Whether you spell it "shirt dress" or "shirtdress," this garment presents some challenges to the Apple. Typically it's a short, somewhat fitted garment. Ready-to-wear options are frequently unflattering, with "fitting" that hits all the wrong places on us, or a lack of fitting that leaves us looking like an egg in a really long dress shirt. Not an attractive look.
All that said, you CAN make a flattering shirtdress if you are willing to spend a little time up front on the fitting and pattern selection. It is a wardrobe staple, so the extra effort will pay off for years to come! Today I compared two shirtdress patterns: McCalls 7889 and 7890. Only one is going to land in my pattern box.
M7889 has lovely sleeve and hem detailing that will beautifully show off fabric lines and/or graphic elements. I can see how dramatic it could be with some of my ankara prints. However, I'm apprehensive about the waistline. It appears to sit pretty close to bellybutton level, while my thinnest point is higher. Additionally, the fabric above the belt blouses out - in a flattering way on the model shown. My experience is that this makes me somehow look fatter and as if I have no boobs at all. Attempts to move the waistline have met with very limited success.
Careful inspection of the M7889 line art and back of envelope description reveals the "gathers" are actually stitched pleats. This is promising, as it means less bulk. I look at the model pictured again, and set the pattern aside for now. Because if the pleats look like gathers in the picture, they will look that way on me. All the flaring over my belly won't matter if the top half looks dowdy.
On to M7890. It looks a little scary at first: a little "sheath-shaped" maybe. Yet look at that beautiful collar and neckline. That clean placket line provides a very crisp appearance that will help me look pulled together, even when I don't have the time for coordinating an outfit. M7890 also offers two waistline fitting points that work really well for Apples: