Wednesday, August 01, 2012

McCalls 6506 - The Bodice

The pattern description on the envelope's back is minimal - Dress has collar, collar and front band, fitted bodice with darts stitched on right side of fabric, pleated skirt, attached belt, self-carriers and stitched hem.

I bought this pattern back when it first appeared on McCall's website.  I loved it on first sight.  I just wasn't sure if it would work on my body.  But I've seen quite a few of these waisted shirt dresses on the retail plus size sites and I decided to take a chance.  After seeing a gingham dress from Landsend that was pinned to Erica's pinterest site, I rambled through my fabric collection because I knew that I'd purchased some large block linens earlier in the year.

I decided on this white/gray large gingham linen for the skirt portion of the dress...

My next thought was to use some of the white cotton pique that I'd acquired a few years ago.  But when I was going to pull the cotton pique from the collection, my hand fell on two lightweight white linens.  I went with the one that had been prewashed so that I could avoid that step.  So I'm making a two-toned dress.  Of course, I couldn't do something easy, right?

At first I thought I would make a muslin of the bodice because that's the part that troubled me the most.  Could I get a decent fit?  Would I be able to make it fit my very full waistline?  Will I end up with a wadder? I have to admit that I made minimal changes to the bodice.

  • I added an inch to the front and back bodice at the lengthen and shorten line.
  • Then I trued up the side seams.
  • I made a rounded back adjustment to the back bodice piece
  • The shoulder seam was shortened by 1.5"
  • I omitted the front and back darts.

When I realized that I had at least 2 yards of the white linen, I decided to go ahead and make up the bodice from the fabric.  I had plenty left to recut either the front or the back if needed and I thought I would get a better impression using the fashion fabric.
So I cut the fabric out and basted it is a bathroom shot of me checking the fit...

(I hate bathroom shots because they are so unflattering!
But it works for seeing if the top will fit)

I'm encouraged so I will take the bodice apart and underline it with a cotton batiste because the linen is a little sheer.  

Bodice sewn and waiting for the skirt

Next up is the skirt...gonna have to work out that pleat placement... always more later!


  1. Waiting eagerly to seeing the finished dress , it will be gorgeous with your fabric choice. I made this dress last month and have worn it 3 times already, it's such a flattering pattern

  2. Cute pattern. Liking your choice of fabrics too.

  3. Oh yeah, the self mirror shot where you are trying to check fit is no fun! I am intrigued by the external darts & pleated skirt, though. It should be really nice.

  4. I'm watching this anxiously- I'm not sure a true shirtwaist would suit me and I want to learn from your changes- great fabric.

  5. Oh, this will be so cute in white and gray! The sophisticated colors will keep it from looking too "I Love Lucy". Can't wait to see the finished version!

  6. I have this on my to-get-pattern list. I like the fullness of the skirt. I've had no success with prior shirt dresses. Thinking the too straight skirt was the culprit. Looking forward to your dress.

  7. So proud your doing this pattern.. I have seen it done on several blogs and it is very pretty. Can't wait to see the final dress.Love the fabrics.

  8. This will be very pretty and shirtwaist dresses are so popular now. I think making it in the pale grey/white will make it very sophisticated.

  9. As always, I will follow along as you sew this dress, and learn so much about fitting along the way. Thanks Carolyn for sharing your expertise!

  10. Very cute pattern and looks like you're off to a great start too! What a neat idea to make it appear as separates! Can't wait to see the completed project!

  11. I'm very curious to see how this turns out. I have made a couple of shirt waist dresses now but have not been completely happy with any of them. I'm still searching for the perfect pattern! I like all the details on this one. I love that large block linen, too!

  12. You are off to a great start. I only wish I could get away with minimal bodice adjustments. Yours looks very good.

  13. I continue to be in awe of your pattern fitting skills. I can't wait to see this dress completed. I know it will look awesome on you.

  14. Can't wait to see the final product and the final review. It is my plan to make this for early Fall...which is closer than I think! Great fabric choice!

  15. Revelation! As a woman with 'a bit of a tummy', it never occurred to me to just leave out the waist darts for a better fit. It's taken me a few days to recover from this obviousness! This is gonna be lovely.

  16. I have a feeling it's going to look just great! Can't wait to see the finished product :)

  17. That is going to look SO good! I just love that over-sized gingham...and because of the colors, it won't look too "Ellie Mae!"


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