A Dress For Spring – McCalls 6887 Pattern Review

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It’s Spring, and I wanted a dress with a Spring kind of feel.  McCalls 6887 has been waiting for me to make it, and i found a fun print this weekend to use.

I picked up this pattern after looking at the line drawings.

I liked the first set, View A, but the set next to it also caught my eye, View C.  I do eventually want to make View A, but I decided to make View C first.   It requires less fabric, and I do love sheath dresses.

I made a quick muslin of the smallest size and decided that it would be snug but a size larger would be too big in the waist.  That would cause a gap or droop between my back and the skirt along the back of the skirt’s waistline, and that would not be wearable.

I also decided to use an invisible zipper, instead of the slot installation denoted in the pattern instructions.  As per my usual avoidance of hand stitching, I did not follow the directions for attaching the bodice to the skirt.  Instead, I placed the bodice layers between the skirt layers and stitched them together in one continuous seam.  That gave me a clean look on the inside.  I did not alter the original hem length, but I did deviate from the instructions by blind hem stitching the skirt and the lining separately before attaching the lining to the skirt at the slit,

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The end result is a simple sheath dress that’s business in the front and party in the back :). I can wear it to work with a blazer (which I did, scandalous, I know) or out and about without.  One thing that I do want to mention about this dress, is actually getting it on and off is interesting.  And by interesting, I mean, the buttons sit too low to pull it up and button them, and too high to reach around from below.  If you’re lucky enough to have a personal valet or dresser then it’s simple,  If you’re not that lucky, make sure you stand in the mirror while you try to contort enough to slip this on so you can laugh at yourself. 🙂  I do it very slowly and carefully.  I thought about snaps, but all it takes is one deep breath for that to be a bad idea.  So this is not the dress to wear when you’re in a rush.  As awkward as getting dressed might be, I still like it and will most likely make another one. 🙂

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Tale of Two Red Dresses – Dress #2 – McCalls 7085 Pattern Review

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The Tale of Two Red Dresses continues with Dress #2.  Now, I spent all of Saturday working on Dress #1.  Once it was done, and I was thoroughly disappointed with the waste of satin and time, I was in need of some sewing gratification.  i decided that Sunday I would work on McCalls 7085.  I think it’s relatively new, I couldn’t find any reviews on it and I noticed it being available recently.  It is a lined dress pattern with different sleeve, neckline, and hem options.  As I sat glaring at Dress #1, I pulled out the instructions for McCalls 7085, and read that it only has 3 pieces for View D.  The 12 darts didn’t bother me, I know some people dread them, but I don’t mind darts.  Luckily, I picked up some .99 cent per yard red rayon on Friday after work (that clearance table and I, we’re good friends), to serve as a lining in case one of the patterns i decided on needed one.

By the way, I found this satin on the clearance table at Hancock’s a while ago and I don’t know how it made it there.  It is a dream to work with.  It’s got some kind of soft undercoating on the wrong side, and during pressing the satin becomes malleable and totally well-behaved.  If this dress didn’t call for a lining, I certainly wouldn’t have minded having the wrong side of this fabric caressing me all day.  And to be completely honest, I still have more yardage left.  Don’t judge me, it was on sale for 2 or 3 dollars a yard.  You would have bought it all too. 🙂

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Back to the story, Dress #2 didn’t take nearly as long as Dress #1, and it’s fully lined.  I loved that there were only 3 pieces.  I’m also in love with the blind hem on this one.  Once I switched presser feet, I didn’t notice my thread tension was just slightly loose until I was almost done with the hem, but between that and the way this fabric takes a press, the stitching is virtually invisible, yay!  I made the smallest size and as you can see it’s very fitted.  I generally wear a 0-4 in RTW, if that helps anyone determine how street size translates to the 6 of this pattern.  This is the type of fit I prefer, but I do understand that not everyone does. That’s okay. 🙂 To each their own, once you know what you like, go for it 🙂

Tale of Two Red Dresses – Dress #1 – McCalls 6920 Pattern Review

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Here begins the tale of two red dresses.  Why red, you ask?  Because I had three yards of soft red satin and two red zippers.  Two dresses that at first glance appear similar, but are very different.  Let’s start with dress #1.

I picked up McCalls pattern 6920 after reading rave reviews on it’s simplicity and fit.  I had passed it up many times previously because of how it looked on the envelope cover.  Simply put, the fit was not appealing to me for my figure.  I’ve included the picture from the envelope to the right.  In my opinion, it looks baggy in the bust and waist.  Those are not areas that I need or want to hide on my frame, so extra fabric there is a no, no.  Accentuate the positives, right?

