I’m trying to make more wearable clothes, I really am. It just depends on the definition of wearable. And what could be more sensible and practical than a shirt dress? Well this particular shirt dress all but has a train, so I don’t suppose it really counts as sensible, but I love it anyway.
The pattern is McCalls 7727 which comes with two views, a tunic and a dress, both with a sash and a dramatic high-low hem. There is a sleeveless option or full length sleeves, so it’s easy to produce four different looks. It’s a great pattern but my goodness it’s a fabric hog. I made the dress length version with long sleeves so the worst case. I skipped the sash and ignored the pattern layout, cutting some of the pieces out upside down, and I still used five metres of wide fabric. It’s ivory stretch cotton poplin from Tissu Fabrics, and it’s great quality for a pretty low price.
Cutting this out was very hard work. If you make a lot of McCalls/Butterick/Vogue you’ve probably noticed the special instructions they always include for when there are pieces cut in pairs that need the full fabric width. The cutting layout has a big asterisk which means you fold the fabric in half across the grain, cut down that fold, and then turn the top bit around 180 degrees. Then the nap on both pieces runs the same way, and you can cut the pairs of wide pattern pieces out of that.
It is really difficult to realign the two layers once one is turned over and on this fabric, which has no nap that I can detect, it absolutely wasn’t worth the effort. Next time I’d just fold it crosswise.
I meant to look up all the best ways to sew shirt collars and plackets and all those fiddly shirt bits, because we all know pattern instructions don’t always give the easiest method, but in the end I just switched my brain off and followed the pattern. Not only did their methods work beautifully, they were easy too. One exception: I didn’t slip stitch anything down by hand but stitched in the ditch from the right side.
The sleeves can be worn rolled up – the pattern includes a tab and button to do that. I wish I’d french seamed the sleeve seams because the overlocked seam allowances show when the sleeves are rolled up.
Speaking of the sleeves, these went in with no ease stitching and very little pinning. There’s lots of mobility in the arms too.
I was originally going for a sort of Carolina Herrera look with this: a wide floor sweeping skirt with pockets, a crisp white shirt on the top half, and a very tight, defined waist between the two. But floor length skirts are definitely not practical and I think the high-low hem is a nice compromise which keeps the drama without sacrificing the ability to run up stairs. Not so sure how it’ll cope with a crowded bus though.
I added the pockets; the pattern doesn’t have them. It also doesn’t have much in the way of a waist, relying on the sash or a belt to pull it in. I thought having a white sash would make the whole thing look bridal, hence the belt.
I don’t think I really achieved my vision – the skirt should be in a contrasting colour for starters – but I’ll wear this and that’s the main thing.
Pictures all by my husband. We did these in the early evening and the light has worked out nicely.
24 thoughts on “McCalls 7727 shirt dress”
Looks fab. I’ve used that Tia Knight stretch poplin a lot, and it is good quality, and washes and wears really well too.
Yes I just wish they did more colours. I’m sure there used to be a slate grey but it’s not there any more. Kind of tempted by the bright pink one though 🙂
I’ve used it in black, white, navy, light and dark grey. Just bought some more black in fact, useful stuff.
I’m glad I’m not going mad about the dark grey one! Hope they get it back in at some point.
I used the last bit of mine making one of the tops in my SWAP collection. I love the way it irons up so neat and crisp
Interesting! and you wear it well. I sympathize with the cutting session, I just cut a pattern with lots of single layer layouts. I was almost tired of the project before I started. Congrats on the photos, it’s so difficult to capture whites without reflections.
Love this! I have had a shirtdress on my “to do” list all summer. Must get cracking!
I love it. 👗
I loved this pattern too except those dropped shoulders which just don’t look right on me – I have narrow forward shoulders and that dropped design just seems to emphasize that fact! On you the dress looks fabulous – that high/low hem is dramatic!
Nice! I love the fullness of the high low skirt, very dramatic.
You’re on a roll, lady. This is superb! And totes wearable. So cool and stylish. I winced when you spoke of overlocked seams instead of French. I did exactly the same thing on the Tilly Rosa Shirt dress. And it bugs the hell out of me!
Yeah, I’ll know better next time but it annoys me every time I look at them. I have to keep telling myself no one else is going to notice.
I skimmed right over this pattern when viewing it on the McCalls web site, but your version had me going to look at it again. I really should just look harder at the line drawings. I love your rendition of this and have put it on the wish list. Thanks for sharing 🙂
Oh my goodness, I love the drama of the dress! I confess, as a nurse, the color doesn’t appeal, as it reminds me of my working days and uniforms, but wowza on the dress. Black is my favorite color, but I might have to give this a try in red something or other. I suppose it should be somewhat lightweight with good drape… with your slim build you look fab in any style, IMHO, and slim I’m not, but I think I’d wear this and not give two dead flies what anyone thinks. Beautiful!
I think it would look amazing in red- go for it! I was quite tempted by red myself but it’s not my colour.
The poplin I used isn’t super drapey and despite that the skirt hangs really well. I guess the sheer amount of fabric helps. Definitely wants to be a light weight fabric though.
Depending on how badly those served seams bug you…. you might take a couple of very sheer bias strips and stitch them around. Usually done before construction is done as a seam finish, but I think it would be very doable as long as the neatest effort was made at the cuff end. As with most of your makes, the dress looks elegant and fashionable.
Oh that’s a good idea, thanks!
Lovely dress, and it would look fabulous in red. I’m not certain how practical white is with small children but I’m sure it’s very washable 😉. Being one of shorter stature I couldn’t wear quite such a long backed skirt – it would be an actual train – but it looks fabulous on you.
Just nominated you to take part in the ‘Mystery Blogger Award’ https://wordpress.com/post/thedementedfairy.wordpress.com/12814
I love the back view! It’s sassy and confident. I love white, but between the kid and the dog…
Thanks! I know what you mean. my child is on a mission to make sure everything I wear has a food stain on it so I figure I might as well wear white; it’s no worse than anything else!
Good point! I am not the kind of mom to change my kid (now 7) every time he makes a mess on his clothes, so I should worry less about me, right? I did stop wearing silk for a while, but white on my lower half is taking some time. I do love your dress, though. You must feel strong in it.
Thanks, I do really enjoy wearing this.
I’m not a dress person, but this – this is lovely! And looks absolutely fabulous on you.
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