Monday, June 13, 2016

McCall's 6891: Pink Blossoms Shirtdress

Like many of you, I joined the McCall's Shirtdress Sew-Along.  It's been a great experience--lots of handy tips, lots of beautiful dresses, and lots of nice people!  For the sew-along, I chose to make McCall's 6891--a Palmer and Pletsch offering that's based on a Dior design from the 50s.

I made this dress for my daughter, Mehetabel.  It's view A in a size 12.  This is a typical Palmer and Pletsch pattern with multiple lines for all sorts of pattern adjustments.  After making a muslin, I left the shoulders alone, lengthened and added a little more width to the rest of the bodice, and added 5 inches to the length of the skirt.  I omitted the pockets.  I have one tiny complaint about this pattern--there is a lengthen line on the bodice but not on the front facing.  It's not a big deal; I just drew my own line and lengthened it.  What gets me is that they make such a fuss over putting a zillion adjustment lines on the pattern pieces, it seems odd that they'd omit a pretty basic/obvious one. Maybe they just don't understand tall people!  (When my daughter was a teenager, it used to infuriate her that there were stores just for petites, but none specifically for tall females.  I know, I know; these aren't serious problems!)

I love the graceful flare of this skirt!  It's also a fabric hog--particularly because I needed to add so many inches to the length of the skirt to cover M's knees (as per her request). This dress took five yards of fabric. The poly/cotton fabric was purchased last summer at Joann's with a 60% off coupon.  Of course, I had just gone into the store to buy some notions, not fabric!  You probably know how that goes.

There was drama during the construction of this dress, although it wasn't the pattern's fault!  Mr. Arbuthnot tore out part of the hem, the little rascal.  I'd waited to work on the hem until he was preoccupied with a bully stick (or so I thought).  But like a good supervisor (dictator, tyrant, despot), he keeps a constant watch over his subjects.  For such a little chunk, he moved quite swiftly, grabbed the dress from my hands, and ripped out the hem.  And he wouldn't let go of the dress!  He thought it was so much fun--the best day ever!  Aargh. I finally rescued the dress, and while the hem was torn out, he hadn't punctured the fabric.  It was very gooey, though.  Thank you so much, Mr. Arbuthnot.  You'll be glad to know that the dress has been washed and re-hemmed.  

Speaking of hems, I used bias tape to eke out a 5/8" finish to the skirt.  I hand-stitched the hem as well as all the facings.

When I was prepping the pattern, I cut out the skirt pieces first and let them hang for about a week; that way, by the time I was ready to attach them to the bodice, the bias had already stretched and I was able to trim the skirt and hem it without any additional hanging time.  

Even if you didn't join the sew-along, you might want to check out the various posts on the McCall's blog. There's lots of helpful information on a variety of shirtdress-related topics.  Very handy!  There was also a corresponding private Facebook page where participants asked questions and shared photos of their dresses.

I'm thrilled that Mehetabel loves the dress!  So much so that she says she's wearing it to work tomorrow! 


  1. Hi. Saw your dress on Instagram and love it! I have that pattern and have been looking for time to do the sew along. The only thing that intimidates me is the collar. All the reviews on complained about the color. did you any trouble with it?

    1. Hi Sulamita ~ Thank you so much for your kind comments! The collar is the most difficult part of this pattern, but it is doable. I have sewn easier versions of convertible collars. For this one, I hand basted the area where the collar and lapel meet before sewing on the machine and that helped a lot. Just take your time and go slowly--it'll turn out fine! I hope you'll give it a try. Good luck!

  2. Great looking dress! Love your fabric choice & all the info on the pattern. Great job! Her smile says it all!

  3. It is a beautiful summer dress and the fit is absolutely perfect! 5 yards?! yikes! I am so glad your boss didn't ruin the dress!! Little stinker.
    Happy sewing ~ Tracy

  4. Thanks, Tracy, for your kind comments! Yeah, my daughter is 6' tall, so to get the length for the skirt, I used a lot of fabric! I'm so glad Mr. Arbuthnot didn't rip a giant hole in the dress--to get all the way to the last step and then have that happen!! He's definitely a little stinker!