M7351 Shirt Dress in Linen and Lace

Being on vacation this week made me crave a complicated project. Why? Because I’m that special kind of crazy. I was inspired by McCalls 7351 view B and their blog post about shirtwaist dresses. I’ve never made a Shirtwaist Dress before. So I dug through the stash and came across some lovely medium weight linen blend. While I was browsing I came across about a yard of cotton lace I picked out of the remnant bin last year. For contrast, I cut the sleeves, lower back, and bodice pockets from the cream lace.

Here are the pattern modifications I did: shortened back waist length (left), heavy upper arm adjustment (bottom), high round behind adjustment (right).

I cut the front with the C cup pieces.I also graded up from 18 at the bust to 22 at the hip line. I cut the size 22 front band to make sure it was long enough. I’m going to have to figure out button placement during the fittings later.

If you’re going to use this pattern, notice the shoulder line placement here (pinned above yoke seam):

b side shoulder in relation with yoke

It means that when you set in the sleeve or add the collar, you have to be very careful about the matching dots and triangle since so many patterns just line the sleeve head up to the shoulder seam and this one doesn’t do that.


The lace was really challenging to actually sew into the pockets. Here’s a tip for lining up the bottom of the pocket as the pattern only marks the top edges.

bodice pocket alignment

I also under-stitched the back yoke (not included in the pattern instructions) to strengthen the seam so it doesn’t stretch out. This lace is very…I don’t know…spongy? It keeps changing shapes as I work with it even with basting. See my “square” pockets? Lucky, the curves hide the distortion rather well.

bodice pocket details

Here’s how the bodice looks at this point with the pockets and lower back in lace. I like how it fits so far. It is semi-fitted which is perfect for a non-stretch fabric.

The lace required special attention at the side bodice seams where the back is lace and the front is linen.After stitching front to back 5/8″ s.a. Then I stitched the s.a. with the triple stitch zigzag very close to the side seam line to make sure I caught the lace really well. I pressed s.a. to the bodice front. I’m thinking the back bodice in lace only may have trouble holding up the weight of the skirt without distorting, so I’m considering hem or stay tape at the side seams and waist seam kind of like a waist stay…

I kind of wish I has enough lace to make the circle skirt version underlined with the linen, but I don’t have enough of either fabric for that. I’ll hopefully get some time this weekend to keep sewing. Of course, the problem with choosing a complex project during vacation is that I didn’t have as much time to sew as I thought I would at the beginning of the week. And I have no idea when I’ll have time to focus on the tricky bits like the placket and collar. Oh well! I’ll keep you posted!



6 thoughts on “M7351 Shirt Dress in Linen and Lace

    1. Not much left in terms of large pieces. My husband suggests making a sleeveless jacket/vest because of the way is splays open.

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