Bettie Drapering It Up - McCall's 6696

8.18.2014

Being Don's wife is hard work. All those cigarettes to smoke, wine to drink, all while actively ignoring the children.  "Shut up Sally and stop shoving food in your face." God knows how I find the time to make bitchy comments with Francine. Just the other day I got so fed up with everything that I shot a few of the neighbor's pigeons. At least Sally and Bobby made sure to keep my wine glass topped up that night. Don finally came home and said I look pretty in my new dress. Guess I'll grace him with a smile tonight.
This post could be alternately titled, "Clare made me do it." McCall's 6696 wasn't a pattern I'd noticed when it came out.  I only skim big 4 offerings when they release. If something doesn't grab me then right then it gets forgotten. Well Clare went and remade this pattern, reminding me that I wanted this dress as well as her legs and her Don robot. I contented myself with only purchasing the pattern.
My plans for a straight skirt version where quickly abandoned after realizing that the full skirt view would go great with the Carline Liberty Lawn in the stash.  That fabric was supposed to be a shirt dress anyway, the one from Gertie's first book.  Long story short, fitting that particular pattern was a nightmare. "What Is Wrong With This Bodice?!  Do my arms come out at weird angles or something. AHHHHHHH!" The Gertie shirt dress ended up sewn in lobster quilting cotton and the Liberty went back into the stash cave.

As much as I'd love to hoard Liberty lawn forever, it stuck me that McCalls 6696 had the right details for my taste.  I took the plunge and put scissors to those luscious red roses. Eck! Even having a well fitting muslin doesn't take the sting out of cutting into Liberty. "What if I screw this up? The sewing goddess will surely curse me forever." However once you get over that hump, sewing with Liberty is such a joy. I start wondering why can't I be filthy rich and have bolts of it? Who wants to plan a Liberty lawn heist with me? Hashtag #LLheist. I'm sure there's no way they can trace it back to this blog.
Anyway let's put my criminal plans aside and get back to sewing.  Great things about this pattern include, a two piece collar, pretty gathers in the back, pockets and an inset waist band that make sewing belt loops on a snap.  With the different views it's easy to get shirt dress with either a retro or modern feel.  Props to the design department for giving you options like that. I'll probably sew the straight skirt version with sleeves in denim for fall. (Seems everything is denim this fall.)
Bad thing about this pattern, or maybe just view A, is that it takes a shit ton of hand sewing. So Much Hand Sewing....what have I done? Save me from the needle's wrath! Finishing the dress was a slog and the only thing keeping me going was staring at red roses and Stephen King's Dark Tower series on audio book. Ahhh yeah, scratch my science fiction/western itch.

Pattern
McCall's 6696 - View A. Henceforth referred to the view of copious hand sewing.

Fabrics used
Liberty Tana Lawn in the discontinued Carline print. Dear Liberty, how can I convince to start reprinting this design again? Cookies? Buying more lawn? Not planning to rob your store? Let me know. Smooches

Pattern changes/alterations
1. I excitedly bought the larger size nest without looking at the measurements on the envelope.  Turns out that the 36" bust size 14 is in the smaller size nest. Doh! Since I needed the size 16 for my lower body I decided to do a little fast and loose grading on the top half of the pattern rather than exchange the pattern.  I used the method of grading using the existing sizes explained in this post. But instead of grading up, I did the opposite and graded down.

2. This was my first time using a McCall's pattern that had the different cup size options. Since I wear a DD US/E European bra size I traced the D cup bodice.  When I mocked up the dress I found a fitting problem that I'd never encountered before.  The neck/shoulders, which had been graded down, fit perfectly. The hip area also fit perfectly. But in the bust/waist area I literally had inches of extra ease. I'm going to guess that the different cup sizes have FBA adjustments already made to them.  Since I rarely need one of those, using the D sized bodice might not be the best fitting option for me.  To fix the ease problem I took 3/4" out of the side seam of the entire bodice and waistband. The top of the skirt was nipped in 3/4" to match the waistband and then graded out to zero at the hip.

