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Aug 242016

Well hello!  Yes, I do still have a blog!  And yes, I have definitely been sewing, as those of you who follow me on Instagram surely know.  I’ve been doing a pretty terrible job of keeping up with photographing what I make, though, and then even when I do a big photo shoot and edit all of my photos, it takes me a month to actually write a post to go with them!  So here’s me like two months ago:mccalls-6891-nani-iro-mountain-view-front-1

This is McCall’s 6891, which is a Palmer/Pletsch pattern.

Observe the “easy” badge on the envelope and “3-hour perfect fit shirtdress” description on the instructions.  Blatant lies, I tell you.  I made two muslins of this bodice that probably took me 2 hours to cut out and sew alone.  And as an eagle-eyed Instagram follower pointed out when I posted this there, the example is made in plaid!  It would probably take me 3 hours just to plaid match while cutting!  Plus you need to make buttonholes and sew on buttons, which usually takes me two hours all by itself!  I get that Palmer/Pletsch are professionals and can probably do things pretty quickly, and that I’m outrageously slow at things, but I’d like to see someone make this whole thing in 3 hours.

In any event, you can see that I made the sleeveless view A, and the fabric I used is a Nani Iro double gauze called “Mountain Views” that was popular last summer (back when I began planning this dress).  I really love the print, but I must say that it doesn’t behave the way double gauze usually does.  This is because some of the print is done with a thick ink that makes the fabric stiff in some spots.  I don’t really mind this because I find double gauze to be shifty and annoying sometimes, but if you’re looking for that soft, cozy double gauze feeling, this won’t fit the bill.  mccalls-6891-nani-iro-mountain-view-side

The photo below makes it look like I didn’t iron this dress before taking the photos, but I did.  This is just the way the fabric looks, which is also not typical for double gauze.  I can usually get cotton double gauze to press very nicely, but this fabric is a little more crinkly because of that thick ink.  mccalls-6891-nani-iro-mountain-view-back

Conversing with a cat.  Can you see her little floating eyes, ears, and mouth?  I know you can definitely see her cardboard scratcher on the right and the little mat I keep in front of her pet fountain on the left.  I usually move those out of the way when I do photos, but I guess I forgot.  mccalls-6891-nani-iro-mountain-view-side-with-cat

As you can see, I added pockets because pockets.  I just used the pattern pieces from the Deer and Doe Belladone, which is my go-to pocket.  I don’t like side-seam pockets because they tend to sit funny and things fall out of them.  These pockets from the Belladone are ideal.  They always lay flat, and I’ve never had anything fall out of them.  I also substituted a modified version of the Belladone skirt for the circle skirt included in the pattern.  I really hate the way circle skirts look on me for some reason, but I didn’t want to substitute the pleated skirt from McCall’s 6696 because I wanted a more streamlined look.  I’m pleased with this substitution.  I’ve used the Belladone skirt like a grabillion times now with various bodices, and it’s always perfect.mccalls-6891-nani-iro-mountain-view-front-2

Things I like about this dress:

  • The notched collar.  I like the open neckline on me.  I’m very short from bust to neck, so having too much going on in that area can overwhelm me.  I like the open v-shape this collar style provides.
  • The less flared shape.  It’s less likely to blow up in the Chicago wind, which is great, plus it’s just a different silhouette than my other shirtdresses.
  • The fabric, which is from Miss Matatabi.  Despite its stiffness, I love this fabric.  The beauty of the print is almost too much – I kind of want to frame it and hang it on my wall instead of wearing it!  Nani Iro is amazing.  I just finished two more dresses in double gauze prints from her (they do not share the stiffness of this one – they feel like regular double gauze).
  • The fit at the shoulder.  It’s almost perfect.  I always think I have a perfect fit, but then when I take my photos, I see all sorts of pulling.  I can ever so slightly see some ripples, especially in my cat whispering photo above, but I think that’s down to my bias tape insertion.  I bought premade bias tape from Echino from Miss Matatabi as well, and it’s not nearly as stiff as the Wright’s stuff you get at Joann, but it’s not as supple as when I make it myself.  I’m also having this issue lately where I cut the shoulder in too narrow and my bra strap shows.  I began doing this because shoulders are always too wide, but I’m apparently taking it too far lately.  This dress is perfect.  It’s not too wide and I didn’t cut it so narrow that my bra strap shows.  It’s also a great balance between being not gaping at the armhole and not being too tight, which is a problem I’ve caused in my attempts to balance armhole with bust size.  A too-tight armhole is SO uncomfortable!

Things I don’t love about this dress:

  • The lack of a waistband.  I prefer how I look with a more defined waist.  I was into belts for a while, but they’re so shifty.  I feel like I’m always fiddling with them.  Part of this is probably because I like to wear them loose so they don’t sausagify me, and that makes them more likely to rotate on my waist.
  • The side zipper.  No, this dress is not supposed to have a side zipper.  I’ve begun sewing all my shirtdresses together at the center front because no matter how well they fit, as I move throughout the day, I’ll eventually cause them to gape between the buttons.  Several bloggers have discussed putting in additional buttons backwards (if that makes sense – the button faces your body instead of outward, so you can’t see it).  That would be a good solution, but I usually don’t unbutton my shirtdresses when I put them on anyway, so why not just sew the front closed and be done with it?  For this dress, though, it looked very sloppy until it was quite fitted to me, and I was worried I wouldn’t easily be able to put it on without having some kind of closure that I could open up.  I decided to put in an invisible side zipper, but as it turns out, I don’t actually need to use it!  This dress is a little tighter when I put it on, but it’s perfectly put-on-able without unzipping the zipper.  So it’s just unnecessary and the zipper tab irritates my arm sometimes.  I put the zipper in after the dress was constructed, so it’s not the cleanest insertion either.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to rip it out soon.

So the good outweighs the bad, and I’ll definitely be making another version of this pattern.  I love the notched collar, and I think I’ll try to add a waistband even though I think it might look odd in combination with the notched collar.  We shall find out precisely how odd it looks, I suppose!