MCalls 6696 is a fitted bodice shirtdress pattern with a straight skirt option. I chose view B because I believed that my broad shoulders and buxom bosom might be balanced somewhat by the full skirt and I’m a bit tired of straight dresses. Tricky territory, I’d like to avoid the Alice in Wonderland look at all costs!
This pattern is being used by lots of peeps who are participating in the Mcalls Shirtdress Sew-along.
A fitted shirtdress with a ‘fullish’ skirt really does require good fit through the bodice. In order to get the best fit in the upper body I suggest you cut the waistband to fit the dress front and back (adding seam allowances of course) then sew the side seam from underarm to skirt hem. That way you’ll have the option for tweaking fit in the bodice later, once the dress is fully completed if necessary. Its the sort of smart fitting option you see on some trouser and jeans patterns, like Iconic’s Jess jeans. This lovely bloggger also prefers to sew the side seams as one for fit, have a look.
I fitted my bodice toile having already moved the shoulder seams forward, lengthened the bodice (possibly too much, more later), tested the sleeves and was pretty happy with the fit. But now its all made up the weight of the skirt makes the bodice look too long, its pulling the bodice down and away from my body making me look about 10kg heavier, with no bosom from the full frontal view. Now there are times when I’d happily gift my bosom to any passer by, but heck they’re in there, why do they look so, well, ‘schlumpy’?!
For best proportion it may be possible to tweak where the waistband sits, 1/3 length in bodice , 2/3 skirt judging by those beautiful wasp waisted dresses by Mr Dior. So if the bodice is too long the proportion will look ‘off’, which is exactly how M6696 now looks to my eye. I need to bring the bodice up, even if that spot is not my waist. And here there seems to be a bit of wiggle room.
If you need your bodice to look shorter then why not choose your waist to be situated at the bottom of the waistband rather than the middle. But then I see this Vogue 8633 has done that and I’ve always thought the model looked to have a strangely square shape at the midriff. So perhaps the top of the waistband higher and bottom sitting below the waist?
It seems a square cut waistband is just not very flattering, so why not shape it? The smallest point could be top middle or bottom, whatever your heart desires really! But once its sewn like this it’s a huge job to unpick.
Obsessed with adding waistline ease, I took it too far this time, don’t do it. The waist needs to fit so that your dress will sit at your waist supported by, in my case … my hipbones, the ones I put my hands on when I want to look indignant! If your waist is square perhaps thats where a ‘waist stay’ might help? At the very least don’t add waist ease beyond 2cm. The skirt needs to be suspended off your anchor points – waist in this case. Surprise surprise, the tighter waist doesn’t seem to affect my food consumption whatsoever!
When the dress is more fitted at the waist it sits higher on my frame and comes in under the bosom somewhat, changing the silhouette from ‘schlumpy’ to decidedly ‘less schlumpy’. Any thoughts?