Lemons and Buttons

This is the last of my lemon dresses, I promise!!! The lemon collection has been going strong this Spring, but it is fully complete now, as I have no more lemon fabric left in my stash…

So the latest lemon addition to my wardrobe is with a duck egg background (I have reviewed its white and navy background sisters here and here respectively). I bought the fabric from fabric.com (still available here) early Spring and it is exactly the same as the navy background one – a lovely stretchy cotton sateen, with good texture and a very soft feel.

I wasn’t so keen on the duck-egg colour and I just bought it along with the navy one as I was importing the all lot from the US – so why not optimise the shipping and custom charges!! I really should have waited because these two fabrics are available all over the UK now (go here or here for no US-importing hassle!). Anyway…Despite my colour reservations, I am thrilled by how this dress turned out!

The pattern inspiration came directly from Dolly Clackett alias Roisin Muldoon, who posted a dress in this exact same fabric on her Instagram, in the sleeveless variation of this pattern. When I saw it I knew I wanted the same! – with sleeves though…

So this pattern is M6696, which has two big advantages: first it is a McCall pattern, the same company that does all my beloved Vogue dress patterns that fit me so well (so there is some hope the sizing is somewhat similar!); and second this pattern has several cup options for the bodice – no FBA needed, hurrah! Since discovering the Vogue Custom Fit collection, I have become VERY reluctant to try any pattern that actually requires a FBA…

I have been staying away from shirtdresses, not because I don’t like them but because my sewing machine what never good at making buttonholes– the highly sophisticated buttonhole attachment never worked. The only other shirt dress I ever saw was this Cami dress from Pauline Alice, which I absolutely adore!

But I eventually got my machine repaired and now these buttonholes are nothing to fear (well, nearly nothing to be perfectly honest)! I really enjoyed sewing the M6696 pattern for several reasons:

  • It does not have an excessive number of pieces.
  • The explanations are extremely clear to follow – and I do recommend you follow them, as the pieces are made to be assembled in a set order.
  • Everything falls perfectly into place: the collar, the button placket, the pleats of the skirt. So if you want to make an adjustment, such as lengthening the skirt or widening the collar, do make sure you adjust all the pattern pieces around it.
  • It nevertheless has a number of lovely details: shirt collar, separate button placket, pleated skirt, waist belt. I particularly like the pleats of the skirt and the neat waist belt.

I made minor changes to the pattern:

  • I made the back skirt into one piece rather than two.
  • The back bodice is supposed to have gathers at the top and at the bottom, I removed the ones at the top and just made two pleats at the bottom, as I really did not like the puffy look these gathers created on my muslin.

Size-wise, I cut a size 8 / C cup despite the size 12 I should follow according to the enveloppe (utter nonsense! – I have the same issue with the Vogue patterns) and I just had to slightly increase the waistline. The bust was absolutely perfect and needed no adjustment whatsoever. The dress is a touch large for my liking, but I think this is related to the stretch in the fabric rather than anything else.

I really like this dress and have been wearing it much more than I expected. I’ve already finished a second version, in a completely different style, which is in the wash currently but I promise I’ll post pictures soon!

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