Thursday, November 4, 2010

McCall 6032, Gathered Loop Front Knit Dress

M6032 Thumbnail

McCall 6032 is totally my kind of pattern: a knit dress with a bit of volume in the front. I like the double V front and back neckline and the choice of sleeves as well. When I found the fabric at Fabric Mart ($5.99/yd) it seemed like a great match. The front of this dress is cut as one piece so it's a good pattern for a large motif like this, though the back has a separate bodice and skirt and a CB seam, and I did not handle the cutting layout very well I found when it was done! My main concern was not to get a giant circle over my boob, so at least I succeeded in that.

This calls for a center back zipper and for the bodice to be lined. To add insult to injury, the bodice lining is done the Bad Old Way where you have to sew the shoulders at the end, rather than the new, all-machine clean-finish way. This is a nice sturdy knit so it didn't need to be lined and as for a zipper in a knit, pfft.

Sewed Darts at CF and CB for elastic application When I made some unmentionables recently I finally pulled out the picot elastic I had purchased from Sew Sassy and I thought it was really cute and decided to use it as a neckline finish at the next opportunity. This presented the perfect project!

The front is cut on the fold, and I had cut the back bodice on the fold as well since I was not putting in a zipper. While cutting, it seemed like the back neckline was really low. When I put it together, the back neckline was indeed really, really low. The dress was overall a bit too large as well. And I was a little stumped as to how to get a good elastic application only by clipping into the seam allowance at CF and CB. I took a rather large dart at center back, taking up about 1.5 inches of fabric and finishing it a little above the waist. I cut it open and unstitched the first 5/8" for seam allowance. At the center front, I took a tiny dart only slightly longer than the seam allowance and slashed and unstitched it 5/8" as well. I cut two pieces of elastic, each slightly shorter than the distance from CF to CB, folded down the seam allowance on the neckline, and stitched in place with a twin needle, overlapping at CF and CB to make a point. I trimmed away the seam allowance only so it would like nice for the picture. Ha!

I was happy with the way the neckline trim looked--it adds a little pizzazz without being too obvious and using trim like this makes for a nice sharp V at center front and back.

Sleeve Miscalculation Here's my dumb move and slapdash finish for the project. I cut the 3/4 length balloon sleeve, even though every time I've tried this look in the past it is a disaster on me. It makes me look shorter and like I have tiny Tyrannosaurus arms, and also widens me across the middle. And also looks like an old-fashioned nightgown. This look works for many people so I'm always lulled back into temptation, but on me it is all around bad.

Instead of first going to narrowing the sleeve to be fitted, I decided to chop them off in a fit of mania and see if I could do a puffed elbow length sleeve. That didn't look good either. So now I was stuck with voluminous, unflattering sleeves. I could have cut out a new set, but then I wouldn't have enough fabric to make the Simplicity 2580 empire waist cowl top. So I carefully serged my cut off lower halves back on using the tiniest seam allowance possible and narrowed the sleeves. Luckily, the joining seam really doesn't show from 5 feet away so I think I got away with it...this time. I hemmed the sleeves with picot elastic to echo the neckline.

Back You can see that the low back neckline creates room for it to slip off my shoulders a bit. I don't have to constantly pull it back up into place, thank goodness, but I might need to make some sort of sloping shoulder adjustment if I were to make it again. Bra strap keepers would help, too. The way it opens up creates those little dewlaps at my underarms, but at least there's no swayback! I made my usual swayback adjustment, of course. But perhaps swayback puddling would distract from the terrible pattern repeat there at center back.

M6032 This was another piece that got a lot of wear on my trip to Turkey. Love the bright colors and sturdy knit, and the cut flatters my shape well.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

So, it's cold now. Sadness. Cidell and I were talking about Fall/Winter sewing and she expressed skepticism that my knit dresses for winter actually keep me warm. They don't. The dresses are barely an afterthought in the scheme of keeping warm. First, you start with tights. Then come the wool knickers made out of thrift store merino wool sweaters. Lightweight, form fitting, and oh so warm. I think the wool knickers are the smartest sewing I have ever done. Now, don't get me wrong--they are so ugly that they are the anti-sex. Much worse than a chastity belt, because the chastity belt implies that someone wants to get at what's under there. With the wool knickers, it's like, "I wouldn't go near that with a 10 foot pole." But so warm.

Then you add knee high boots, a coat, a scarf, a hat, and gloves. Oh, and throw on a dress somewhere in there. The only place that isn't covered in a double layer is your knees, and if it's really cold you can put on some black Cuddl Duds (big fan of the product, despite the inexplicable spelling) or silk long johns, which can pass for tights on the commute to work but have to be removed in the office because they don't *really* look like tights. My office allows jeans on Friday so I usually do that, but other than Fridays I wore pants only one time last winter when it was too damn cold for a dress. Otherwise wool knickers/boots/coat/hat/scarf/gloves keeps you warm, despite the flimsiness of a knit dress.

33 comments:

[patty the snug bug] said...

Love the purple tights! And nice elastic use! Yay!

Karin said...

I agree! Pfft to zippers in knit dresses :)

Your picot elastic trim looks great. What a good idea!

senaSews said...

Cute dress. It is very you. I love it worn with the purple tights!

KID, MD said...

Adorable! Love the elastic trim, and nice save on the sleeves!

