Feb 042016
 

I’m still alive!  It’s been a while since I posted, but I am indeed still a sewing blogger, despite appearances to the contrary.  I am quite behind in posting things I’ve made, though, so I’m going to combine two more of my beloved shirt dresses.  In both photos I’m wearing sandals because I took these photos sooooo long ago that it was still warm.  We did have a very warm fall, so it wasn’t quite as long ago as it might seem, but it hasn’t been sandal weather here for a while.  Taking blog photos is my least favorite thing about sewing, so you don’t get any pictures me of wearing these two dresses like I’ve been wearing them for the past few months: with boots and a cardigan.

First up is my 6696 kitty cats shirtdress:
cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-front

It’s not without its faults, but I love it so because the kitty cats are so adorable!  The teeny tiny one on the bottom left with its tiny head cocked to the side is my very favorite.

cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-detail

The fabric is canvas from Cotton and Steel.  Canvas is perhaps not the very best choice for a shirtdress, but I actually like the heft of this fabric.  The only problem is that the stiffness of the fabric exacerbates the issue I’ve had with the collar on McCall’s 6696, which is that it’s enormously huge on me.  I keep shaving off height from the neck, collar stand, and collar, and it’s never quite enough.  I wasn’t sure what I should do next, but I had a revelation a few days ago when I read Beth’s post about a silk blouse she made, in which the top plackets don’t meet in the middle; they subtly veer away from each other to form a sort of v-neck.  I think that’s what I need in addition to all the collar-shrinking I’ve been doing.  I never button anything up all the way to the neck, so it won’t cause any problems for the center front to not meet up at the neck.  I’m going to give it a try on my next 6696!

cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-too-big-collar

Side view!  More cats!
cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-side

Back view!  Even more cats!

cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-back

The other problem with this dress is that the sleeves really restrict my range of motion, which is a problem when I’m teaching because I need to write on the board.  Not sure what to do about this one either, but I’m not too worried about it because I don’t have a lot of plans for sleeves on dresses.  I generally like to avoid sleeves because they make it harder to wear cardigans with dresses.  For some reason, I kept envisioning this kitty dress with sleeves, though.  It caused me no end of trouble because I didn’t even have enough fabric to make the dress without sleeves, and then when I ordered more, it was from a different dye lot or something because it was quite noticeably a different color.  I ended up using the different-colored fabric for parts that wouldn’t be visible: the under collar, the placket that isn’t visible, the pockets, the inside yoke, and the waistband facing.  I also had to piece the upper collar to make it work, but you can hardly tell.

cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-side-stretch

Next up: denim 6696.  (Forgive the wrinkles and sudden changes in brightness; I’d worn the dress all day when I took these photos and I was playing with the settings on my camera and apparently didn’t take a full set of pictures on any one setting.)

mccalls-6696-waxed-denim-front

The idea for this one came from Fiona, who made a lovely denim 6696 a while back.  I initially bought this denim from Emma One Sock for a jean jacket, but when it came it was shinier than I’d envisioned, even though it was called “waxed” denim and I knew it would be somewhat shiny.  It just didn’t seem right for the kind of jean jacket I wanted, but when I saw Fiona’s dress, this denim suddenly seemed perfect for a dress.  It’s lighter than regular denim and has slightly better drape.  It seems like tons of people have made things in denim with red topstitching, so I hopped on that bandwagon as well, and I love it.  I haven’t worn much red in recent years, mostly because red and black used to be my uniform so it consequently seems a little boring these days.  But I’ve enjoyed wearing red again, and I especially like how this dress looks with a red cardigan I bought expressly for the purpose of wearing with this dress, and which I’ve helpfully not photographed for you.  Trust me when I say that there’s a reason I wore red to death a few years ago, though: it goes well with my dark hair!

mccalls-6696-waxed-denim-back

As my love for the Belladone suggests, I love a good back cutout.  The idea for this one came from Pinterest, where someone had pinned a vintage dress from Etsy.  The dress has long since sold, but here’s the inspiration picture:

Screenshot 2016-01-24 19.37.47

Here’s a side view for completion’s sake.  You can see in these various photos how the denim is dark but has a sheen to it; the color of the denim in the first picture is true.  It looks lighter in the second two photos, which isn’t really what it looks like in real life, but it does have a sheen that I think is more apparent in the lighter photos.  You can also see that I used a different kind of pocket on this one.  I thought side-seam pockets in this denim would be too bulky, so I used the pocket pattern from the Belladone dress.  That pattern is the gift that keeps on giving, I’m telling you.  mccalls-6696-waxed-denim-side

This denim dress actually drove me nuts during construction; I couldn’t get the bodice to match up with the waistband correctly, and it’s actually off center.  If you look closely, you can see that it’s a little bigger on the left side (my left/your right) than it is on the right.  Whatever.  At least I finished it, and I really like it!  And it gets a lot of compliments, so I think the pretty red topstitching and buttons are distracting enough for people to not notice.

With those two dresses out of the way, I’m caught up on things I’ve photographed.  I have some things that need to get photographed, and I’ve finished up my epic winter coat, which will call for its own epic photo session with my new camera whenever it next snows.  Yes, readers, it’s true: I plan to go outside for photos.  I also have a super boring year-in-review post that I’ll post soon, but it won’t be very interesting because it will talk about a bunch of stuff I made but never photographed.  :/