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Sep 072016

I’ve been trying to expand my shirtdress repertoire lately; my last post was on McCall’s 6891, and soon I hope to post a couple versions of the Deer and Doe Bruyere that I’ve  made (which I know is supposed to be a blouse, but I’ve lengthened it to be a dress).  And let’s not forget about the Grainline Alder, which was actually my first shirtdress!  McCall’s 6696 is wonderful, but it’s good to explore the wider world of shirtdresses.  With that goal in mind, today I bring you Butterick 6333.

butterick-6333-frontOne of the issues I was hoping to address with this pattern is the huge collar of 6696.  As you can see above, though, the collar still looks too big.  I compared the two collar pattern pieces and found that the Butterick was only slightly smaller than the McCall’s.  Part of the problem is my short neck, so others may have fewer collar issues than me.  butterick-6333-side As you can see, I used the slash pockets from the Belladone rather than the side seam pockets the pattern comes with.  I so prefer this style of pocket (and I apparently love them so much that I didn’t get any pictures with my hands out of the pockets . . . whoops!).  In terms of other substitutions, I used the skirt from McCall’s 6696.  I think the skirt for 6333 is a little fuller, but the 6696 skirt is plenty full for me, especially in the obnoxious Chicago wind, which threatens daily to show my underthings to passersby.butterick-6333-front-2 butterick-6333-back

My fabric is quilting cotton from Art Gallery.  The collection is Bari J’s Millie Fleur and the colorway is Wisteria.  I had sworn off quilting cotton a while back, but I’ve been relaxing my standards when I find a good Art Gallery or Cotton + Steel print because I find their quilting cottons to have a better hand than is typical.  I couldn’t resist this one when I spotted it in a local quilt shop while at a Chicago Sewing Social.butterick-6333-closeup

As you can maybe see above, there aren’t any buttonholes on this dress.  That’s because I just sewed the two button bands together and then sewed the buttons through both layers.  This dress is tighter than some of the others that I pull over my head, but it’s still quite possible to do it without unbuttoning it.  The tighter fit is more flattering to my eye, but increases the likelihood of bust area gappage when I sit.  I can eliminate that by just sewing up the plackets and not bothering with buttonholes.  I don’t think it’s noticeable from a distance.  I like to think that rather than people saying, “Wait a second!  Is her dress missing buttonholes?!”, they are instead saying, “Wow, how did that busty girl find a shirtdress that fit her so well?!”

Since this is my first version of this dress, there are some things that did not come out perfectly, despite my doing a muslin beforehand (I never skip muslins!).  The next time I make this dress, I’ll:

-Add some length to the front bodice so the waistband sits lower.

-Cut the tops of the front bodice pieces and button bands on an angle so there isn’t as much fabric at the center front.  I had mentioned doing this in a prior blog post, and I tried it out on my most recent shirtdress (a Bruyere/6696 mashup), and it turned out perfectly.  There is less fabric at the neck to overwhelm me, but the angle is very subtle so it’s not noticeable.  It just looks like the dress fits better.  You can see in the closeup above that there is a crease right next to the button band, especially on the right side.  That fabric can basically be taken out through a slash and overlap on the pattern, which is what I’ll do.

-Make the collar smaller.  I just keep on shaving off more on these shirtdress collars!  One day there will barely be anything left!

-Narrow the shoulders a bit.  It’s not really visually evident, but the front is especially wide at the shoulder and I find that the fabric digs into my arms there, which makes this dress less comfortable than my other dresses.  I’ll probably take out half of what I need to take out at the center front piece along the princess seam and the other half on the side front piece at the shoulder so it’s distributed more evenly across the front at the shoulder, if that makes sense.  Otherwise I’m afraid my side front piece would end up being so narrow that it would look odd because it’s a pretty significant amount that I think I’ll need to take out.

Despite those things that didn’t come out quite right, I do definitely love this dress.  The fit on the princess seams is excellent, and I think it’s an improvement over the bodice fit on 6696 for me.  I’m looking forward to making it again!

  12 Responses to “Butterick 6333 Princess-Seamed Shirtdress”

  1. Princess seams are a lot easier to fit for busty gals than darts, aren’t they? You have a got a great fit on this dress and the fabric is divine.
    Sometimes I find if things are digging into the shoulder/armhole area, it can be because I used too wide a bias tape (1/2″) and the topstitching encroaches on the surrounding fabric too much, pulling it tight to the body. Just a thought.

    • Thank you! I avoided princess seams for a while because I wasn’t quite sure how to do an FBA on them, but I’m glad I got over that because they really are so much better. Some of my darts get so huge that it’s hard to get them to not bubble or look otherwise wonky.

      I’ll have to pay attention the next time I wear the dress to see if the bias binding is contributing to the issue. It’s possible it’s a combination of things; armholes are my nemesis (and sleeves even more so, but I prefer things sleeveless,fortunately, so I rarely have to face this issue).

