Sunday, September 26, 2010

McCalls 6123

I got sidelined on the sewing train lately; I got the foolish notion to strip the wall paper from my master bath and renovate the bathroom. The wall paper stripping nearly killed me - it was as awful as everyone had warned me about - and the exhaustion I experienced from a week of nightly wall paper stripping triggered an MS attack of biblical proportions. (I asked VickiW to shoot me, and she volunteered her husband as a excellent shot.) But I survived, and today I finally finished the McCalls 6123 dress with my Singapore Silk: How b*sty does this dress make me look? Big enough to where I am self-conscious about it!!! I really am only a B cup, but the gathers in this bodice make me look like Dolly Parton's sister. : ) The dress actually hangs straighter than this photo leads you to believe; the wind was blowing when this was taken. Here's the back:
Here's an inside shot which shows the colors a bit more true:
This dress was fun to make. I used the same fabric for the bodice as I did for the lower part of the dress, but I reversed the fabric near the hem to make it subtely different. I will say that this dress pattern is made with LOTS of ease. The smart thing to do with this pattern is to make a muslin, but do as I say and not as I do. I didn't make one. Fortunately, the finished garment measurements are printed on the envelope and pattern, and I went from that. This is how large this dress runs: I usually make a size 12; I made a size 6. Now admittedly, the 6 is a tad tight, which is what is making me look like I had breast augmentation. Next time, I'll make this in a size 8.
A couple of things about this pattern. The original instructions have you cut out the gold bands, press up one edge 3/8 of an inch and sew them to the dress pieces. I didn't have the patience for all that, so I just figured out what measurement the bands would finish at, doubled that, and added the seam allowance. Then I folded the band in half length-wise and pressed it. I figured doing it this way wouldn't add too much bulk, given that I was working with silk, and I was right. Unfortunately, my math was wrong. I should have cut out the gold bands at 2 1/4 inch for them to finish at 1/2 inch. Instead, I cut them out at 3 1/4 inch, so they finished at 1 inch. I think, though, I am happier with the gold bands being 1 inch than if they had been 1/2 inch.
Another thing: I believe the patterns for the middle front and back gold bands were wrong - I believe they should have been reversed. Pattern piece 25 should have been 26 and vice-versa. I didn't test this out, though, and I just made one long band and pinned it around the lower dress section, tucking the end into the folded edge of the opposite end. I did the same for the gold hem band.
Kay Whitt designed this pattern for McCalls and I discovered that Ms. Whitt has no interest in clothing that is "de-constructed". For example, every seam was edge stitched and then top stitched, as well. Here's a photo of the top gold band just under the bust:
And for every opening, such as the neckline and armhole, not only did you stitch the seam, but then the opening was understitched, edge stitched, and top stitched. At first I thought this was a bit of over-construction, but as I progressed, I found that all this stitching really helped hammer this silk into submission. I don't know if I would have done all this stitching had I been working with cotton, but with the silk, it was worth it.
While working on this pattern, I discovered that Kay Whitt has a book out with other patterns for skirts, dresses, and jackets, so I bought it:
I love the skirt on the cover and that is probably the first pattern from the book I'll make. (The book comes with full size tissue patterns of all the designs featured.) The patterns in the book are like the McCalls 6123 - the garments are made using different, but coordinating fabrics. This is perfect for the silks I was using, or the designer collections you find in your LQS. Every quilt store should sell this book - the clothes are way cute and are perfect for the coodinating fabrics on display. It got me thinking about those feedsack fabrics I still have - rather than trying to get one garment from one feedsack, I could take several feedsacks that coordinate and make a skirt or dress. Hmmm, more possibilities.

Also while I was working on this dress, I discovered a moth had eaten a hole in the sleeve of one of my favorite sweaters. I cut off the bottoms of both sleeves, making them three quarters length, and added half inch pink silk bands to the end of the sleeves, using Ms. Whitt's edge stitch and top stitch technique:

The colors match so well that I am thinking of cutting off the turtleneck of this sweater and making it a cardigan, trimming it in more of the silk colors I used in the dress. I could then wear the sweater with the dress, covering my voluminous bosom, and thus enabling me to wear this in public throughout the autumn. : ) We'll see.
Next up: a shirt for the Carpenter. I bought two patterns at McCalls 99 cent sale: an easy one and a harder one. I'll start with the easy one in a cheap homespun plaid I got for a song at Joanns and see where I go from there.
Parting Shot: About a month ago the Carpenter and I went to Appamattox Plantation where General Grant had his headquarters during the seige of Petersburg. The house was originally built in the 1700s and was owned by the Epps family for over 300 years. It was a beautiful day:


Vicki W said...

I am glad you are feeling better and I think the dress looks really cute!

Eileen said...

I love your dress and the combination of fabrics you put together.

Angelcat said...

Love the dress, those fabrics are beautiful

gwensews said...

You did wonderfully, color-blocking that dress with your pieces of silk. Not an easy thing to pull off. Nice work!

Summerset said...

Lovely dress - I like the way it all works so nicely together. Glad you're feeling better!

Mary said...

It does make you look busty but it's very pretty! Glad you're rercovered from the wallpaper ordeal. I stripped wallpaper once years ago and won't ever do it again!

Audrey said...

The silks look so great combined in the dress. Yes, you do look like a "busty wonder", a term my mother used to use. The cardigan idea sounds like it would look nice over the dress. Ah yes wallpaper removal. I have removed all the circa 1980's wallpaper from my home except in the two story high foyer. I just can't summon up the energy to tackle it. Maybe it is time for hired help.

Isabelle said...

What a wonderful dress. I love, love it! What a great combination of colours. You look fabuluous in it.

I am sorry to read you've been so sick - glad that you are better.