3. The bodice was shortened 1/2" and the waist dart shortened 1".

4. Standard dropping of the side seam dart an 1".

5. Standard 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment made.

In retrospect, it would have been a lot less work to start with the size 14 and just grade out the hip a bit.  Oh well, I couldn't have foreseen this unless someone explicitly mentioned it in a PR review. (I didn't bother to check before plunging into the project.)

Confessions/Advice
1. Confession - I hated sewing this dress because it was about 50% hand stitching. The first half of assembly is fine and then suddenly you find yourself doing yards and yards of hand stitching with one machine seam in between.  If you make view A you will have to hand stitch, the waist band facing, the giant hem, both button band facings, both armhole bias bindings, and finish with sewing on 12 buttons.  I did most of this with a head cold, which did not improve the process.

2. The shoulder strap piece for the included slip does a fine job doubling as bias binding piece for the armholes. You know if you had a brain fart and thought it actually was a bias binding pattern piece and already cut the fabric.  I did use a 1/4" seam allowance to sew the strip on due to the width of the piece.

4. There was some sort of nonsense in the directions about turning the hem up 2 + inches and then trimming it down. I guess a wider hem would be a nice design element in a semi-see through fabric like the eyelet they used in there pattern sample. I wanted the hem a little longer anyway so my dress has a 1 1/4" hem that did not need to be eased in. The button band was plenty long enough to accommodate this with out any adjustment.

5. I heard, through the grapevine, about some people feeling there was too much ease in the back.  For me this wasn't an issue, probably because my upper back is wide. I was able to skip my standard width adjustment since there was already plenty of ease to move my arms around.

Husband Comment
"It's got a collar and buttons. Do those buttons open up? Does it have pockets? Well that's convenient. Are you wearing a belt with that? Does the collar chafe your neck? No? OK that's good. It looks stylin'." *Then the spelling of styling was specified.*

My Final Thoughts
Even though I was cursing my lot during the hand sewing, I knew it was going to be fine in the end.  I could tell from the muslin that this would be a comfortable dress and easy to accessorize. The style of pattern is "me" or at least me at this current moment. (Damn changeable whims.) The Carline print was a perfect match and I admit enjoying the flurry of instagram liking while making this dress. None of you can resit the fabric's charms....and I don't blame you.  Roses goooood.

Coincidentally Mary just made this pattern too. Linking over so you can get a look at another lovely version. That's 3 shirt dresses for the price of one, cause I'm not trying to brain wash you into buying the pattern or anything. (Buuuuuuy Ittttt.)

57 comments:

  1. The fabric is amazing and fits the dress perfectly!

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  2. Gah! Miss Bee, this is the perfect dress for you! It looks so, so fabulous, and it totally does the Liberty justice! Way to go, bro!

    Also, is it even possible for a collar to chafe a neck? Is that a thing?

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  3. I loved seeing your progress in IG and I'm still in love with the print. It's soooo purrrrty. Yumm. And your dress looks gorgeous

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  4. This is so beautiful and classic! I saw Mary's version a few days ago and it look fabulous on her too! I never though of myself as a shirt dress person, but your photos are giving me major "becoming a shirt dress person" aspirations.

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  5. I really like the fit on you! You are good at fitted-but-with-ease!

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  6. I really need to revisit this pattern. It looks amazing on you and Mary! I found the back to blousy - but I think that's because I'm really, really short waisted in the back and it puffed out! Your's looks fantastic. g

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  7. Ooh la la! Very beautiful. That Liberty is divine. I too seem to hoard all my Liberty. It just seems as though no project is quite worthy of it. Unlike your dress, very Liberty worthy!

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  8. Love this Heather, great job! I've been waiting to see this pop up on your blog after all the Instagramming and drooling (well, on my end at least). :) This summer seems to be full of shirt dresses, and for good reason! They're so effortless and chic. Enjoy wearing this one - it's gorgeous.

