The Revolutionary Shirtdress! McCall’s Pattern 6885

07 Nov The Revolutionary Shirtdress! McCall’s Pattern 6885

So much to celebrate! First up –  our book is now available – 3 weeks ahead of schedule 🙂 While we were surprised, we are delighted it was released before holiday madness takes over!

With the upcoming year being the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment,  I’m celebrating the debut of A Stylish Guide to Classic Sewing with a once revolutionary garment which is now a classic: The Shirtdress.


Passed by Congress June 4, 1919, and ratified on August 18, 1920, the 19th amendment granted women the right to vote. So why is a shirtdress revolutionary?

The Edwardian Shirtdress was one of the first dresses absent of back closures which allowed women to get dressed without the help of a dresser or husband – independence! Think about those suffragettes marching in bustled shirtdresses!


Exactly one year ago I was in Honolulu at the invitation of the Hawaii Stitchery and Fibre Arts Guild. I purchased the fabulous Japanese cotton at Kaimuki Dry Goods; a must-visit fabric store. This lovely store opened in 1928 as a true dry goods store. Over the years it transitioned to a fabric and sewing specific store and is loaded with beautiful Japanese cottons + more! I especially enjoyed browsing the vintage Hawaiian patterns. My only regret is not buying more of these gorgeous cottons!

In order to maintain the fabric’s unique and crisp texture, I chose not to prewash the fabric so the dress gets to be dry-cleaned.  Joy.


My pattern is McCall’s 6885 which I’ve sewn once before (blogged here). I selected View D but used a straight hem as opposed to the shaped hem. Here is a link to a wonderful tutorial on the The McCall Pattern Company blog on sewing this pattern’s placket.M6885_a

It’s been a while since I’ve had the luxury to sew in a relaxed manner until now. Throughout this project I was gently reminded of the results of meditative sewing. Topstitching the collar, the placket, the sleeve tabs and sash brought a tailored cohesiveness to the dress. Double click or magnify for details (slightly concealed in the fabric’s design!).


To belt or not to belt?


The pattern instructions stitch the belt into the side seams, but I love the option of either and sewed a separate sash.sd3 2The dress is loose but not full which is why it works either way. However, I did shape the back with two disappearing darts. Otherwise I made no adjustments to the pattern.


Shirtdress with back darts

In keeping with the spirit of relaxed and meditative sewing, I used French Seams throughout the dress. The result of my new shirtdress is everything I was hoping for: tailored yet relaxed, versatile and wearable…

IMG_2958 4
…….but best of all I can dress myself without any help! 😂😂😂😂






  • Bernadette O'Brien
    Posted at 10:40h, 07 November Reply

    Lovely fabric for this dress. It looks very smart on you.

    • Gayle
      Posted at 14:32h, 07 November Reply

      I agree!

      • goodbyevalentino
        Posted at 05:21h, 08 November Reply


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:20h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Bernadette!

  • PatB
    Posted at 10:41h, 07 November Reply

    Delighted to receive your post. Love your shirt dress, and you have inspired me to use a floral. Good luck with your new book ready to drop hints to my family for my Xmas.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:22h, 08 November Reply

      Thanks so much, Pat! There’s nothing like a good floral😉
      Hope Santa is good to you!

  • Jeff Laskowski
    Posted at 10:51h, 07 November Reply

    Very nice dress! The kitten heels complement it nicely!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:22h, 08 November Reply

      Many thanks, Jeff! I too, love these shoes 😉

  • Patricia Flournoy
    Posted at 11:05h, 07 November Reply

    You inspire me! Merci,

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:23h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Patricia!

  • Deborah Penner
    Posted at 11:17h, 07 November Reply

    What a lovely fabric. Thanks for the link to the fabric store in Hawaii. They have a number of lovely fabrics and it seems as if they do mail order as well. Have been following you for a long time. looking forward to the new book coming out this week.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:25h, 08 November Reply

      Deborah, I noticed they do mail orders but did not look thoroughly through the selections. I’ll certainly check it out because I’d love more fabrics like this 😉 Many thanks!

  • Laura Casey
    Posted at 11:26h, 07 November Reply

    Sarah…a great make indeed, the fabric choice is special…very versatile and wearable to so many events….I have this pattern, and after seeing yours…I think I’ll make come Spring.
    Thanks for your inspiration, as always…..Laura

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:26h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Laura! I’m hoping I can extend this dress through colder weather with boots and a turtleneck😉

  • Janine
    Posted at 11:36h, 07 November Reply

    Sarah, the dress is just lovely and that fabric makes a simple dress quite elegant!

    I’ve used this pattern 3 times and have always been so happy with the result.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:27h, 08 November Reply

      Many thanks, Janine! I love the fit of this pattern and hope to make it again 😊

  • Karen Hinson
    Posted at 11:44h, 07 November Reply

    Very pretty

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:28h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Karen!

  • Jacqueline Harris
    Posted at 11:51h, 07 November Reply

    Hi Sarah!
    I love reading the history bits of a fashion garment….it seems to add a certain depth of meaning to the wearing of what might even seem like the most basic of designs.
    Beautiful work and looks fabulous on you!


