I’ve really been making an effort to sew from my stash. I bought this fabric last year when Joann had a sale on their “silky prints”. While I do love polka dots and red is one of the few colors are wear…I had almost immediate regret after buying this fabric. It’s just too shiny, too red. It looks like clown costume material! I thought about doing a solid black something with the clown polka dot skirt, but I just imagined that as worse…
Enter McCall’s 6952. Originally, I had envisioned this in view C, for my maxi dress sew-along but I really just think the print would overwhelming. Instead I went with view A, I love the back detail! Also I’ve been looking for some light weight, flowy dresses for the humid Ohio Summer.
All and all, it was a pretty quick sew. I opted to skip the elastic band, using some ribbon as a belt instead. I also added pockets, because I just really like pockets. I cut a straight 12, but I really think I could have done a 10, even without a zipper. Being entirely honest, I don’t think I’ll be wearing this dress as often as some other garments, but I still do like it. If you’re looking for a quick summer dress, this could be sewn in a day, though I’d suggest sizing down and maybe not using such a blindingly shiny fabric 😉
When I first started sewing again, I made my first garment with my dear friend Amy. After the nightmare that was that dress, I thought I would try this simple knit tank. Easy, right? WRONG! At this time in my life, I was sewing on a base model machine, with no knowledge of how to work with knits. What’s worse, I had no clue about pattern fitting. I was hopeless.
I remember when I was originally sewing this, the fabric kept getting sucked into my machine. The stitching just seemed off (zigzag stitching and a ball point needle MAY have been helpful 😉 ) The bust darts were too pointy. Using bias tape for the first time, I found it to be wavy and unsightly. In my frustration, I shoved this thing into the bottom of my scrap fabric tote, never to be seen again. That was until I stumbled across the pattern, while browsing the McCall’s site. I’ve sewn plenty of knits now! My machine is much improved! I have ballpoint needles! I HAVE A SERGER! Out came the old tank!
The pattern had been lost long ago, so this was all improvisation. First things first, take in the sides. I was on my way to Amy’s to sew on this particular day, so I did this quickly and without a second thought. I quickly pinned the sides down, turned it inside out, and ran each side through the serger, using the furthest seam line guide on my machine. It fit!!! Perhaps not in the way the pattern intended, but still in a way that I liked. My second step was was to fold the bias tape over, on the inside of the garment, to give it a stable, less wavy finish.
That was it, folks! Just a few alterations and this garbage tank is in regular wardrobe rotation. Originally, I had intended to use this embarrassingly simple pattern to make old band shirts wearable again. Now that I’ve conquered it, perhaps you will see a few embarrassingly angsty but modified band shirts on the blog (looking at you, extra large the Get Up Kids shirt).
So I know this is a super old pattern, but…I still think you should make this dress immediately. It’s the Butterick B5317 by Maggy London and it’s fantastic. The dress features six fairly large pleats, right underneath the bust, which makes it very flattering. The pattern calls for a side zip, but as I made mine in a knit, I omitted the zipper. However, I did notice that the bodice darts were a bit too pronounced, so perhaps such a sturdy knit was not the best fabric choice? The pictures don’t do the bust any justice, though, I’m the worst at pictures. Also, I ended up taking the straps up a few inches, and the bodice in a bit. Honestly, I have nearly constant strap issues. At this point, I’ve planned for it. By pattern sizing, I should have made a 14, but I scaled down to a 12. I think I could have done a 10.
I opted out of doing a contrast fabric, frankly, I just didn’t have one and there are NO fabric stores where I work or where I live. It’s only a thirty minute drive to Joann, but still…no time. Also, since I didn’t do a contrast band on the bottom, I decided to try out a rolled hem. ROLLED HEMS ARE THE BEST!! Once I figured out how to set up my trusty serger for this, it was beyond easy. I usually serge all my seams, so I’ve come to expect setup difficulties, but here there were none! Success on the first try!
All and all, this dress came together in about three evenings, from start to finish. Around six hours, I think, including fit issues. I’ll actually get some wear out of it, and truly, the fit isn’t that bad. Also, shout out to Etsy and my momma for my awesome Harry Potter locket 🙂