After years of studying for a PhD and a career in the pharmaceutical industry I gave up my career a year ago to be a stay at home mum. I don’t regret spending the time with my little girl. She will be going off to school in September, so I may go back to work then. But in the mean time my wardrobe requirements have changed somewhat. I used to wear a lot of tailored dresses and smart clothes. Now I still want to look nice, but I just don’t have the need for formal tailored clothing. So I am trying to sew a smart casual wardrobe. Easier said than done.
Enter McCalls 6694. Looking at the photos, I actually think the style is a lot like the Simplicity dress I did back in September. Eeek, I must have a thing for wrap bodice dresses with ruffles on the bottom! (No more!) The difference is that McCalls 6694 is made from cotton jersey. A very soft, lightweight cotton jersey, which as you can imagine was not all that easy to work with.
I mentioned a few posts back that for mothers day Phil was kind enough to buy me a serger. I love it! Revolutionary! I went ahead and purchased a gathering attachment especially for this project. Here’s a picture of the scary looking attachment:
It might be scary looking, but let me tell you that it produces beautiful, even, professional gathers. BUT, you must have double the quantity (pretty much exactly) of the fabric to be gathered in relation to the fabric to which it is going to be attached. Here’s the finished gathers from the inside:
So, anyway, the problem is that this dress is a fabric hungry monster! It looooves to gobble up fabric, because, of course, you are supposed to cut 6 pieces of fabric for the ruffles on the bias, as well as the two back pieces on the bias (which, incidentally, I didn’t bother doing – see below). So, I didn’t have quite enough fabric to get a decent set of gathers for the upper ruffle. But, just for your kind information, I basted the upper ruffle on and you all get to see kind of what it would look like with and without the ruffle. I took the ruffle off in the end because it just looked terrible on my backside without enough ruffle in it. Also, the pattern has you attach the ruffles with a raw finish to the skirt portion of the dress. I was able to attach the lower ruffle using the gathering attachment. The upper ruffle would have been sewn on, as basted, with a raw heading.
What do you think? Did I make the right decision taking the ruffle off?
And don’t even ask me about the stripe matching on this dress. There isn’t any. Except for the centre back, which as I mentioned above, I didn’t cut on the bias. I feel there is no need if you are making this from a stretch fabric. Basically, going for diagonal striped jersey was a bit of a bad choice for this dress. A straight striped jersey would be much better!
To conclude, I love the feel and movement of the jersey fabric. It’s so light and the ruffle at the bottom moves beautifully. I would definitely advise going down a size (I did). The neck is wide. I used cotton tape to stabilise the (bias cut) front edges and I know it looks like it is hanging precariously from my shoulders…but it doesn’t gape. I also put tape in at the shoulders. The armholes are very low, and I hope that after a wash the “sleeves” won’t stick up as much (due to the bias binding facing). IF I ever made this again I might make the armholes smaller.
Here’s my pattern review.
Pullover dresses have loose-fitting bodice variations, raised (elasticized) waist, and applied, bias ruffles (raw edge finish) with heading. I made view D which has a mock wrap, bias bodice and sleeves cut with the bodice. Purchased bias tape finishes the neckline, and armholes.
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Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like the pattern. Its a fun, easy to wear dress. I don’t like that it takes a lot of fabric 🙂
Lightweight cotton jersey
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I cut a size smaller than I normally would. I did not cut the back pieces on the bias. I didn’t think there was a need too given the stretch fabric I was using. I think this pattern does run large so cutting on the bias may make it stretch more than necessary. I didn’t add anything to the length. With the ruffle it is a good length for me (5’3″). I sewed cotton tape in to the shoulders and along the bias edges of the bodice fronts. I finished the raw edges of the elastic casing before sewing it in place. I used a gathering attachment on my overlocker to create the lower ruffle, rather than the suggested sewing on to create a raw edge finish. I ended up removing the upper ruffle as I didn’t have enough fabric to create an adequate ruffle.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Not sure I would sew again. Yes, I would recommend to others.
With the fabric I used and the lower ruffle this dress makes me feel fun, flirty and feminine. I can see me wearing this dress a lot over the summer months.