    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:30h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you so much for your comment, Jacqueline! Knowing why we wear what we wear brings a thoughtful approach to dressing, doesn’t it?

  • Paced Petrone
    Posted at 11:53h, 07 November Reply

    I love your style! The dress looks lovely on you. My copy of your new should arrive tomorrow. I can’t wait!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:33h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Paced for the comment and for ordering the book! You may not believe this, but we haven’t seen it yet. Our advance copies are on the way 😂

  • Maggie Edger
    Posted at 12:31h, 07 November Reply

    Beautiful material. Another winner

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:33h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Maggie!

  • Alice Elliot
    Posted at 12:58h, 07 November Reply

    Really terrific looking dress!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:34h, 08 November Reply

      Many thanks, Alice 😊

  • terrie w
    Posted at 13:04h, 07 November Reply

    Thank you for combining clothing, history, and current fashion! I don’t think most of us realize what we are putting on our bodies every day and how it is tied to our ancestors, their times and struggles, as well as our own. Bravo on another fabulous dress.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:36h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you so much for your nice comment, Terrie! Knowing why we wear what we wear brings a certain thoughtfulness to dressing 😉

  • Anne Havard
    Posted at 13:21h, 07 November Reply

    Great looking dress

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:36h, 08 November Reply

      Thanks so much, Anne!

  • Judy Duerson
    Posted at 13:58h, 07 November Reply

    Your usual “job well done” dress. Looks great on you. I look forward to my book being shipped.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:37h, 08 November Reply

      Hi Judy! Thanks so much – You may not believe this, but we haven’t seen our book yet. Our advance copies are on the way 😂

  • TinaD
    Posted at 15:47h, 07 November Reply

    Great dress; I love both versions you’ve done from this pattern😊. So pleased your book is out already. Amazon tells me my copy will be delivered tomorrow, and I’m really looking forward to it.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:51h, 08 November Reply

      Many thanks, Tinad for the comment and for ordering the book.! It really is a great pattern. You may not believe this, but we haven’t seen our book yet. Our advance copies are on the way 😂

  • Gerhild Turner
    Posted at 16:38h, 07 November Reply

    This dress is so beautiful. And I love to do French seams as well. Yes, it takes more time but the outcomes is spectacular.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:52h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Gerhild! The French seams were well worth the extra time 😉

  • Cheryl Lemmons
    Posted at 16:47h, 07 November Reply

    Beautiful!.Love the crisp look of the fabric. And you’ve helped me solve a dilemma. A friend (Paula) gave me a gorgeous piece of African waxed fabric she got in Jamaica. I’ve been debating whether or not to pre-wash it. Now I know it’s destined for the dry-cleaners.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:55h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you, Cheryl! Some things just have to be dry cleaned 😆 Please tell Paula hello!

  • Rebecca Bagwell
    Posted at 18:57h, 07 November Reply

    No adjustments…that’s great! The fabric is beautiful and you are perfection in it!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:56h, 08 November Reply

      Other than the back darts! Many thanks, Becky 😊

  • Heather Myers
    Posted at 20:05h, 07 November Reply

    Lovely dress and sewing! Thanks.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:56h, 08 November Reply

      Thank YOU, Heather!

  • Vanessa
    Posted at 21:59h, 07 November Reply

    Congratulations on your upcoming book debut!! Your shirtdress is well done, and suits you perfectly!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:58h, 08 November Reply

      Thank you so much, Venessa! We’re excited about the book for sure 😊

  • Carla Montanez
    Posted at 22:18h, 07 November Reply

    Love it. Thank you Sarah for being such an inspiration. Beautiful fabric. I do have this pattern, hopefully I can attempt to sew it in the spring or summer!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 05:59h, 08 November Reply

      It’s a pleasure to share my projects, Carla. Thank you so much for your nice comment 😉

  • Rosalind Clayton
    Posted at 08:07h, 08 November Reply

    Another fabulous make! The fabric is gorgeous! Thank goodness for all the freedoms we now enjoy!!

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 08:37h, 08 November Reply

      Thank goodness indeed, Rosalind! Many thanks for your comment 😊

  • celeste yanisch
    Posted at 09:30h, 08 November Reply

    I love this dress, especially as it doesn’t button all the way down to the hem. You are truly one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen; yet in your photos you seem a bit tentative. Please know that you are an inspiration to many many people, and I so enjoy watching all you create.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:37h, 09 November Reply

      Such a lovely comment, Celeste ~ many thanks 😉

  • Karen Of Fifty Dresses
    Posted at 12:51h, 08 November Reply

    What a super “transitional” dress for this time of year. Talk about classic! The shirtdress has it all, doesn’t it? It looks wonderful on you, both belted and unbelted.

    • goodbyevalentino
      Posted at 09:36h, 09 November Reply

      Thank you, Karen! You’re right – a shirtdress can take you most anywhere 😉

  • Kati
    Posted at 05:42h, 01 December Reply

    I love your dress! The fabric is gorgeous! Do you have a favourite interfacing for shirts/shirt dresses?
    Your book is definitely on my Christmas wish list, although will have to wait a bit longer as it is not out in the UK till the 31 of December.

Post A Comment