Memories of Summer – McCalls 6696

McCalls M6696

Hi there everyone – it is summer dress time this week and after Indie Pattern Month I thought it might be time to sew some Big 4.

McCalls M6696 barely needs any introduction – it has been made by so many different bloggers – I love it in polka dots at Tabatha Tweedie, chambray at Make Something and of course liberty print at Dolly Clackett. 

I have shown a complete lack or originality – swayed by a few weeks of sunshine I have basically sewn it exactly as it appears on the envelope! Usually you have to try to look beyond dodgy fabric choices on the pattern envelope – but I loved the white version (the pink one not so much.....)

McCalls M6696

This is my third project for White Tree Fabrics blog network. I wanted to try this beautiful white broderie anglaise cotton. This fabric sews up like a dream; it presses beautifully, holds the pleats on the skirt really well and it is lightweight and breezy but not sheer.

McCalls M6696
You can see some other projects using similar fabric here and here.

I was undecided about whether to line this dress or if I would need a slip underneath it. In the end I decided not to line it because that would defeat the aim of making a really summery dress. I think it is fine without anything underneath – you would want to go for white or very light-coloured underwear but I think the pleats and pockets mean that it isn’t too easy to see through (feel free to tell me if you think I am wrong?)

McCalls M6696
As this was my first time using this pattern I made a full muslin. Having looked at a lot of other versions online I decided to go down one size from where the pattern envelope would have put me and I also reduced the width of the back bodice piece by about an inch and a half to minimize the gathers. So I started with a size 12 shoulder and bust grading out to a 14 at the waist. After the muslin I reduced the width of the shoulders and the top of the arms down to a size 10 and I shortened the bodice by about half an inch. I could have skipped shortening the bodice so I was pleased with how little work the fitting needed.

It took about a week to sew this up – there are a lot of steps and quite a lot of hand stitching – the inside of the collar, waistband and front placket are all hand-stitched in place. You could avoid this by top stitching but I decided to follow the instructions this time.

McCalls M6696
I am particularly pleased with the collar! I often find that I struggle to get the edges of the collar stand neat and this can result in a home-made look but I managed a really neat finish this time – possibly my best collar ever! My only slight niggle is that I need to do something to hold the waistband down – the buttons are just either side of it and it needs a little help to stop gaping there – I am planning to use Emmie’s cool hidden button trick.

I skipped the belt loops because I never wear belts and I didn’t put a buttonhole at the neckline because I won’t ever want to button it all the way up. Clearly I am now a sewing rebel…
McCalls M6696

I am delighted with how this dress has turned out – I think it is possibly one of the best things I have ever made! Of course since I started sewing it we have had the coldest week of summer and it has rained pretty much non-stop. I had visions of getting photos of this in blazing sunshine (possibly in a corn field) but in the end I popped into the garden when it was a bit less grey than it has been. Luckily I will be going on holiday soon and this will get some wear in proper summer weather – hopefully accessorized with a tan, sunglasses and an ice cream! For now here is one of the last strawberries from our garden!

McCalls M6696

Have I persuaded you that you need a perfectly summery shirt dress?

I received the fabric free of charge from White Tree Fabrics for this blog post. I purchased the pattern and other notions and all opinions are my own.

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McCalls M6696 Sewing Pattern

Broderie Anglaise Fabric

Bias Binding