Ohhhhh, it’s getting close. April 30th is closer… Who’s going to win?

This was one of those projects that dragged on too long – I started slowing down the further I got into it, because subconsciously I was balking at the “scary” steps. Can’t move on before I try it on, and I don’t want to get into another fitting nightmare (all it needed was tweaks to the back armscye, bit of dart lengthening, and nipping in more at the waist – thanks fitting buddy!); don’t want to touch it because it needs hems and buttonholes…

Well, I took a hold of that subconscious brain and gave it a shake. And look what fell out!

M3691 shirtdress front

For a change, I actually used a real live pattern!! McCall’s 3691 (from 2002, and out of print):

McCall's 3691 Pattern Front

It was a bit of a relief to be able to sit back and follow other people’s directions – well, up until the point what they did wasn’t obvious. I figured it out pretty quickly though, so  I think the instructions were ok on this one. I made a few modifications…

Design mods: gave the skirt more of an A-line and closed up the vents. Chopped the longer version off just below the knee. Used the same embroidered cotton from the pants as the front and sleeve facings (didn’t have enough of the silk for the front ones, and actually made up the sleeve ones because doesn’t the slit in the sleeve call for being able to flip them back?).

Fitting mods: probably started at a 10 and scaled out to a 12 for the waist/hips, slanted and rotated the shoulder points, added a centre back seam with a curve in it, made the darts shallower and shorter, and probably 10 more tweaks along the way – but that was back in December on the muslin, so I don’t remember. I’ve got a new tissue draft of the pattern to use next time, because I pretty much slaughtered the original.

McCall's 3691 Back

Once again I’m dealing with trying to show details of black clothes – I’m starting to realize the brilliance of setting an extra “no black” rule that some do to their SWAPs. Sure, they did it to stretch their wardrobe, but it’s got to be a heck of a lot easier to take the pics afterwards!

With the cuffs turned back:
McCall's 3691 - cuffs back

I realize now that the pattern draft wasn’t really meant for this (ok, I realized that before, but now I realize that one needs a bit more room around the cuff to turn back nicely, even with the slit!), but I think it works in a “roll up your sleeves” kind of way. Only I roll up my sleeves and show off the embroidery!

McCall's 3691 - details

The buttons are from the stash, and I totally lucked out – they’re a kind of dusty black (very matte finish?), which goes really well with the nubbly silk of the dress.

Next time I’ll lower the pockets a bit, use similar fabrics for the facing and dress (the front behaves a little funny because the cotton doesn’t have quite as much drape as the silk), and choose a more flattering colour – but I’m happy with it. I finally have a black dress in the wardrobe, and I felt much more spiffy than usual at the library today ;).


4 thoughts on “SWAP #7

  1. Lovely!
    Buttonholes were always one of my least favourite things to sew — especially if they are the entire front of the dress like this one — excellent job!

  2. Very nice dress Jenna. I love the details with the embroidered cotton, and the fantastic lines simple and elegant. All that work on fitting was so worth it.

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