July 1, 2013

Linen Border Print


 I spent most of May and June working on this dress.  I made 2 muslins and the fit still isn't perfect. 

I am looking for the 'perfect' shirt dress pattern.  And I actually do own 2 different patterns labeled "The Perfect Shirt Dress", but they have darts and no waist seam and for some reason, I really wanted a waist seam.

M6696 - Line Drawing
I chose McCalls 6696 because there was an option with a straight skirt.  I have a lovely border print that I bought in 2008 in New York and it's ready to come out of the closet.  But, I needed a pattern piece that was straight across the bottom to really show off the border print. 
There is no photographic proof  of the alterations, but I did them.  I even emailed KID, MD and Lynne asking them for help.  See - the back was really, really blousy.  In fact, I think I could still take a bit more out.  The back waistband seems to dip down. 

To take out the fullness, I actually just sliced an inch right off the center back pattern piece.  Then I cut from the center back seam to the side seam and overlapped about 1".  After that, I layered this bodice with the simplicity sheath dress bodice that fits so well and drew the back darts in.  I still need to make the back bodice shorter - I am really, really short from my neck to my back waist.  Don't believe me?  My measurement is 15".  Yea short there. 

And now I'm going to show you the back.  I wore this dress again today.  The first time I wore it I felt like a pin I saw the other day.  It went like this: 

Mirror:  You look good today!
Camera:  Ummm, no.

Today, I realized that the back is too wide.  Still.  All the way through.  You can see all the extra bunched up in the belt.  The side seams hang straight - so the extra doesn't need to come out evenly around - it needs to come off the back.  And the hem hangs even although the back waist dips down - so the bodice needs to be shorted and the extra added back to the center of the skirt - right?

I don't know if you can see it or not - but I cut the pockets from the border print.  I wasn't going to get all the pieces if I didn't.  And there two tiny little green leaves peeking out of the front bodice seam.  The pockets are lined with white quilting cotton and I used the metal buttons with the white centers.  I think they work. 

So - although I'm not thrilled with it - I will make the pattern again.  Using a different fabric that I don't care about so much to test the theories above before cutting into the New York Border Print. 


  1. It's a lovely dress. Great colour, great use of print. The back waist could be altered but I don't think it is supposed to be fitted there or it wouldn't have the gathers into the yoke. Also look at the pattern drawings. They indicate that ease. If you remove it you may rip the dress in wear. Just under the yoke, if anything, it's a little bit tight: see the diagonal wrinkles from above your shoulder blades running to your back armscye (but this may just be because you've got both elbows forward for the photo).. Perhaps if you don't like the way the fabric folds at your back waist, you could gather it more evenly into the waist seam. I think you have conquered that pattern. If you don't like the ease in the back maybe have a go at another one now! But it is a beautiful dress. I think you should be thrilled with it. I would be. In fact I think I'm going to do that with a border print now......

  2. It is a pretty dress made from gorgeous fabric. I do see what you mean about the back area but also believe only a person who sews would notice! LOL. Could you do a bit of a sway back adjustment?

  3. Mirror: You look good today!
    Camera: Ummm, no.

    That cracks me up! I feel that way a lot! Dang honest cameras.

  4. The border print looks fabulous and the straight-skirt is the perfect way to showcase it. Nice job!

  5. You are looking so relaxed and happy for the camera and for us. I admire your sewing...!! I love the dress and the pockets from what I can see of them. All those buttons are perfectly placed and simple for the dress. GREAT JOB. I would wear this one!!!

  6. I think this is a wonderful first version. Try your theories out on the muslin and make another one. You will end up with the dress you want, you just have to make a couple first. And hey, you're learning right, as well as, getting a few new wearable dresses!

  7. Why do you want a waist? If you made it straight you could still belt it if you wanted to but you wouldn't have to worry about all that fitting.

  8. I love it! I think the fit in back looks good. A little waist ease is a nice thing to have, and it isn't blousy at all, just gently gathered. I love the border print in the pockets. Very cute detail, even if it was just because you ran short of fabric.

  9. Ummm... my first though was, "Aren't you and that dress STUNNING?!"

  10. I really like that color on you. I think maybe the back has to be a little blousy in order for you to have room to move your arms? Still, it's a good fit, and I like your test border fabric. Hope you can make it exactly as you want!

  11. I think this looks great on you. I love that color and the border worked out perfect with this pattern. You'll get lots of wear out of this one!

  12. Beautiful dress G, and it looks fantastic on you! I absolutely love it!! Your mirror is correct, and your camera (at least how YOU see your camera) is a liar! You look fabulous, truly!!

  13. I love it on you! G you really worked out a nice fit! One thing I learned from my shirt dress experience is that there are plenty of fish in the sea as far as patterns go, so my next dress will be one without back gathers!

  14. Beautiful!! And I think it fits beautifully. I love the border print. Oh how I wish I could sew like you. I love your dresses!!


I appreciate you coming to see me. It may take me a bit to publish your comment - but I will get to them by the end of every day. If you leave a way for me to get back to you, I will. Thanks for taking the time to comment and share your opinions. g

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