13 January 2015

1950's Housewife Shirtdress M6696

After making the Deer&Doe Bruyere shirt and shirt dress, I decided to make my foray into the world of shirt dresses. And if you're going into the shirt dress world, of course one must start with the dearly beloved McCalls 6696: The lovechild of the sewing blog world.
Absolutely everybody has made or is intending to make this shirtdress. And with so much positive feedback from everybody, I went in assuming I'd have the same happy experience. I am proud to say this pattern is as great as everybody else has gushed about. It really is almost perfect.

The pattern comes with 4 variations and 4 cup sizes. It really is a pattern that produces many varying results. I went for the bodice from View D with the long sleeves and v cuffs and paired it with the skirt from View A. I loved the pleats and always appreciate a fuller skirt to hide my rumpity-rump a little. I cut a D-cup in a size 14. You mean no full bust adjustment? That sounds just swell.

This fabric is 100% cotton from Fabricland. It is from the quilting cotton section, but feels significantly softer than any quilting cotton I've ever felt. This is actually my first time ever using anything even resembling a quilting cotton. I started out using Ponte's and thick knits and then decided to try my hand at stable fabrics. My logic was that darts&fitting are more difficult than sewing with knits. (I think I'm still right on that because the entire concept of fitting still eludes me and I really make adjustments all willy-nilly and thus far they just happen to work out for me!)

As you can see, I've used a contrast fabric for the Collar and underside of the V-cuffs. This is Robert Kaufman chambray in Mustard. After using Robert Kaufman fabrics for both my Bruyere's I've fallen in love with the feel, the weight, and the designs of his fabrics so immediately ordered chambray in pretty much every colour way and pattern I could. You'll see more anchors and fishy's in my future.

I cut the fabric with the flowered stripes going vertical, except for the waistband, which I unconveniently hid under this belt, where the flowers go horizontal. You know..what every girl wants; her waitband pattern to be horizontal to really add some nice girth to her middle section. Yeah, real smart Chrystal...... Maybe think a little bit more beyond "ohhhh pretty" next time.....So belt it is!

Nice close up of those pleats. They were rather tedious to line up but my my my does cotton ever hold a pleat. Wait you knew this already? Oh sorry, I'm slow to every party.....Oh wait, that's a basic of sewing and ironing? .....So maybe domesticity isn't my forte.....But look pretty pleats!

My pockets are made with a black silk remnant I had in my stash. It's silk and doesn't add any bulk to my "Hellllllllllllllllo Hips" area.

And no I didn't centre my vine fabric on my button placket......your welcome type-A's

The buttons are totally generic blue buttons. Aint nothing special there....move along.

Now, the back of this bodice, I left with all the gathers. I like the billowy effect it has. It's a tad sticky-outy do to the weight of lack of drape of the cotton, but overall I think it looks good. The next one I make I'll take out the gathers from the top and just leave a little on the bottom.....must maintain some distraction from my rumpity-rump.

And for you Type-A's out there, I apologize for not lining up the vines from my yoke to my bodice, I just couldn't care less about such things. Look at it this way, I did a fairly good job of keeping them unaligned evenly?

And where the source of all my power comes from: The Wings. AKA the pretty yellow underside of my v cuffs which I topstitched with blue because, again, "ohhhhhhh pretty!"

Ps. Check out my goosebumps on my arm in the above photo. It was -25C when I took these photos. Cold weather can't hold me back! (I may have retreated inside when I could no longer press the shutter button due to lack of feeling in my fingers.)


Pattern: McCall's 6696 View - Top of D with Skirt of A
Size: 14 - D Cup
Fabric: 100% Cotton
  • Shortened the skirt length to hit just above the knee
  • Sewed it completely by machine/serger - No hand sewing for this girl
  • Moved the button placement to better suit my needs


  1. I love this so much!!! It is crazy flattering and now I want one! :)

  2. GORGEOUS!!! and i love the belt at your waist hiding those horizontal flowers ;). in fact, i think the dress cries for a belt! and i, in turn, cry for your dress. WANT.

  3. Gorgeous dress! Really, really lovely. I do love a good shirtdress- will have to track this pattern down, I think....

  4. Holy smokes! This is absolutely stunning, Chrystal. That fabric is just divine and the coordinated collar is the perfect addition! If we had a Fabricland here, I'd totally be hunting down that fabric to make a copycat dress.

  5. This is absolutely gorgeous! Love the fabric and the contrast, and your pleats are amazing.

  6. Wow. I love the effect of the floral stripes. Perfect for any season really. Well done!

  7. I can't believe the effort you went through to get those vines so perfectly unaligned! I'm so stealing that on my next outfit. :D

  8. Lovely version! I too bought the pattern because everyone keeps raving about it. I made 3 toiles already. Version one in an old sheet came out really weird. I thought it must be my body shape, until I realized that the 1,5 cm seam allowances is already on the pattern pieces (I sort of figured I was doing something wrong when I made an enormous collar!). The second one looks good, but the waist is too high. Nobody else out there seems to have this issue, but I had to add 3,5 cm (just under 1 1/2 inch) to the bodice to make the waistband fall in my natural waist, so maybe I do have a strange body shape. My third version is of a light cotton in egg yolk yellow with blue and pink roses (it was cheap and looks better on me than I expected it would, plus I already had blue buttons that would go with it). In this last version, which fits nicely, I added the cuffs on the wrong way round, so my wings are pointing inwards. I felt so stupid, so it was nice to see you made the same mistake! You can line up the notches and still end up with the points facing inwards, grrr! But now I've learned a valuable lesson before I cut into my wool Liberty fabric I bought three months ago for the sole purpose of making this shirt dress!