It was sunny enough to take photos!
Neil and I were in Brooklyn Industries awhile ago and I saw a flannel shirtwaist dress. I think I had already tried on a dress in the store that day where the armscyes were way too low, so I didn’t bother trying the flannel number on, but I knew I wanted one. I had the perfect pattern after all. (In other news, Neil has repeatedly said I am the worst person to go shopping with and what is an armscye anyway?)
So I know that I said I was sick of McCall’s 6696, but that was back in the summer. Literally years ago. Who can remember weather that warm? Not I. I found this fab flannel at Chic Fabrics for $4 a yard. The colour combo might be a bit loud for some, but it’s just so perfect to me. I love yellow but yellow doesn’t love my skin tone, so having the pink and navy to mix it up let’s me have my cake and eat it too. The buttons are from Pacific Trimmings, aka My Button Central, they’re super simple purple shank buttons that likely cost about 50c each.
McCall’s 6696 has a 3/4 sleeve option, but I find sleeves that length a bit meaningless, so I lengthened the sleeves, using the sleeves from Vogue 8772 as a guide. I used the cuffs from that pattern too, but I subbed out the continuous lap for the tower placket from Colette’s Negroni. Erica from The Handmade Wardrobe did something similar and mentioned the length of the placket, so I lopped an inch off mine to make sure it didn’t run all the way up my arm or anything. I also took 15cm/6″ from the length of the dress. I like longer summer dresses, but I find that they look very dowdy with tights. If I’m covering my legs, I can definitely afford to go up!
I am in love with the length of this dress. I did try the dress on during construction to gauge where I wanted the hem to sit, so I had an idea it was coming, but I was still pretty excited when I put the finished dress on to see where it ended up. The fabric also makes me very happy, it’s so cozy and bright.
Plaids. They should match, right? So I worked diligently to make sure the plaids match where they should, which is mainly on the side seams from the bust down down and across the front. I’m quite happy with how that turned out, it was painstaking work that might not be 100% perfect, but it was worth it. Sewing wisdom says don’t match plaids if you don’t have to, so I cut the outer yoke, cuffs, tower placket, waistband button placket and collar stand on the bias. This fabric then proceeded to stretch like it was going out of fashion. I did what I could to ease the fabric in where required, but there are still tiny ripples everywhere, especially across the inside of the collar stand and the back of the waistband. The interfaced pieces didn’t suffer this fate, so next time I work with bias pieces that require structure, I’m going to interface them, even if their companion piece is already interfaced (like with the collar stand). I was tempted to rip out and reverse the waistband, so that the interfaced side faced outwards, but I knew that that would just put more strain on the un-interfaced piece, so I’ve left it.
My tower placket hack was also a good one in theory, but by the time you had the placket, you’ve added just over 2cm/almost an inch to the width of the sleeve, way too much to ease into a cuff. I put the excess into the pleat, which is now so large it borders on ridiculous. I’m surprised this Threads article doesn’t cover what to, but next time, I intended to reduce the width of the sleeve.
The first thing I need to remember is that one doesn’t just “whip” this dress up. From cutting to sewing on the final buttons, this is two or three days work for me. I’m sure if I didn’t have chores to do I could do it faster, but there’s never any point rushing. Making Neil all those Negroni’s has helped — I remembered to interface the tower placket, plus my application is getting neater. I do still struggle with topstitching however, and it looks quite clunky around the collar. I feel like my buttonholes look haphazard too, but I know the contrast is making them stand out a little more.
I feel like the bodice is a little long on this dress as well, however I do feel like that could be blamed on how the fabric behaved during construction!
So I actually made this dress months ago — it’s since been laundered almost once a week! This means that despite any perceived imperfections, it really did work for me. The buttons have started to chip which is disappointing, I mean, I could replace individual buttons, but I think I am after a longer-term solution. But all those other imperfections didn’t stop me from wearing it, and I even got a few questions about where I got the dress from in public, which was lovely for the ego, I’ll tell you.