Trans-Seasonal Shirtdress

So it’s technically Spring down here in the Southern Hemisphere, but the weather in Wellington this month has been particularly horrible. We’ve slid back into single digit temperatures, and we’ve had hail and gale force winds and torrential rain, so my spring sewing has been bumped back a few weeks! I had meant to make a shirt dress out of this fabric last winter using McCalls 6696 (the pattern which barely needs an intoduction) but I had a list of adjustments that I wanted to make so I never got around to it. Then McCalls 7351 was released, and it had most of the features I was going to try to change M6696 to have (the shirttail hem, the slim back without the gathers, no waistband), so I cheerily switched patterns, and then fluffed around all Winter and never got it made. But finally, here it is finished!

I really enjoyed sewing this dress! I haven’t had a lot of practice with big 4 patterns, but I’ve recently bought a bunch because I’ve had such a good time sewing up the ones I’ve tried. I’ve found that I get the best results if I sew a 12 in McCalls patterns, even though my measurements put me in a 14. M7351 has multiple cup sizes, and I used the C cup bodice. I think it fits well, though it does look like I have a bit of gaping at the buttons across the bust in these pictures.

I love the curved hem and the sleeve tabs!

I did my usual adjustments here, I took 1 inch off the bodice length, and another inch off the bottom of the back bodice at the centre back for a sway back adjustment. I also shortened the skirt by and inch and a half. The only place where I ran into a problem was the sleeves, they tapered so much towards the elbow that I couldn’t lift my arms when they were rolled up into the sleeve tabs. I ended up shortening them by 3 inches, and they’re much better now! I’ll never wear them not rolled up, so I don’t care if they’re weirdly disproportionate now.

I possibly could have taken a little more length off the bodice, but I don’t think its too bad. I never pictured it without the belt, but it actually looks ok! Ā I’ll also probably never wear it done all the way up, which is good because something a little bit funny has happened with my top button, its a bit off centre…

if the bodice was a wee bit shorter my belt wouldn’t ride up like this…

The fabric is a cotton/linen/elastane blend, so it’s really light and breathable and holds a crease really well (good for sewing, less good for wearing…), and has a little bit of stretch. Its basically a really comfortable lovely fabric, and I’m really glad that I have enough left to make a pair of shorts! The buttons are fake shell ones that I found in the $1 bin at The Fabric Warehouse, which is my favourite place to find packets of buttons. I also used some Liberty Saville Poplin to line the yoke and for the under collar and inner collar stand.

So I’m really glad I finally got this dress made, I think I’ll be able to wear it with tights and boots just as easily as bare legs and Keds, so it should get plenty of wear! Though I am hoping to be in shorts and sundresses sooner rather than later…


24 thoughts on “Trans-Seasonal Shirtdress

  1. You’ve done a great job! Try as I might I can’t see the imperfections you’ve mentioned so possibly it’s only the “I’ve just finished this” critical eye that is seeing those things. I would steal this dress off you if I knew you IRL. Touchdown!

  2. Kirsten, you absolutely nailed this dress – excellent, excellent, excellent! I love that fabric – wrinkliness and all, the length is perfect, the fit across the bust is perfect to my eye, but I like an almost zero ease bust!! I have the biggest girl crush on Kirstie Allsop. Perhaps you can do as the goddess of shirtdresses does and wear a slip leaving the buttons undone just to style it up for an occasion?
    Honestly, this dress ticks all the boxes – gorgeous.

    1. Thank you! I’m going to have to embrace the wrinkles, I want to use linen for a few things this summer! It doesn’t feel tight at all across the bust, I just noticed the gaping in that picture. Maybe I was standing with particularly good posture? I’m looking forward to trying to style it a few different ways as it warms up šŸ™‚

  3. Love, love, love! I’ve been trying to get around to a shirtdress all summer (in the UK), but not managed it yet. This has inspired me to move it up my queue.

  4. This is brilliant! I love the different fabric on the undercollar, yoke and stand. May just have to pinch that idea! And I also like the sleeves with the tabs. I’m in the UK (Northern Ireland), and it’s autumn with us, but the weather has been very mild, so maybe we’ve got your spring. Sorry about that!

  5. This looks so great on you, Kirsten! I have been meaning to get this dress made for a while now but haven’t quite managed to start it. I am never quite sure what size to make in commercial patterns since I sew them so infrequently. I think I will start by going down one size like you did and see how it works out. I am sure you will get lots of wear from this– I hope your spring/summer weather comes soon!

    1. Thanks Teri! It’s a great pattern, I love the option of different cup sizes that it offers. I always struggle with picking a size in big 4 patterns too, but I’ve found going down a size with McCalls tends to work pretty well for me!

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