I have long admired shirt dresses on other people, but have disliked the idea of them for myself. When I realised that this was because I don’t like things with collars I decided I would make myself one and leave the collar off. That’s the beauty of making your own clothes, you can often choose to omit parts you’re not keen on.
After doing a bit of research I decided to use McCalls 6696, which appears to be a very popular shirt dress pattern. It comes with a few variations, either a straight or gathered skirt and long, short or sleeveless options. I decided to go for the straight skirt and no sleeves.
The fabric I chose is a gorgeous indigo blue chambray, which unfortunately is now out of stock, although Minerva does have it in a skyblue.
For the second month running I was very naughty and didn’t make a muslin. Basing the size I needed on the finished garment measurements I cut a size 12 for the bodice and a size 16 for the skirt. This meant that I had quite a bit of extra skirt fabric to squeeze onto the size 12 waistband, and I came up with the idea of gathering it on, instead of using the darts. The back gathering is positioned directly below the bodice gathers, and I used the positioning of the front darts to place the front gathers. I really like the result.
I was also a bit out of my comfort zone when it came to the finishing of this garment, as I hate making buttonholes – and there are ten on this dress. I often avoid making buttonholes completely, but I knew I couldn’t on this dress. Thankfully, most of them went quite smoothly, I think I only had to unpick one and redo it!
I really like the finished dress. It’s a bit different for me, but I think it will get quite a bit of wear over the summer months. Who knows, I might even be tempted to make a long sleeved one come winter!