Friday, May 6, 2022

Shirtdress w/ Smocked Bodice | McCalls 6503

While going through my fabric bins recently, I found an unfinished project that I had started 10 years ago! 

*Note that in the photos here, my dress is lacking buttons along the placket - I'm waiting on a covered button kit to arrive so that I can make some matching fabric buttons.


This was one of my first sewing projects, and it shows... The fabric is fairly lightweight poly cotton blend in purple. Nice color, but a bit thin for a dress -- I'll have to wear a slip underneath. Realizing the sheerness of the fabric was one of the reasons why I chucked this dress into the "ignore" bin!

The side seams are bound with bias tape made from a (way too thick!) vintage brown floral print cotton. This dress was made with good intentions, and unsuitable materials 😅

Pattern Review

For this dress, I made View D of McCalls 6503. The cover art of this pattern isn't inspiring, but the line art is great. This pattern has configurable options for a cute shirtdress with a vintage vibe. This pattern includes two skirt variations (pleated and gathered), two bodice variations (front button placket and wrap front w/ self faced collar), and fastens with a side zipper.

This is one of the few patterns where I don't need to remove several inches in length from the hem (although in a future iteration I may try shortening the bodice a bit above the bust gathers).

Pattern Adjustments

I found the bust gathers sat way too low for my body shape - they created an unflattering "pooching" of fabric below my small bust. To resolve this, I changed the bust gathers to a few rows of honeycomb smocking. I think this adds a unique touch to an otherwise forgettable dress!

Final Thoughts

I think I will make this pattern again, especially View D - I have a navy blue cotton sateen in my stash that seems suitable. 

I think this pattern has a lot of options for a classic/vintage-y design. The pleated skirt in particular is really flattering on my proportions and I've already used the skirt pattern pieces to make a few other garments.

You can see more details about this dress in the video below!

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