Friday, March 25, 2016

Miss Iris Checks It Out: McCall's 7351 + Spring Canvas Blog Tour

McCalls 7351 - Idle Fancy - Style Maker Gingham Shirting-3478

Good afternoon, lovelies! If the daffodils brightening my kitchen are any sign, spring had officially arrived in Texas. As y'all know by now, my wardrobe obsessions are decidedly seasonal. This time of year, I want nothing but classic prints and bright, cheerful colors. Give me florals, plaids, and colors that belong on Easter eggs. 

Luckily, Michelle of Style Maker Fabrics contacted me last month about joining in on the Spring Canvas Blog Tour. With over 150 new fabrics in stock, this tour is a chance to showcase some gorgeous fabrics and springtime fashions. Since I loved my last Style Maker garment so much--that dress gets worn every other week, I swear--I jumped at the chance to check out Michelle's newest line-up. 

Though there were tons of great options, I was instantly smitten with this bright pink gingham shirting. With a good deal of stretch, thanks to a small lycra content, this crisp cotton was perfect for my ideal spring garment: a shirtdress. 

That's right, a shirtdress. My longtime sartorial stand-by is officially in this season. Designers, from Jason Wu to Zac Posen, are putting collars on everything and magazines are declaring buttoned dresses a "must-have." Convenient, really, when fashion falls in line with personal preference. I was planning on making another thousand shirtdresses anyway, but it's nice to do so with impunity. Even better, companies have released a slew of new shirtdress patterns to try out. There's Melissa Watson's new half-shirtdress (M7380), McCall's new shirt-tail version (M7351), and Butterick's princess seamed beauty (B6333). 

McCalls 7351 - Idle Fancy - Style Maker Gingham Shirting-2878

For this particular project, I chose McCall's 7351

Well, sort of. Once the fabric arrived, my brain started spinning. All those little pink checks would look fabulous as a traditional shirtdress, but they would look stupendous as a half-shirtdress. Visions of separate waistbands and swirling circle skirts danced in my head. So, I set about turning my new shirtdress pattern into my perfect half-shirtdress pattern. 

I've done this once before, with the old standby M6696, though that one was paired with a gathered skirt. I really wanted to check out the bodice of McCall's new offering, so I set about making the adjustments to that pattern instead. The bodice was shortened by two-and-half inches, a waistband was drafted to make up the length, and a full 3/4 circle skirt was subbed in for the shirt-tail hemline of View A.  

Additionally, I took a few fit adjustments. This pattern comes with cup sizes (Hallelujah!), but I still needed a bit more room in the bodice and a bit less room at the waist. To that end, I took a 2-inch FBA on the size 20 bodice. This added a waist dart, allowing me to also take out some extra room through my midriff. Half-shirtdress are much more fitted than full shirtdresses through the waist, so most women will need to take out room there, even if a pattern fits her well before the drafting changes. 

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By far, the most stressful part of making this dress was actually cutting out the pattern itself. I tend to be hyper focused on pattern matching anyway, but with gingham it's especially important. I chose to cut out a few pieces on the bias--yoke, midriff, belt loops, and collar stand--to make cutting out simpler and give the garment some added visual interest. The checks on this fabric are exactly a quarter-inch, which also made pattern matching easier than most other plaids. I cut out what I could in a single layer, laid pieces out according to gingham lines, and was good to go!

When it came to construction, everything was gloriously straightforward. This cotton takes to sewing and pressing like a dream, as you would expect from a high quality shirting. It also looks completely dishy, when top-stitched with white thread. Good news for those who like to do everything by machine! I'm a devotee of hand-sewing (Any excuse to binge watch iZombie, let's be honest), but opted for the faster route on this dress. The bodice bands are top-stitched on both sides, the hem was narrowly turned and stitched, and the collar was assembled with Andrea's famed technique. Five clear, plastic buttons finish off the bodice and the armscyes are faced with pink gingham bias tape. 

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Y'all, I absolutely adore this dress. Between the bright, springy gingham and classic styling, it makes me even more joyous about warmer days. This fabric pairs brilliantly with black accessories and other colors, alike. Though I'm sporting black in all these pictures, I'm wearing it with a bright green belt today and feel like the very personification of spring. 

This dress also has me reevaluating my tried-and-true shirtdress. Though I still love my original McCall's 6696 dresses, I may actually prefer 7351, in the end. The collar on this one fits beautifully, without any adjustment, the shoulders only need the slightest bit of narrowing, and the armscye hugs the body without gaping. I'm really looking forward to trying out the full-length version, next. That shirt-tail hem is gorgeous!

McCalls 7351 - Idle Fancy - Style Maker Gingham Shirting-2821

McCalls 7351 - Idle Fancy - Style Maker Gingham Shirting-2597

Thank you again to Michelle, of Style Maker Fabrics, for providing the fabric for this dress and including Idle Fancy in the Spring Canvas Blog Tour. Be sure to check out the other stops on the tour for more spring inspiration. Tomorrow, Rachel will be posting something truly gorgeous at House of Pinheiro!

3/21 – 3/22 – 3/23 – 3/24 – 3/25 – 3/26 – 3/27 – 3/28 – 3/29 – 3/30 – 3/31 – 4/1

Now, I have to go order more of this fabric. After Sam finished telling me how cute this dress looked, he requested a button-down in the same fabric. We'll see how long that takes me to finish! Does anyone have a favorite recommendation for a man's tailored shirt pattern? 

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