Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Made by a Fabricista: A Chambray Shirtdress for Spring

I'm a little late to the chambray shirtdress party. Last spring, it seemed like every sewing blogger on the planet sewed a chambray shirtdress at some point. I had every intention of doing so at that time, but it seemed like most of the chambrays that I'd felt either didn't feel beefy enough for a dress or were a little stiff, and I was worried about the lack of drape in a dress.

McCall's 7084 in chambray
 
A few weeks ago, Fabric Mart posted a lovely indigo blue chambray, and I snapped up the chance to obtain a few yards, thinking that I might have finally found my perfect chambray. As of this posting, they're nearly sold out, but knowing Fabric Mart, they'll get something similar in. I feel like I lucked out this time around; it's the perfect weight and hand for a shirtdress--a substantial enough weight for a dress without feeling like blue jean denim.

Chambray for a shirtdress
Now that I finally had my perfect chambray fabric, I had to select a pattern. I hoard shirtdress patterns like they're in danger of disappearing from the face of the earth, so I had quite a few in my stash to select from. Given that my fabric wasn't super drapey, I wanted to avoid gathers or shirring (several of my shirtdress patterns have shirring at the shoulders to add shaping and design details). I also prefer a skirt that's at least A-line in fullness over a straight or pencil skirt.

I ended up choosing McCall's 7084, which was released about a year and a half ago and has been sitting in my pattern stash for nearly as long. I chose this pattern for the shoulder princess seams (easier to adjust for a very large bust) and gored A-line skirt (easier to fit when you have a tummy and a large bum).

M7084 technical drawing (from McCall's website)
If you like a dress with a really swishy skirt, this patterns also has views with godets inserted between the skirt gores. As you can see, and as to be expected, there isn't a lot of twirl factor with an A-line skirt:


The twirl test
M7084 also has several sleeve options and the option of either a traditional or band collar. I prefer to keep my necklines as open as possible, so I went with the band collar. I also chose the rolled-up, tabbed sleeves just because I liked the style/detail.

Overall, the pattern fits as expected. I started with my usual Big 4 size 22 and altered from there. I made my typical Big 4 adjustments: Full Bust Adjustment (FBA), lowering the bust point, full arm adjustment, and a broad back adjustment. I went with the shorter view of the skirt (I'm 5'2"), and the skirt hits just below my knee--my favorite skirt length.

M7084
Just to add a bit more detail to a solid blue dress, I used white contrast top-stitching on the collar, sleeve tabs, button placket, button holes, and hem.  Amazingly, I did not need to do a "large booty adjustment" (for my ample behind) on the back of the skirt, and it still hangs level.

M7084 - rear view
Overall, I think that this is a great basic dress for spring. The fabric is a nice weight, and given that I used sleeves, I'll be able to wear it to work without freezing under my office's air conditioning. The neutral dress color also means that I can throw any color jacket or cardigan over the dress on days where I need to layer. And now that I've made all of the fitting alterations for this pattern, I am looking forward to making quite a few more shirtdresses while the weather is warm!

~ Michelle from Happily Caffeinated

11 comments:

  1. Great review and great dress. Fit looks fab.

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  2. Love this dress & the fit is perfect! This looks like a classic that you'll get lots of wear from, either layered or by itself.

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  3. I love it--looks great on you too!

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  4. Really great review. You did a really professional job on your dress, which looks great on you!

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  5. Wonderful dress! Looks very nice on you!

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  6. You made a lovely dress that fits very well ! I am planning my shirtdress make so I enjoyed your post.
    Best Wihes,
    Gail

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  7. ACK!!! I love this dress! It looks great on you. This is next up on my sewing list.

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  8. Wow, looks great. Nice job!

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