The Greener Side of Summer Dress
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.
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.
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!