I had the same reaction when I tried it on! Then I got the depressed face you see in the photo that I would actually have to fix it. I’m glad it did end up working out and thanks for the compliment!

      I am dying to get my hands on the Alder but I’m waiting on another Black Friday sale or some other kind of sale. I know, I drop money like it’s nothing with shoes sometimes (nothing crazy, though), but whoah I gotta wait to save $2 on a pattern! LOL

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love me a gingham shirt dress, and this one is no exception: it looks so nice!! Love the hem length you picked, too–it’s pretty perfect. 😀 I agree that colorful belts would add a little extra accessory “oomph” to it, and with a B&W background, you could basically do anything!

    Honestly, the one reason I have avoided this pattern is that damn poofy back–ain’t nobody got time for that!! I would rather start from a different pattern than have to do all that surgery before I can move onto actual fitting. xP at unnecessary work! I have a roll-end of heavy silk (!!!!!!!!) buffalo plaid in black/white/silver and it’s destined to become (some OTHER) shirt dress.

    Can’t wait to see your next shirt dress, no matter what pattern you pick!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I find myself liking longer hem lengths because I’m getting older (haha) and my thighs don’t sweat on chairs in the summer! I hate it when you got skin-on-plastic and it’s so uncomfortable and you’re just swimming in a pool of your own sweat. TMI?

      Understandable with not wanting to tweak something before you even try it. I think I’ve seen other sewers do it, so I’ll need to do some research before moving onto another 6696. I think the Sew Over It vintage shirt dress would look great on you! I’m not sure how the darts and waistline would look with Buffalo Plaid… you might have to get creative with pattern matching. Or I think the non-ruffled Alder would look great on you, too!

      It’s funny, I thought I wasn’t the shirt dress type, but funny how the online sewing community changes your mind LOL. It’s great, though. I was never excited about my wardrobe until recently. I’m not afraid to try new styles now and my wardrobe is definitely more colorful!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Gorgeous dress! Looks really good on you and great fix with the extra snap. I hate it when button placement is just off like that! I think you’re right and a colourful belt would look awesome with that gingham.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And thank God for snaps, lol! I thought I was being so careful while fitting, too… but oh well. Things happen. I have to put buttons on a new shirt today so I hope I don’t make the same mistake!

      Reading everyone’s comments about a colorful belt is really making me want to go shopping for a few!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! And I never thought about styling it that way… that sounds awesome, too! Makes it more casual. Wow, this dress is getting to be more versatile every day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I see what you mean about the poofing – although I think that the way you have taken it in works perfectly! I love checks cut on the bias and it works beautifully on your dress. I would definitely go for red shoes (heels or Converse) with a red belt! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m wearing it today, actually LOL! I agree with you that it looks great on everyone – all shapes and sizes. McCall’s struck gold with this one. I guess I have finally found a woven TNT… this can be my new Moneta! I’ve made 7 Monetas so far… I’m not sure I’ll make that many of these – it takes so long to sew!

      Thanks for the compliments and yes, you must get on making a shirt dress for yourself! 🙂

      Like

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