Sunday, June 28, 2015

Finally a maxidress...

For the last couple of years my solution to a cool summer knit dress was Vogue 1250.  Well lose a few pounds and all of those amazing dresses have been added to the donation pile...and what is a woman to do now?

With much prodding and poking from my girl, Gaylen, I pulled out McCalls 6559. You know the maxi dress that everyone has made (110 reviews on Patternreview at last count) and I horribly failed at three years ago.  But body changes and an acceptance that maybe just maybe this should fit closer rather looser and I have this...



Okay let's back up a minute.  I really wasn't sold on McCalls 6559 until I went on the Avenue's site and saw maxi dress after maxi dress in this style. The only thing distinguishing each dress was the print used on the fabric or a binding added to the neckline and the armholes. I guess I could have just bought a few but all the elements to make them exist in the cave, so I thought I would try again.

As you can see from above, it worked. 
  • I started with the same pattern pieces adding 5/8" to the front and back side seams.
  • I added a 1/2" at the center front seam by placing the pattern piece 1/2" away from the fold. 
  • I also added a center back seam instead of placing the back piece on the fold.
  • The neckline was raised an inch and then an inch was removed from the shoulder straps to raise up the armholes. 
  • For the next version I added another 5/8" at the neckline on the pattern to raise it up. I think the black one is a little low.
  • I topstitched the neckline and armholes in white thread to give the top a little sumthin' sumthin'. 
  • The shoulder seams were stabilized with "Design Plus" bias fusible stay tape.
  • Finally the side seams were sewn with a 1/2" seam allowance and then serged finished.
  • The hem was pressed up 1.5" and I added some stitch witchery. Then I topstitched the hemline with black thread.
  • After finishing the dress, I had some gap in the front armhole, so I improvised side armhole darts.
  • Altered the front pattern piece by slicing and folding over at the armhole and did a similar alteration at the back armhole.
My first try is from some of the black cotton/lycra ponte from my 10 yard stock. I figured if it didn't work, I would still get a maxi skirt from the leftover. I realize that this is a firmer fit than an ITY knit will provide, which are my next choices. 

Here are my fabric choices ~


An ITY navy & black border print, a red/brown/black polka dot ITY knit
a cotton/spandex vanilla dot print & a bold border print ITY knit

...a few more pictures of this maxi dress in action.




I will show pics of the other dresses in another post because I ended up making four of them, enough for vacation and as Gaylen reminded me on Instagram, enough for a week's worth of work outfits. 

Finally, I really like the tie top that accompanies this pattern and I think it will give me some much needed waist definition.  Now to find that linen knit fabric I bought from Fabric Mart years ago to make a couple!

...as always more later!



32 comments:

  1. Very nice dress! I really like the easy wear of maxi dresses and they are becoming weekend go-to items for me!

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  2. This is great and what a fantastic way to get your sewjo back. The print dresses are fabulous but you can't go wrong with a black dress. And yup full weeks worth of outfits.

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  3. Very nice. I know it's comfortable. I've worn one the last two days myself.

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  4. Great dress! And you really are quite the shoe queen... those are beautiful.

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  5. I really like your dress and can't wait to see the others. You make me want to pull this pattern out. I made two last Fall, long sleeves but they were not worn much. I think I like the sleeveless version much better.

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  6. That maxi dress is beautiful. I love the red, brown and black polka dot fabric...can't wait for you to make that one!

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  7. Ooh yes. I made this in a black and white zigzaggy print -the view that's shown in red on the envelope-and put a black star on the side waist. I call it my Sneetches dress because I have star upon a thar. Must get around to making the tie front top so I can wear it at work!

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  8. This looks great on you. I haven't made the dress but I have made the tie top out of mesh. It's a great fabric for a casual coverup.

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    1. Alison, I saw your top on PR, that's what reminded me of the linen knit to make one of my own.

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  9. It's so worth it to spend the time on fit. You did a fab job. I love a slinky maxi! And really looking forward to seeing it in the red and brown dot too :-)

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  10. Your maxi dress looks great!

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  11. May I ask.... are you using the stitch witchery for a stabilizer in the hem?

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    1. Yes Jean - I press it into the hem. Then I stitch the hem down.

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  12. Nice! For stabilizing the shoulders, did the bias Design Plus tape really work? I've always use their straight tape on the shoulders of my knits.

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    1. Janee, it worked great. I usually use stay tape also but I really wanted to try this since I had it in the collection. It worked best at the neckline and armholes though. It stopped the neckline from stretching out and from rippling!

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  13. Holy Mackerel - that looks fantastic on you!!!

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  14. That's a great maxi dress! Amazing how losing even just a few pounds increases your sewing and wearing confidence. Hate that that's what it takes, but what can you do?!

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  15. Carolyn this is my "go to" maxi dress pattern. I too raised the armhole and neckline but I also added a horizontal but dart at the side seam. Once sewn, it is invisible but is absolutely essential. I always add bust darts in my knits.

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  16. This looks GREAT on you! You may have inspired me to give it a try for myself!

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  17. Whoa! I love this so much. So elegant yet versatile. Think I might get this pattern xx

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  18. Your maxi dress is beautiful! You look gorgeous in it.

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  19. I love this! It looks so incredible on you! I always shy away from plain tank-style maxi dresses, but this is changing my mind. Looking forward to seeing your many future versions!

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  20. Your hair looks great.
    Don't remember seeing the back view.



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  21. Gorgeous! What a great summer staple.

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  22. Carolyn I couldn't agree me. I too think I look best in fitted clothing , for me extra fabric adds the inches
    The dresses look really nice . They look stylish and relaxing. Great makes.

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  23. Perfection! Maxi's really suit you well!

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  24. Love how you worked with the patterned fabrics - really loved the red one

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  25. I love these dresses, and your yellow skirt, so much. The way you have used a print on one side on the middle just about finished me off it was so clever. You may have doubts about your less corporate wardrobe, but the rest of us are all saying, I can wear that, today. Really inspiring.

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