Sew Long Summer: Shirt-dress Showdown

s8014-vs-m6891

Hey Sewists!  Sorry I have been gone so long.  I did not intend to take a nearly two month hiatus from blogging.  But, boy oh boy, have I been busy.  I have been enjoying my summer and am a little sad to see it leave. I have so many projects to share with you though.  Right now I am in the midst of costume sewing for our annual trek to the Ohio Renaissance Festival. Until then, I am excited to be a stop in the Sew Long Summer tour the Melissa is hosting.  Today I am excited to share my new shirt-dress obsession with you!  I fully intended to blog about these dresses way back in July, but summer happened.  Even still, I think shirt-dresses are the perfect seasonal transition garment for me.   This is my side by side comparison of two similar patterns, McCall’s 6891 view B and Simplicity 8014 view B.  Each finished garment was compared in four different categories: fabric used and pattern description, construction, alterations and fit, and wearability.

Fabrics and Pattern:

Musings of a Seamstress - Simplicity 8014

Simplicity 8014

First up, Simplicity 8014!  This pattern comes with several different collar, sleeve, length and skirt variations.  I chose to make view B with the flared skirt with mandarin collar.  For this version I used 2.5 yards of dark indigo chambray from my stash.  This fabric was purchased from Jo-Ann’s last year during their Black Friday sale for $11.25.  I also used 13 – 5/8″ copper shank buttons, also purchased from Jo-Ann’s this year.  Unfortunately, I didn’t keep track of how much I paid for the buttons.  I bought them when one of the local stores was closing, so I know I got them for at least 50% off.  I really liked the idea of a mandarin collar and thought it would be a great way to give this dress a different look than it’s competitor (M6891).  This pattern features pleats at the waist of the front and back, with bust darts and a back yoke.  I absolutely love the back yoke!  That makes it feel more shirt like for me.

Musings of a Seamstress - McCall's 6891

McCall’s 6891

Now the challenger, McCall’s 6891 view B.  This pattern features a notched collar with various skirt lengths and sleeve types.  The bodice features darts for at both the front and back waist as well as the bust.  For this version I used 3.25 yards of navy cotton eyelet and 4 yards of white Kona cotton solid, both  purchased from Jo-Ann’s this year. Total cost for both fabrics was $37.71.  I also used 12 – 7/8″ navy buttons.

Construction:

Musings of a Seamstress - McCall's 6891

For my McCall’s version I underlined every piece, except the sleeves, since I chose an eyelet.  That doubled the fabric needed and time spent sewing.  Underlining was well worth the extra effort.  I love the effect of the contrasting white underlining peaking through the navy eyelet.  Once underlined, the pattern went together pretty quickly. I finished this dress in a weekend. I used 1/2″ horsehair braid in the hem to give it more volume and structure in its drape.  The double thickness of the fabric and the horsehair make the skirt look great!

Musings of a Seamstress - Simplicity 8014

For the Simplicity chambray version it also went together very quickly.  I finished this one within a couple of days as well.  I used the 1/2″ horsehair braid in the hem for the same reasons as the other version. While you cannot tell from the pictures, it did not sew as easily as it did in the eyelet.  With the chambray it has some roping in a few spots because of the curve.  Interesting fact, the button holes on the Simplicity version are meant to be sewn vertically, while the McCall’s version are horizontal.

Alterations and Fit:

Musings of a Seamstress - Simplicity 8014

For the Simplicity version, the most significant alteration I made was to the sleeve length. This pattern only came with a long sleeve that rolls up to 3/4 length.  I knew if I was putting in the sleeve tabs I would never wear this with the sleeves unrolled, so I chose to make a shorter length more similar to the McCall’s version.  I love what the back yoke does to draw visual interest to the back of the dress, creating a more tailored fit.  I do not think the waist pleats add anything to fit though.  From the back I think the pleats are the cause of the bagginess.  I think that if they were darts it would look much better.

Musings of a Seamstress - McCall's 6891

For the McCall’s version the only alteration I made was to the size and quantity of buttons.  This was because I could not find any 5/8″ buttons, which is what the pattern calls for, that I thought looked good with this fabric.  So, the 7/8″ buttons won out.  I added 2 extra buttons, changing the spacing between each one from what the pattern guide is.   The fit of this one is spot on though!  I love the shaping the darts give.  I do not like where the button placement stops in the front for this version.  I think another two buttons could be added to make me feel more secure that it won’t fly open.  I also do not like the length of this skirt.  It is about 2″ shorter than the Simplicity version, making it just above my comfort zone.

Wearability:

Musings of a Seamstress - McCall's 6891

I really enjoyed wearing the McCall’s dress.  The double layers of cotton do make it heavier and warmer to wear.  It will be great for fall for that reason, but right now it is still a bit to warm here for me to want to wear it all summer.  I am definitely going to have to add two more buttons to the skirt.  I was a bit nervous while wearing this all day of it flying open below that last button.

Musings of a Seamstress - Simplicity 8014

The Simplicity was much more comfortable to wear all day since the buttons and hem length were just right.  I can say that I am not as big of fan of this mandarin collar as I had hoped to be.  The pattern calls for button all the way up with one finishing on the collar.  It was a bit too uncomfortable for me to wear all the way closed.  I wasn’t a big fan of leaving it unbuttoned though because I think that the neckline naturally drapes a little weird when unbuttoned.  Other than that I loved wearing the chambray all day.  It is the perfect lightweight fabric to wear on warmer summer days  that will pair well with sweaters or tights for cooler fall days.

