The Greener Side of Summer Dress

McCalls 6696 - Idle Fancy -9212

Good morning, friends!  Lately, I’ve been in a sewing rut.

Or, rather: a blissful, completely intentional bout of sewing the same pattern eight million times. McCall’s 6696 is my platonic shirtdress and I can’t stop making new versions! It has everything I’ve long searched for in a shirtdress, including a properly constructed collar, separate waistband, and full skirt. Even better, it’s explicitly designed to be made in light, embroidered fabrics like eyelet and Swiss dot. After perfecting the fit on two sturdy versions, I gave into the temptation of an ethereal late summer dress and perused the embroidered section of our beloved Mood Fabrics.

There are tons of gorgeous options, but I couldn’t get this Ming Green Mini-Tufted Voile out of my head. This color is one of my all-time favorites, bringing to mind classic jadeite kitchenware and the Art Deco color palette of Tamara Lempicka. It’s also eerily similar to the green I painted my sewing room last summer! Essentially: I’m a big, big fan and ordered this fabric stat.

Ming Green Tufted Voile Shirt Dress - Mood Fabrics

Ming Green Tufted Voile Shirt Dress - Mood Fabrics

When this voile arrived, I was even happier with my decision. Not only does it have the billowy sort of drape I’d hoped for, but it wasn’t as translucent as expected. It was sturdy enough to stand up to the tailoring of a shirtdress, with all the top-stitching and precise folding required, but still light and summery. Plus, the tufted dots scattered across it added a fun dash of visual interest. With a light slip underneath, it would be perfect for my platonic shirtdress! Huzzah!

Y’all, not to toot my own horn, but I was so right. This fabric makes the perfect shirtdress. It was really easy to work with, pressing and sewing beautifully, and lending the perfect amount of swish to this pattern’s full skirt. When paired with the slightly puffed short sleeves and traditional collar, the green fabric pushed this dress into vintage-inspired territory. It’s retro, but not too costumey. That’s one of my favorite sartorial lines to tip-toe along!

Construction-wise, this dress is finished with 1/2-inch clear buttons and inner facings in the same tufted voile. I used lightweight fusible interfacing on the collar and button bands, which gave the voile added heft for the top-stitching and buttonholes. All the seams are serged, because I was a little nervous about doing French seams on a tufted fabric. I just knew that would end with me meticulously cutting away fluff from the side seams. Call me a cowardly seamstress, but I took the easy way out.

Ming Green Tufted Voile Shirtdress - Mood Fabrics

Mood Fabrics - Ming Green Tufted Voile Shirtdress

In the end, this dress is ideal for those sweltering late summer nights we’ve been having in Texas lately. It’s breezy and cool, but still elegant. Honestly, it’s almost opaque enough to wear without a slip, but I made a coordinated green one anyhow. A dress this special deserved matching underpinnings, after all. (A fact you can totally see in one of these pictures, thanks to an exceptionally frisky wind. Curses!) This little shirtdress is such fun to wear that I almost don’t envy other people’s autumnal cool fronts. Keep the heat coming, if I can keep wearing tufted voile!

24

Comments


  • Sallie
    August 29, 2014

    Yes, this is absolutely what I want to be wearing these days down here in Texas! When the heat is no longer a fun novelty, but just a sticky, sweaty, rude houseguest who WILL. NOT. LEAVE!! Hahaha! A light cotton voile dress in a fun color is just what the doctor ordered! I LOVE this pattern on you, Mary! You’ve perfected the fit and it’s just perfect. Truly, you and this pattern are a match made in heaven. I can see why you want to keep making more versions! This might be my favorite one yet!

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thanks so much, Sallie! Also, that is EXACTLY what the Texas summer feels like. This past weekend, we visited friends in Nebraska and I couldn’t stop remarking over how pleasant it was outside. I’m to that point in the summer when I’ve stopped believing in cooler weather. Sure, they *say* it’s going to get better in October, but this could be the year when the heat just keeps going…

  • Anastacia
    August 29, 2014

    Gah!!!!!!!! Gorgeous! So much so, that I just ordered the same pattern 🙂 Mary, you are an incredible sewist. Fabulous job on the construction. Looks better than RTW 🙂

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thank you so, so much, Anastacia! I am so excited that you’ve ordered this pattern. Let me know how it works out for you! I am so head-over-heels for it!

  • Ginger
    August 29, 2014

    You are so cute! This pattern was made for you, and I’m loving every version of it! This fabric is gorgeous- what a perfect color!

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thank you so much, lady! I seriously can’t stop making this pattern…I’m going to end up with ten more versions, I can already tell.

  • Amanda S.
    August 29, 2014

    Another great rendition from this pattern! I can see why you adore this hue so much – it goes great with your coloring.

  • oonaballoona
    August 29, 2014

    okay, so i have to tell you, every time i see you in a sweet yet sexy new dress the line: “MARY. MMMMMMMMARY. The name drips from one’s lips” goes through my head.

    (this is a quote from that gem ((and prince’s directorial debut)) “Under The Cherry Moon.”)

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Ha! Oona, that makes me ridiculously happy, no lie. Thank you so much! Also, I’m suddenly itching to watch that movie…When I listen to Prince for the next week, I know who to blame! 😉

  • Fiona
    August 30, 2014

    Fab colour on you Mary! And I can see why you want to make this shirtdress so many times, it’s got gorgeous details. I love a bit of swiss dot action too!

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thank you, Fiona! Isn’t this pattern great? I love the classic details of a shirtdress–they make it such a fun construction process.

  • Denise
    August 31, 2014

    Love the shirtdresses you’ve made from this pattern! And congrats “Dr” Mary.

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thank you so, so much, Denise! That still sounds so surreal. I love it!

  • candice
    September 1, 2014

    I love the dress. I love the green.

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thank you, Candice! Isn’t this color great? I’m in love.

  • Lori
    September 1, 2014

    This is simply the perfect shirtdress and the fabric makes it super-perfect. Fabulous choice.

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thank you so much, Lori! I am absolutely over the moon about this fabric–it made this dress even more special than I’d hoped.

  • Janine
    September 2, 2014

    Just…So….Classy. There, done.

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thank you so much, Janine! 😀

  • Peter
    September 2, 2014

    Love this color on you (and on me too, actually). A beautiful, classic dress!

    • Idle Fancy
      September 3, 2014

      Thank you, Peter! Isn’t this color wonderful? I can imagine that it looks fantastic with your coloring. We need more Ming green out in the world!

  • Goodbye Valentino
    September 14, 2014

    Your sewing skills are top notch as this dress looks high end RTW. Beautiful color on you!

  • Cennetta
    September 18, 2014

    Aw! Lovely dress, Mary. The color is perfect for color. It looks cool and definitely a perfect choice for hotter than hot summer days. Looking great, lady.