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  9. Must have this pattern! And I am totally in on the Liberty heist. I have 2 pieces of Liberty Lawn I got on a trip to London and it just take it out and carress it every once and while. I can't imagine cutting into it, but I be it would be so nice to wear. This dress looks fabulous on you and the fabric is spot on - so glad it got saved for this bad boy!

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  10. It's gorgeous. I'm totally up for the Liberty Lawn Heist (I need some of those roses) let me know when and where ;)

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  11. That is a perfect dress, great job and as always great blog post.

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  12. First up this dress is cute and I love that print. However, I have to tell ya the cup sizes on the Big 4 don't work the same way as your actual bra cup sizes (if they did I wouldn't have a chance in hell of sewing anything!) You pick the cup size based on the difference between your high and full bust measurement. So even though I take a G cup normally, I only need a B cup in the Big 4...hope that helps! Sewmanju.wordpress.com

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  13. This is SO gorgeous, Heather! So much so that a certain piece of Carline print poplin I've been hoarding may end up getting the 6696 treatment. If it's the pink colorway, I'm not a total copycat, right? (Liberty, if you're reading: I second Heather! Carline needs to be eternally in print.) Your dress is just perfect, though. It fits you beautifully and is such a great use of this fabric. Love it!

    Incidentally, I had similar issues with the bust of this pattern. Widening the dart worked pretty well, but for my next version I went down a size and did an FBA on that D-cup piece. We'll see how it goes...

    Thank you so much for the shout out, as well!

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  14. And here it is! I have been waiting patiently to see this, as well as trying to distract Don from his endless questions as to why you haven't appeared in his office yet. Good job you sent in Froggie for diplomatic relations. You have done the 6696 proud, but I always knew your version would be a knock-out! It looks amazing and that fabric is stunning. You're a total siren! xx

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  15. Carline is my favourite Liberty print by a long way, I absolutely love it and this dress shows it off beautifully. I'm sure Don will love it! x

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  16. Lovely! I want to join your Liberty heist! I've made this dress twice and get so excited every time someone else makes it. I got around the handstitching by making top-stitching a design element, because otherwise I never would have completed the dress, and I like topstitching.

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  17. You look fantastic in that colour (and I'll be in on the #LLheist).

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  18. So pretty! I just bought this pattern at a Spotlight sale and your version is the perfect inspiration. You've just found a partner in crime to raid Liberty's cos I want that fabric!

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  19. Oh my goodness, this dress is gorgeous! I LOVE this fabric so much. Why, oh why had Liberty discontinued it!! Lynne

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  20. The McCall Pattern CompanyAugust 19, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    We love this pattern on you! Would you mind if we shared a photo on our social media? Email us at Facebook@mccallpattern.com. Thanks!

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  21. Well, all the handsewing was worth it! I love the style of this dress and you can't beat a the great print! I need to send you some of my new favorite handsewing needles - they might help you dread all the non-machine stitching a little less. =)

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  22. I agree with your husband's comments. Stylin' :)

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  23. Love it. The fabric is gorgeous on you and the fit is divine. :)

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  24. Gorgeous dress. I'm not sure how I overlooked this pattern, but now it's on my list to acquire when it goes on sale.

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  25. Gorgeous! That print is divine!

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  26. Thanks Dana. Man this fabric, I'd love to have a bolt of it. :)

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  27. Thank you Lisa. I think this was one of those times were not reading the directions came back and bit me in the ass. I could have decided to add some top-stitching at the start and gotten around most of the hand stitching. Oh well, next time.

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  28. Thanks Sonja. I'm going to fist bump you about cool dresses. Yeah!


    I don't know what the deal was with Steve's million questions about this dress. No the collar doesn't chafe, I fix that sort of stuff. ;)

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  29. Thank you Fooniks. I can't get enough of that print either. (Might have scoured the internet for more.)

