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.
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:
Inspiration 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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
Not bad, but just enough to keep the creepers happy. I rectified this by hand sewing a snap in between.
Problem solved! No more peek-a-boo!
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!).
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:
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:
But even after taking out that much poof, it still poofs. I can deal with it, though.
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!).