  2. I love this! Well, of courser I do, you know how I feel about shirtdresses. I am determined to follow in your footsteps and sew up more of my pattern stash of shirtdresses this summer. I need to remember to do the placket on an angle thing, and also test out collar size. Blasted collar size – I am fine with having a massive collar in terms of distance of points from my face, but I want the collar stand to sit close to my neck. I’ll get there.

    • Collars can be so obnoxious – I just got into a huge Facebook conversation with a friend who doesn’t sew about how irritating they can be. That’s why I was so attracted to the notched collar shirtdress I just posted – it has some visual interest around the neck with the notched collar, but you don’t have to worry about how the collar sits. I think I’m the opposite – I don’t want the collar sitting close to my neck, and I don’t want it to have a big spread in terms of distance from face. And when I put it that way, I realize that I really just want some sort of miniature collar! But I want it to look normal and not weird and unbalanced! I’m nothing if not easy to please! I think the angled placket would help with this issue without making the collar too strangely small, so I’m going to keep working on that one.

  3. Great make! I have the same issue with collars. I’m short waisted and short necked so I’ve been snoop shopping RTW to try different collars. Woeful rtw bust fit aside, I’ve discovered I prefer collars without a stand. So now to find the perfect shirtdress without a stand collar!

    • The Deer and Doe Bruyere doesn’t have a collar stand! It’s technically a shirt, but very easy to extend it into a dress. I found the collar method on it to be a little fiddly, but it basically uses a facing to envelope the collar instead of using a stand, and it definitely helps a ton. I’m just out of the sizing range on Deer and Doe’s patterns, but I just do a cheater grading up by adding to the side seam and it usually works out for me.

      I also just made a dress that’s a hack of McCall’s 6696 based on some other patterns like the Blank Slate Marigold and Sewaholic Nicola, and it has a collar without a stand. I’m still finishing it up, but I hope to get it photographed soon because it might just be my favorite thing I’ve ever made!

      Good luck on your quest for the perfect shirtdress!

  4. I love that fabric! A shirtdress is still on my to-make list, but I’m a bit intimidated, I guess. :-/

    • Thanks! I definitely recommend making a shirtdress! The hardest part is the collar, but if you use the method from Andrea at Four Square Walls (it comes right up in google), it doesn’t have to be that bad. Just don’t use the pattern instructions! Big 4 collar instructions are obnoxious and Andrea’s method makes it go much easier.

  5. Kate (Crafties) linked me to your blog recently (I’ve been sewing for a bit less than a year) and I’m loving your shirtdress makes! the fabric is super pretty and fits you really nicely. I’ve yet to sew a shirtdress myself, although I have done the flat pattern adjustments for M7351 and am probably going to start muslining that on the weekend – I’m intrigued by the idea of sewing the button bands together and stitching the buttons through, that’s genius! I’m apple-shaped and rarely need closures anyway (I often don’t both putting zips in dresses because I can pull them on).

    • Thank you! 7351 gets rave reviews and seems like a classic right alongside 6696. I hope your muslin turns out great and you end up with a go-to shirtdress pattern. I’ve also stopped putting zippers in my dresses! I never, ever undo any fasteners I put on anything and the gapping I was getting on my shirtdresses when I sat down was making me uncomfortable, so I started hand sewing the button bands together at the bust and waist. But I hate hand sewing, so eventually I figured I could just sew the bands together from the beginning and be done with it. The gapping was also causing some strain and making me paranoid that I’d eventually pop a button, so it’s nice to not have to worry about that anymore!

  6. what a nice combination of dress and fabric. often that isn’t easy to do. also, i really like that length for a shirtdress. as for the collar, have you ever tried a shawl collar? not so common now, but very flattering and interesting.

    looking at the shoulder width, it looks about right. maybe you just need to scoop out a little bit. what i do is hold my arms straight out in front of me and see where the shirt or dress is rubbing. i mark it with chalk at that spot. then i gradually scoop from the shoulder to the underarm with the deepest bite landing exactly where the mark is. i’ve sometimes needed as much as 1/2″, others as little as 1/4″. the dress is definitely a keeper. will you make it again with sleeves for the cold months?

    • I’ve never tried a shawl collar, but I’d really like to! I’ve wanted to try one on a blazer for a while now, but it hadn’t occurred to me to try one on a shirt dress. I’ll have a use for a shirt dress sooner than I’ll have a use for another blazer, so it looks like a shawl collar just moved up my list.

      Based on how the sleeves feel, I really thought they were going to look awful, but they do look fine. I think perhaps a strategic scoop in just the right spot is really all it needs, as you say.

      I’d like to try one with sleeves, especially because I haven’t had great luck with the sleeves on McCall’s 6696. I tend to make all my dresses sleeveless and then pair them with a cardigan in the fall and winter. I also have a lot of issues with sleeve fit, though, and I’d like to try them more often so I could get a handle on what’s going on.

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