The pattern is for an unlined dress with neckline facing, and has two neckline and two hem options.  I do love a sheath dress, and after reading so many good reviews, I decided to pick it up during the last sale.  I noticed that the rave reviewers did not have the same shape as me, but figured why not give it a try.

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It took longer than anticipated to complete this dress, considering it has no lining.  I made the smallest size.  As a positive note, even though the notches didn’t always match up for me, the lengths did and I can say that the facing fit the dress accurately.  Speaking of which, that may have contributed to the length of time it took. It was my second time using fusible interfacing (i normally use organza).  I have to be honest, I’m very disappointed, and it’s not worth the time or effort to try to fix for a better fit.  I wore it to work for pictures, but it definitely won’t go anywhere else.  As you can see below the armholes fit, but the amount of extra fabric in the front is ridiculous.  It could be classed as maternity wear for me.

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I wanted to post it to show, that not everything works out, and just because many others people love something, doesn’t mean you will.

The Almost Wrap Dress – McCalls 6884 Pattern Review

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As promised yesterday, the second dress I made this weekend is from McCalls 6884.  It is quite a versatile mock wrap dress pattern with varied options for the sleeves, the ties, the length, the right front wrap panel, and the amount of leg revealed.  It can also be easily adapted to be an actual wrap dress if one desires.

I sewed View C without the sleeves.  The pattern calls for a medium-weight knit, but we know how well i follow those kinds of directions by now.  I used a lightweight knit, more about how i chose that later. 🙂 The instructions are straight forward, except where one instruction says stitch to the circle, when on that particular view I think it should have said box.  It is a mock wrap dress because the left panel is sewn to the right and back panels on the right side, however the right panel does hang free and actually wraps across the body to be secured by the ties.

Let’s talk about the fabric i used. 🙂 I was digging through the remnants bin at my local Hancock Fabrics, and my hand caught a silky soft feeling.  I grabbed it and yanked it out from under the piles of fleece and cotton pieces, and this beautiful magenta won me over immediately.  It must have been meant for me to make this dress, because there was slightly more than a yard in the remnant and this pattern does not require the normal 2-3 yards that other wrap dresses request.  When the sales associate saw it, she told me that she didn’t think very many people could wear this color well.  I don’t think I have that problem 🙂

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I love this dress,  It’s super soft, silky, and feels as if it’s barely there. I think the solid color highlights the cross body gather details well.  I’ve included a close-up of the gathering below.

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Angel in a Blue Dress! – Vogue 8825 Pattern Review

This weekend, I resolved to buckle down and make something work appropriate.  I still have a chair back full of clothes that I can’t wear to work.  They have been patiently waiting to make their blog debuts, but until I get time to get the pictures done they will have to continue to wait.  I ended up making two dresses and this is the first.  One day I was flipping through Vogue patterns and this silhouette caught my eye. Hello, Vogue 8825 🙂

It is an older pattern and has been reviewed many times, often compared to styles from the 1970s, However, something about it spoke to me.  The gentle hourglass shaping, the sleeve gathered into the cuff, the V-neckline all drove me to check two different stores and hunt this pattern down.

As luck would have it, once I found the pattern, this sky blue nylon/spandex knit was waiting for me on the clearance table.  It was not the recommended weight, or even the necessary length listed on the pattern, however I loved the blue and thought that a solid color would show the sleek lines and details of this dress.  With careful piece placement, and the blessing of it being a 4 way stretch, I was able to cut all the necessary pieces with nothing but scraps left.

As a pattern review, the instructions were easy to follow and for the most part, and straight-forward.  The joining of the front sleeve piece to the bodice and back was slightly confusing since I followed the early instructions to clip to the small circle.  When I began sewing the pieces together it seemed like the clipped portion would end up on the outside and not the inside.  I stared at it for a bit, and and decided to pull the little pieces while stitching hoping that the slits would be on the interior and they ended up there. In another version I will not clip and see what happens. 🙂 I machine stitched the self facing to the back seam instead of slipstitching as per the instructions and I am satisfied with the result.

As a fitting note, Once the bodice is put together, it will not hang properly without the skirt attached.  The weight of the skirt pulls the bodice down, so be cautious if you are planning on making adjustments there.  Also, I did not adjust the hem, it is 1-1/4″ deep and I’m 5’8″.  I hope the pictures help give an accurate idea of where it will fall on those slightly shorter or taller.

Overall, I love this dress.  I think the silhouette is classic and timeless.  It wears well and i have full range of movement in it.  I even have an idea to modify it into a top (that is not a tunic) to wear for dance.  More to come on that later. 🙂