Put a Bird On It: McCalls 6891/6696 Shirtdress mashup

There are over 1000 tags of McCalls’ 6696 on Instagram and maybe around a hundred for Palmer and Pletsch’s 6891. I bought both these patterns when they came out yearrrrrs ago and regret waiting so long to make because I LOVE this little aviary centric throwback shirtdress.

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I purchased this Ankara fabric from a fellow maker so long ago that I can’t even find the email about it. The fabric is a little lightweight (think thin quilting) and I wouldn’t have used it for anything where the seams would be very stressed. I’ve actually reinforced my waist seams with twill tape. In retrospect, this could do with some underlining and I’ll wear it with a slip. I’m glad I didn’t have enough fabric for sleeves, because I’d be worried about stressing the seams.


The bodice is M6891 as I think the open neckline works best for me. I switched out the pattern skirt for something without bias and went with M6696. For my clothes, I personally don’t like when a directional print arches like a rainbow or frown on the skirt. That’s just me! So, to have a skirt where the birds more or less are straight, I chose a non bias skirt. I did not do this, but if you do mix the two patterns, the front skirt needs about 2″ added in width. The back didn’t need any additional width added to match the back bodice.


I also recommend against a directional print because of the collar lapels. Are my lapels upside down dead birds? Or are they birds on a wire marching up my neck? The fabric was just 45″ wide and the print ran along the crosswise grain — so I had to cut it that way. I could have done a contrast collar, but I didn’t want that look.

Alterations / changes

  • 1.25″ FBA
  • Rising hem adjustment on back skirt
  • Swayback adjustment on back bodice
  • Skipped pockets
  • Bias bound neck and armsyces
  • Shortened bodice to raise waistline approx 3″ ( it was hitting me at the widest vs narrow part of my waist)
  • I think I sewed a 20? I was between sizes with the upper bust and went with the larger size. It does pull away from my back neck and the shoulder seams are wide for me. But, I actually like that it’s not RIGHT on the back of my neck or too snug for a summer dress.


I actually wore this dress to a wedding last week. I couldn’t help but think of a time I tried to wear an Ankara print dress to my uncle’s daytime wedding and reception. My aunt looked at me twice and said, “You can’t wear cotton to a wedding.” I don’t even remember what I did end up wearing, but I’ll never forget that story. It’s so cute and funny to me now. But, this wedding was labeled as casual and outside at a campsite in the Poconos. It fit in well and I was borderline overdressed.

I think the collar instructions are not great on this so I did it my own way. I used instructions from my Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing. You construct the collar, attach to the neck. Then you add the lower collar and facing (this is not meant to be at tutorial. Just a description of how I handled it).

As for the wedding….. I have a lot of thoughts. I’m not getting married now in this time of Covid so it’s not my big decision to make. But, having been…. I would just say if you’re getting married, make it intimately small and family only. You can’t trust other people to have the same covid related procedures in place as you.

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The wedding was for a college friend of Jordan’s. He wore a seersucker suit which I hemmed the pants. His mask is the Trend Patterns mask and mine is the APLAT. For his mask, I did add about 1/2″ in length to it to cover his face best. 


For mine, I will just warn you that the APLAT instructions are atrocious and you’re better off looking at something else from this kind of 3D mask line. Unless you learn from videos. Then the Aplat might be great for you. 


All in all, I was so happy to get ANYWHERE this past weekend. The drive, the scenery, the food I didn’t cook, the four walls I wasn’t intimately familiar with, the outdoors. All of it. Well, except for the bizarre QAnon rally that took place outside of our Airbnb. But that’s the kind of story for another blog.

Put a Bird On It: McCalls 6891/6696 Shirtdress mashup