When the McCall Pattern Blog recently announced a shirtdress sew along, I thought it sounded like fun and a great motivator to make a shirtdress, something I haven't done in a long time. I love the style so I don't know why I didn't already have one of these in my closet.
I knew I had at least a few patterns in my stash and I wanted to use one of them, preferably along with stash fabric. I chose M5024. It is a very traditional looking style with a darted bodice and an a-line skirt. I liked the way it looked on the model with the close fitting bodice and squared shoulders. The sleeve bands and the button band cinched the decision for me.
After doing a little internet research, I found that M5024 is the stitch 'n save version of M4769, which has been released with various cover photos. You may recognize this one:
For my fabric, I chose a turquoise seersucker from stash. It wasn't my first choice. I wanted to use a novelty print from stash but I didn't have quite enough of it to cut all my pieces out with the print running in the right direction. The pattern does not have a "with nap" layout so the fabric requirements listed are not enough for directional prints. I figure I needed about 1/2 yard more of my 45" fabric to make the pattern work.
I ended up going with the seersucker because I had it on hand, there was plenty of it, and I love seersucker. It's very cool and comfortable on a hot day. And it was very hot and muggy when these photos were taken. The dress, however, was quite crisp and comfortable.
The pattern envelope I had included sizes 16 to 22. I had to grade the neck and shoulders down to a size 14 and I cut a 16 everywhere else. I added 1.25" of length to the bodice pieces, my standard adjustment for my long torso.
The pattern went together easily. The directions were good and the pieces, for the most part, were well drafted. I can't speak for M4769, but with M5024 I did find that some of the notches did not match up correctly. You can see in the photo above that the bodice side seam notches are slightly off. It was not a big deal- the seams themselves lined up perfectly.
The only problem I found was the sleeve bands which are too short. You can see above where I have the size 16 sleeve cut out and the sleeve band below it. I cut the band on the size 16 line on one end and the size 22 on the other end. If I had used the size 16 lines on both ends, my bands would have been too short to attach to the sleeve. I checked the pattern pieces and the instructions to see if smaller seam allowances were indicated for the bands, but no. (You can also see the notches don't line up.) Luckily for me I noticed this before cutting out the bands. I've adjusted the pattern piece so that if I make this again it won't be a problem.
The dress went together very well. There are quite a few pieces to this pattern. More than you might think because the facings are all separate, and there are sleeve bands and a button band. Most of the sewing is pretty straight forward, although there is an inset corner where the collar attaches to the neckline, so that requires some precision sewing. I also love that the dress has pockets in the side seams.
I went a little large on the buttons using 1" instead of the 5/8" called for. I adjusted the spacing to account for my length adjustment and because I knew I would wear a belt with this dress. I added a hook and eye inside the button band right at the waist to keep it from gaping.
I'm happy with the finished dress and I can see myself making this pattern again if the right fabric came along. I would still like to make it in a print. I had such a good time making this and I like it so much, I made a second shirtdress for the sew along. More on that in the next post.