After the endless denim talk on my blog recently, I thought I'd better show you my first (but definitely not my last!) denim make of the year - a denim shirt dress using McCall's 6696. I decided on this pattern after being completely bowled over by Sew Dixie Lou's summery sleeveless version. I didn't want to wait until summer to make it though - I needed a dress that I could wear during the day with boots and tights - and that's when the idea for a denim shirt dress was born.
For fabric I used a dark, dress weight denim from Minerva Crafts which I initially thought might be a bit too stiff, but it actually behaved itself perfectly whilst I was making the dress. The sturdiness of the fabric ensured everything matched up and the seams and darts were easy to press flat. The pattern was also a delight to use - I went for view D, which features a straight skirt with inset pockets and longer sleeves. I measured all the pattern pieces beforehand (as advised by Clare) and was satisfied that the size 14 would be the right fit. I also seem to have cunningly side stepped the whole issue of a FBA with this dress as the pattern allows for different cup sizes. Separate bodice pieces are given depending on the difference between your high bust measurement and your full bust measurement. Please note: the cup sizes on this pattern are NOT the same as bra cup sizes so you'll need to measure yourself carefully to see which bodice piece you need. I cut a straight size 14 all over and a C cup. The only change I made to the pattern pieces was to shorten the skirt by 2.5 inches.
I really like most of the features on this dress but there are still a couple of things that the jury's out about. After sewing up the original pointy cuffs, I decided they looked way too pointy pointy and alien-like, so swapped them for straight ones. ("Pointy birds, pointy, pointy. anoint my head, anointy, nointy"- five gold stars to anyone who can tell me which film that line is from….) The gathered back also takes a bit of getting used to - I do like a yoke and a few gathers, but this is maybe a gather too far. Despite the good fit across the bust (hoorah), the lower bodice feels a bit baggy and is a looser fit than I'm used to. After a bit of pondering, I left the bodice as it was and it hasn't killed me, it's actually really comfortable to wear. This is supposed to be a dress version of a pair of jeans after all. If in doubt, I can always add a belt...
Taking my own advice from my Tips for Sewing with Denim post, I used contrasting cotton poplin (last seen on my blue rose drawstring top ) for the pockets and under collar.
|Contrast pocket, you can just see the straight cuff too|
If I'd had a bit more fabric to spare, I would have cut the inner yoke and waistband pieces from it too, which would have made the inside even prettier. It's slightly annoying that the under collar is actually visible when I wear the dress. For some reason I was thinking it would be buttoned up to the neck. Why? Why? It's a well known fact that I hate anything too tight around the neck. I'm such a dumbo sometimes!
The instructions call for the front band to be attached to the top and bottom of the dress with a few slip stitches, which wasn't going to satisfy me, The front bands and the waistband were all firmly topstitched into submission. One good thing about sewing with denim is that you can never have enough topstitching. The more you add, the better your garment looks!
|Top stitched front bands and vintage buttons|
I'm really happy with the end result, I now have a dress that fits well, is super comfortable and made of denim. What more could you ask for?! If you'd like to make a denim shirt dress of your own, you can buy a Minerva kit comprising two metres of medium weight, indigo denim (the fabric is wide so I was able to cut out the whole long sleeved dress from two metres), McCalls 6696 and matching denim thread. If you plan on top stitching the life out of your dress then you may wish to purchase additional denim thread as I ran out half way through.
Happy Friday everybody! x
The kit was given to me free of charge as part of the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network. All views my own.