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  30. Thanks Megan. I loved Mary's version with the contrast collar. So nice. I never thought of myself as a shirt dress person either. It might be the right pattern that makes it happen. :)

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  31. Thank you Gillian. For some reason I read that was fitted with butt ease. Haa haaa!! Gotta add the butt ease or your in trouble.

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  32. Thanks Gaylen. Bah to fitting issues making things puffy. Maybe you'd like it better with a bit of ease removed.

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  33. Thank you Debbie. I completely agree with you that most projects don't seem worthy of Liberty. It's so much easier to hoard it and pet it forever. :)

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  34. Thanks Carolyn. I hope your phone did not get drooled upon too much. ;) It was a lot of fun posting photos of the progress even with all the hand sewing.

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  35. Thank you Heather. Liberty Heist is a go. Now we just need a computer guy and a guy with muscles and maybe Tom Cruise.


    Hug your Liberty for me and maybe some day it will tell you what it wants to be.

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  36. Thank Sian. I'll put you on the heist email list. We all must have roses.

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  37. Thank you Lori. I lurked around a new lawyers office for pics this dress. Muhaaa!

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  38. Thank you Manju. I did not see that area of the instructions about the cup sizes....cause I don't read instructions. :) Out of curiosity I measured myself and I'd still be in the D cup range but on the lower end. Maybe a C cup bodice would have been a better choice. Good it know if I use one of these McCall's cup sized patterns again. Thank you for letting me know.

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  39. Thank you Mary. I say pull the trigger on that Carline print and make another 6696. The roses told me it was meant to be and not copying at all.


    It's good to know you had similar issues with the bust. I wonder if the pattern runs a little big there as you increase the cup sizes. At least we know how to tweak it to fit ourselves. Hooray!


    Since we finished our 6696 dresses around the same time, it seemed wrong not to mention it. Gotta be a pattern pusher. ;)

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  40. Awww thank you Clare. Also think you for tweeting at McCall's about it. :)


    Tell Don that I'll be over with some Scotch first thing this morning. I just have to go get my hair did. Froggie will entertain him with a song and dance routine in the meantime.

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  41. Thank you Jane. Think Don could talk Liberty into re-releasing Carline? Maybe we should bribe him with drinks.

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  42. Thanks Alice. You're now part of the heist team. We'll be rolling around in liberty by the end of the month. ;)


    Next version of this dress is getting top-stitching for sure!

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  43. Thanks Colesworth. I'm adding you to the heist team. Directions will hit your inbox soon. :)

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  44. Thank you Siobhan. Glad you were able to snap this one up on sale. We'll find you a nice print when we raid Liberty. :)

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  45. Thank you Lynne. It's a shame that the print has been discontinued. It really should be a liberty classic.

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  46. Thanks, I will drop you a line.

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  47. Thanks Brooke. You're right, the hand sewing was worth it in the end. Now tell me more about these magic needles. :)

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  48. Haa haa, thanks Laura. :)

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  49. Thanks Andie. Other than that bust change this baby was pretty easy to fit. Hooray!

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  50. Thank you Cari. I overlooked it myself. Think McCall's could do a bit better job with fabric choices for their sample garments.

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  51. Thanks Margo my print sister. We need more roses. :)

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  52. That dress is so cute! It makes me want to ignore the fact that I never like wearing shirt dresses. :)

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  53. Thank you Rachel. It's the blogger effect! I've purchased a pattern or two that didn't really suit me before cause someone made a cute version.

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  54. I am obviously so very behind on my blog reading, but I'm finally here. Oh, this is just so gorgeous. I can just imagine how wonderful the fabric feels in person!

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  55. Don't worry Laura. You can meander on over here when ever you want. The liberty is just lovely. I wish it would reproduce on it's on in the stash.

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  56. I love it! it's really ÿou", it seems.
    looovely fabric.

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  57. Thank you Juliana. :) It's seeing plenty of wear since summer decided to show up in September.

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