Winner:

Musings of a Seamstress - McCall's 6891

McCall’s 6891

When it comes down to the pattern itself, it was an easy choice to pick a winner.  The initial fit of this version is so much better than the Simplicity version.  There would be no alterations need for the fit of the bodice.  The only alterations I would have to make are to the length of the skirt and amount of buttons in front.  Those things are minor in comparison to changing the pleats of the Simplicity version.  Then there is the collar!  That mandarin collar on the Simplicity dress is just not as flattering as the notched collar of the McCall’s dress.

Have you stitched up your own version of either of these patterns?  What did you think of it?

Check out some of the other stops today on the Sew Long Summer tour and sew along with us.

mahlicadesigns, Musings of a Seamstress, Rainy Day Sewing, Sprouting Jube Jube, Sewing A La Carte, Anne-Mari Sews
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Sew Americana Tour: Patriotic Shirt Dress

Sew Americana Tour - Musings of a Seamstress

Hey Sewcialists!  I am pleased to be back this week as a part of the Sew Americana Tour hosted by Katy of Wild and Wonderful.  We are celebrating the 4th of July this week. Oh my gosh, it is July!  I can hardly believe that the year is half over already!  It seems like yesterday I was planning out my Jungle January makes and now here I am sharing my 4th of July outfit.  Time needs to slow down a bit for me to catch my breath.

Musings of a Seamstress - M6472

Anyways I have a fantastic new make that I have been dying to share. I made my very first shirt dress using McCall’s 6742, an OOP but definitely a must make if you have it.  Yeah, I said my very first shirt dress.  I don’t know why it has taken me so long to get on this train, but now that I am on it I am not getting off anytime soon.  Shirt dresses are super flattering and easy to wear and this pattern is fantastic!  It was super easy to put together.  I love the high low hem. It is what originally drew me to the pattern.  The longer one part sleeve and sleeve band are a surprising favorite part of the design for me.  I definitely want to make another version of this dress and I want to make a peplum top version.

Musings of a Seamstress - M6472

Lets talk about the major stashbusting points I  achieved with this!  I used 3.25 yards of white eyelet that has a slight silver shimmer to it.  About 3 yards is pretty standard usage for a dress for me.  The major part is that this piece has been in my stash for over 10 years!  A whole freaking decade it has been sitting there unused.  Geez, why did it take me so long to find the right pattern for the fabric? I don’t really know the answer to that but I am glad I did find the right pattern.  With this piece being that old I have no idea how much I paid for it, since it was before I started keeping track of that.  I know that it definitely would have come from Jo-Ann’s though.

Musings of a Seamstress - M6472

I also made the short little slip that goes under the dress and used 1 yard of newly purchased white peachskin fabric from Jo-Ann’s as well. Total cost for that one yard was $4.99. The pattern calls for placing it on the bias, but I chose to place each front and back on the fold.  Bias garments have never really been great for me.  They make me feel very self conscience since they tend to be a bit more clingy.  I also used 3 yards of white fold over elastic to trim out the neckline and create the straps.  I like this look much better because it gives a little more of a professional finish.  Too bad no one will ever see any of this as the fabric is super sheer and I will not wear it by itself.  You can see the outline of it in the back shot above and that is all I am going to show of it.

Musings of a Seamstress - M6472

My style is not one that I am going to wear red, white, and blue stars and stripes all in one outfit to celebrate the 4th of July.  I like my patriotism to be a little more understated and versatile enough that I can change up the look to wear all summer long.  As a result the I chose to accentuate my all white dress with red and blue accessories.  You cannot really see it well in any of the pictures here but I am wearing a beaded bright red multistrand necklace and of course my favorite red peep toe heels.  I also added my red, white. and blue striped wallet to carry around all my essentials instead of a full purse.  It keeps the patriotic theme of the outfit while making it easy to keep track of at holiday parties.

Take a look at the AMAZING lineup for the Sew Americana tour and leave a comment with what your 4th of July outfit plans are!

Monday, June 27 
Wild & Wanderful | Sew and Tell Project | Call Ajaire
Paisley Roots | Wally and Grace

Tuesday, June 28
Sew Thrifty | Coles Corner and Creations | Rebel & Malice

Friends Stitched Together | The Wholesome Mama

Wednesday, June 29
Sewing by Ti | EYMM | HattieLu Handmade
Daydream Believers | PenSebRox | Handmade Boy

Thursday, June 30
Beatnik Kids | Phat Quarters | Sew Starly | Sew Sophie Lynn
The Kisses Co. | Adventures with Bubba and Bug

Friday, July 1
Very Blissful | That’s Sew Kari | Sew Happily Ever After | Pear Berry Lane

Mae and K
 | Musings of a Seamstress | Sew and Tell Project

As a special bonus for our readers, use the code ‘ SEWAMERICANA ‘ and enjoy a 20% discount at www.THREADandGRAIN.com  You’ll find a ton of maker-inspired goodies!
(All created by your tour guide, Katy, from Wild & Wanderful.)