Hello, everyone! This spring, I’ve been totally consumed by an old love of mine: shirtdresses. Not only are they on trend this season, but there are a ton of new patterns out there. Whether you’re into swishy, feminine designs or modern, deconstructed takes on the style, some company is offering your platonic button-down dress. Personally, I’m forever drawn to classic styling. Stand collars, tailored button bands, and cinched waists are my ideal details. While my TNT pattern (M6696) has all of these, I’ve been itching to try something new. McCall’s 7351 fits that bill perfectly. This is a slightly more casual take on the tailored shirtdress, without a waistband to fiddle with, but with options for a semi-circle, handkerchief, or shirt-tail hemline.
Right off the bat, I made up a version with the full skirt. It was lovely: super feminine, easy to sew, and a great fit. However, I couldn’t get View A out of my mind. Between the slim skirt and shirt-tail hem, it was out of my comfort zone in a very interesting way. I loved how casual, but grown up the silhouette looked.
When this bird printed stretch cotton twill hit the Mood Fabrics website, I was done for. It is perfect for the slimmer view of this pattern! The fabric itself is a sturdier twill, with a polished surface, good deal of stretch for comfort, and crisp hand. Oh, and the birds. Of course. Across a navy surface, all manner of birds flock, in hues of brown, black, yellow, and even red. How could one resist? This is the ultimate fabric for a springtime dress.*
*Note: Sadly, this twill fabric is currently sold out, but it is a reorderable fabric. Fingers crossed it comes back in stock soon!
I will say, you want to treat this fabric with care. While it does press and sew up beautifully, as one expects from a crisp twill, it also has the tendency to run. The stretch threads are easy to snag, especially while cutting the fabric, and will create pulls in the design if you’re not careful. Don’t ask me how I know this.
The actual sewing, though? Such a breeze, y’all. If you’re looking to make a tailored dress, you can’t go wrong with this variety of cotton. Every seam is crisp; every stitch went in beautifully. Life is so much easier to do when the fabric cooperates!
Construction of this dress is pretty standard for shirtdresses. The button bands are separate pattern pieces, which are folded and top-stitched in place. The collar and collar stand are also finished by machine, through my favorite assembly method. Self-fabric is used on the inside yoke and armscye bias binding for a clean, professional looking finish.
Fit wise, I cannot say enough good things about this pattern. The standard sizes go up to a 22, with cup sizes bodices for cups A-D. I still had to do an FBA, which added a dart to the waistline, but having cup sizes made such an adjustment simpler. My only other adjustments were to narrow the shoulder a smidgen and bring up the armscye. However, the skirt, back bodice, and collar of this pattern are basically as-is. Nothing is too blousy or baggy, as with usual Big 4 shirtdress patterns, but instead fits in a close, but tailored way. Huzzah!
As finishing touches on this dress, I used navy buttons from my stash and added my own clothing label to the inside. Then, I put on the dress and preened more than any bird could. I love this garment! With my fit adjustments and the stretch of the fabric, it’s such a comfortable, but chic piece to wear. Maybe it’s the navy fabric with pops of red, but something about it feels very American. It makes me long for summer already, so I can have a barbecue or 4th of July party as an excuse to wear this dress. Not that I need such an excuse. Dinner and drinks with my love, tonight, suits it just as well.
What are you sewing up right now, friends? Is anyone else eagerly anticipating summer sewing?