Sleeves, Bodices and Skirts: McCalls 6696

mccalls 6696

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Sewing Pattern: McCalls 6696

"This pattern comes with variable cup sizes, which is great but some will still need to do a Full Bust Adjustment to get the right cup size. The instructions for belt loops, sleeves and skirt pleats are easy to follow."

Francesca Haselden 5

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In my last post I talked a little about the history of this iconic style of dress, with it’s flattering silhouette it makes the perfect dress for pear shapes.

I started making the toile for this McCalls 6696 in some simple burgundy polycotton. I’m intending to make a wearable toile, that is one that is completely finished, and can be worn, though I’m saving my pretty Barbour Beagles fabric for the final 6996 dress.

McCalls 6696

This dress comes with three different variations on the pattern, but actually many more variations are possible due to the sleeves. I’m making view B, which features a full skirt and cap sleeves. There is also an option for longer sleeve, and a more straight cut skirt. As a bonus, there is a close fitting slip designed to be worn under a sheer version of the dress. Due to my shape, I’ll probably never really suit the straight cut skirt, it would make more sense for me to create a slimmer version of a circle skirt.

This dress also comes with multiple cup sizes. I really should do a full bust adjustment on this dress, as I’ve been advised by a few people, but for the toile I choice to go for the A/B cup. I normally wear a C, but often find that a C cup on multi-cup patterns is too loose around the shoulders, armscye and sides. You can see in the picture below there are a few drag lines from the apex, indicating the need for a wider cup size. I’ll leave it like this for now, I’ll be wearing the collar open anyway, but I’m currently waiting on a copy of a Full Busted? DVD to help with the FBA.

Sleeve Caps

The sleeves for this pattern recommend adding a little bit of ease stitching to help with adjusting the cap. I am terrible with easing, so I opted to ignore all advice and gather the cap at the top. It actually makes a lot of sense when adjusting this to suit my pear shape, as it adds interested and heaviness to the shoulder area which balances out the hips. Dressing for your shape is all about balancing your larger areas. A gathered top sleeve is also a distinctly vintage element, which fits well with the classic style. This sleeve has only a tiny bit of gather, making it not quite as poofy and costumey looking as some.

Belt and Loops

I made belt loops using this method from Coletterie, which means no turning tiny tubes! This technique is similar to making bias tape and then trimming it into small pieces. There are four belt loops on the waistband. An important part of adding belt loops is to ensure the waistband actually sits perfectly on the waist. If it doesn’t, then the belt will look out of place and also won’t show off the smallest part of the figure. I had to reduce the height of the bodice by about 2 inches as I’m short in the waist.

Attaching the skirt

I played around a little with the pleats on this, but pleats on a dress with so many gather details just didn’t make sense to me so I decided to gather the skirt. It’s also much better for my shape as it means the hips are entirely “free” and I have no worries about it not fitting in the hip area. I just sewed in the pockets, did up the side seams and then ran gathering threads around the top (I stopped at the centre back and started new threads so they weren’t too long and weak when I pulled them).

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Francesca Haselden

Francesca is the owner of EatSleepKnitUK, she also works for Toyota Home Sewing and is a web developer 9-5!

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