Under the Tuscan sun: McCalls 6696




Ciao, bellas! It’s been just under a week since I returned from a wonderful few days in Tuscany, centred around a friend’s fabulous wedding and involving so much bruschetta I am probably now 20% tomato.

I had bought this pattern and this Fabergé egg-inspired Liberty lawn way back at the start of summer 2015, but for some reason the two languished unmade for five seasons. I couldn’t bear to leave the pair for another year, so whipped up this dress for our trip, knowing it would be the last hurrah of summer. In spite of the Russian inspiration, I also feel there’s something rather fittingly Italianate about the print.

It’d been a while since I’d tried a new big 4 pattern, and I’d forgotten the whole mega-ease business, so the dress (size 12, C-cup) is definitely on the roomy side. But nipping in the waist with a belt mostly fixes that, and anyway, it leaves more room for bruschetta.

We started taking photos in this lovely park, but it seemed like every mosquito in Tuscany suddenly arrived for a Nina-feast and I basically had to hotfoot it away after a couple of shots with rapidly swelling legs. Not pretty.

This is a hugely popular pattern amongst the blogosphere, so I won’t go into further construction details except to add that I folded out the gathering where the back meets the yoke (leaving some gathering at the back waist) following the example of Fiona at Diary of a Chain Stitcher, raised the waistline by a sizeable 1.5″ (it probably should’ve been 2″) and shaved 4″ off the length. The short length did result in a bonus knicker show for anyone behind me on the breezy ladders to the top of the Torre del Mangia, but a spot of inadvertent flashing has never put me off my stride. 




Siena was marvellous. I’m one of those terribly backward people that can’t really understand the point of modern architecture and so all that unadulterated oldness was right up my (narrow, winding, cobbled) street. Walking the city was like watching a firework display; after a while you simply run out of oohs and aahs, even though the next thing is always more incredible than the last. Bellissima!

Anyhoo, I’ve two more Italian outfits to share with you over the next few days, including the dress I wore to the wedding – a refashioned kimono! x

Where we stayed: All’ombra della Torre. Where we ate: Antica Osteria da Divo.


13 thoughts on “Under the Tuscan sun: McCalls 6696

  1. Super dress, it looks fab on and I love that fabric. Your photos are gorgeous and it looks such a beautiful place, I love old architecture too


  2. Bruschetta room for the win! 😀 It looks great Nina. I have this pattern but it has also sat in my stash for about a year as I basically can’t decide on fabric. Maybe I can sew a chambray or Essex linen version for Autumn. Envious of your trip to Tuscany. I supposed to go for a conference a couple of weeks ago but it fell through. Sadface. Really looking forward to seeing what you wore for the wedding! x


    1. Thanks, Jen! You should totally make an autumnal version… It’s a nice pattern; not overly easy, but nothing tricksy. Bad luck on the conference though, that would’ve been a fantastic location. Hope you’ve got another exotic trip on the horizon to compensate! x


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