Saturday, June 4, 2016

MCCall's 5621 A Shift Dress

Hello, 2008 called.  They want their neckline back...

So a few weeks ago I was puttering around my sewing room just itching to sew something.  I had a jersey dress all cut out and ready to go, but no needles to sew it.  I had some ponte to work on, too, but... no needles.  On the other hand I had plenty of universal needles and plenty of cotton prints, and a hefty pattern stash...

I ended up pulling M5621 out.  I love a shift dress and I love this "key hole" neckline, too, even if it was trendy 8 years ago!  I never got around to making it then, and I still wanted to try it.  Besides, the pattern looked simple, it only called for 2 yards of 45" fabric, and I just happened to have...

 ...this flamingo print marinating in my fabric stash along with this coral linen that I apparently bought a whole bolt of at some point because I have a ton of it.

I was going for a Lilly Pulitzer-esque look with all the turquoise and coral and the flamingos.  I don't think I quite got it.

For this dress, I cut a 14 through the neck and shoulders and a 16 from the bust down.  There are no darts in this pattern, and very minimal side seam shaping.  The only adjustment I made was an extra inch of length at the waist.  That extra inch almost caused me to not have enough fabric.  The pattern just barely fit on my 2 yd cut of fabric.  Of course, the print is directional, so I had to cut it with the pattern running the right way.

Check out those awesome flamingos!

Of course the best part of this dress is the dramatic neckline.  I love the look- it shows quite a bit of skin, but isn't scandalous at all.  I feel very comfortable in this.

The neck pieces are cut from linen with the outer pieces interfaced.  It did take some precision sewing- you have to put in stabilizing stitches and clip into the corners.  And of course the endless curves all have to be graded and clipped so that everything lies flat.  But it wasn't too terribly difficult and I spent a relaxing afternoon working on it.

The print is cut to the full pattern length, which I felt was too short for me.  To bring the hem to mid knee, I added a simple band of linen approximately 4" wide.  I just measured the bottom of the pattern and then used my rotary cutter to cut strips the width of the pattern and twice the length of the hem band plus allowances.  I folded the band up and hand stitched it to the inside of the dress so all the raw edges are enclosed.

The dress is very comfortable and I figure it will get some wear during the hottest part of the summer when a cool cotton dress can be a life saver.  I could see wearing it to work with a cardigan.  I just don't know, though.  I don't get that LP shift vibe from it... I get more of a fancy hospital gown vibe... a fancy maternity hospital gown.  Maybe its the colors.  I thought the turquoise and coral would be more pronounced.  Instead I see pink and blue.  Baby pink and baby blue.

It's okay though, because I like the dress enough to try again.  Although I'm thinking of making the next version in a rayon challis- the drapier fabric will be more flattering- and I'm also thinking of cutting it off at the hip to make a top.  A cool challis top to wear with jeans on casual Fridays will get a lot of wear this summer.

In other news, I've been participating in the McCall's Shirtdress Sew-Along and my first shirtdress is almost done.

Here it is laid out so I could play with button placement.  I'll have it finished up and ready to share soon.

Happy Sewing!


Jen L said...

This pattern has been on my mind lately too. I also just spotted a Trina Turk dress with the very same neckline. So I guess 2008 is back? I also remember this neckline from about 1990 or so.

Summer Flies said...

I love this on you. It is very flattering at the neckline and a very slimming. I like the band at the bottom as it balances the dress. Really lovely.

Paola said...

What a great summer dress. Have fun wearing it!

Linda T said...

I like it! I'm a sucker for a shift dress too.

Audrey said...

Neat neckline. And the fabrics and colors coordinate well. It is not a fitted as the dresses you usually wear, but it will be cool to wear in the summer.