Rebeca said...

I have commented on your previous post about the swayback adjustment and after seeing the link you posted today to Flickr, I have to say you got it right, but strangely, changing the dart apex doesn't work for me. If I do so, the dart opens too much towards my hips. I prefer to leave the upper and bottom apex where they are after the adjustment, and just redraw the line that connects them so that it's a straight line.
Thanks for your posts, Slapdash!

Irene said...

Love the picot edge on the dress. Glad to know that I'm not the only one who has to think through the layering just to keep warm.

Little Hunting Creek said...

I hate cold weather too. Let's pray for no more snow like last year. I like your dress, and didn't notuce the pattern repeat on the back until you pointed it out. Nice save on the sleeves. Don't you feel like you got away with something?

cidell said...

HAHAHA!! The Anti-Sex! T-Rex arms! You're pithy today :) Love the print. And, I may investigate the silk long johns. But, I will never do wool knickers. Plus, I can only eek out one pair of pants each winter.

McVal said...

Wow! Excellent lining up of the pattern on those sleeves!
Oh and I'm with you! Zipper in a knit?? PFFTTT!

Marie-Christine said...

Very cute dress, it does suit you well. I'd add those bra strap keepers though, it helps not to have to fiddle. And the back motifs aren't as badly placed as they could be :-).
I like wool jersey t-shirts for winter, they add just that bit of warmth that makes the rest bearable, and they layer well. Could you try to make these knit dresses in wool jersey? It wouldn't help your knees, but it'd help.
As to the wool knickers, I have pant liners that are also violently unconducive to getting undressed but some of the most useful sewing I've done. What can I say? Hopefully they're busy with their own unattractive knickers while you're quickly wiggling out of yours?? I can usually remove several layers at once too, that helps.

daiyami said...

Agree with the winter dressing recipe. I made skirts, tights, and boots work all through one of New Hampshire's coldest winters in years. (Though, I'm thinking lined linen/wool dresses for winter myself, rather than knits.)

Our Heroine said...

Silk long johns are brilliant! I wear them under pants normally. With skirts/dresses and boots is a great idea.

Too bad wool doubleknit doesn't come in cool patterns. That would be perfect for winter.

Dharma said...

Great casual style. Very flattering. The boots and leggings are take it up a "notch".

meli88a said...

I am with you on the Cuddl Duds (though I've never worn them out of the house!) Kind of reminds me of when I was in high school and would wear long underwear as outerwear... those were the days!

gwensews said...

Looks great with your purple tights!

CGCouture said...

That turned out really cute! I love the boots! :-)

Adelaide B said...

Sometimes I hate you just a little bit. You make me want to sew with knits, but I just always hate it. Thanks for the eye candy though!

Kylie said...

I love your version of this dress! The fabric in particular is fantastic. I've made this pattern a few times and had the same too-deep-neckline-and-slipping-off-the-shoulders problem. My solution (a bit slapdash in itself) was to make a shallower v by adding 10cm at the centre front and back (this also helped with my too-much-cleavage problem). Though now you've mentioned bra strap keepers I'm kicking myself I didn't think of them!

Elizabeth said...

So cute! I really want to make a dress like this, because I bought some really pretty boots that I want to show off. Love the color on you.

Tasia said...

I admire your dedication to wearing dresses in cold weather! I bet people who see you on the street wonder how you're not cold...and now we know!
Very cute dress, great colours!

marysews said...

I like what you did with the sleeves, and I love that "Monet meets mosaic" fabric!

Karin van D said...

I wear dresses and skirts in the winter all the time too. Well, unless I am running and rolling and joking around in the snow with the little ones that is. Tried that, wasn't a succes, I can tell you.

Love the dress. I can imagine it's a perfect dress for layering, giving the right amount of detail and print to make it fun!

BConky said...

Cute dress love the picot edge. Never thought to use it on a dress. Good idea.

Angela said...

Cute dress... love the colors and the edging!

Cennetta said...

Yes, this is a cute dress. It's been awhile since I stopped by. Nothing change; you are still creating beautiful fashion.

kbenco said...

I am laughing out loud at your post. I love your description of winter dressing. You will not need to do this next heartbeat when you come to work in the subtropics. (All the lawyers I know wear suits to work though - things are very conservative here)
Your dress is also gorgeous. The picot edge finish is clever, and the sleeve save positively brilliant.

Rosie said...

T - the vision of the wool knickers is something else. I love your save of the sleeve and adding the picot elastic is a great touch.

Uta said...

The dress is very stylish, and I looove the print! I have to say on the subject of keeping warm, a pair of jeans has nothing on my woollen, lined skirts. With a pair of boots, I'd wear them in a snowstorm!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I understand the layers for the chill...will look into the silk long johns...have amassed a collection of tights but my problem is that all of this is great while I am waiting for the bus. But once I'm inside I start stripping because of my personal summers issue...but thanks for letting us know how you wear dresses all winter long.

Oh and this is another cute one!

Isabelle said...

You have no idea how much this post is inspiring me! Thanks for all your tips on wearing knit dresses through winter.

Great dress - love your choice of colours as always! You look fantastic. As always :)

Sigrid said...

Great dress, the touch with the elastic works well.

BrusselsSprout_Katharine said...

Very fetching style. Have you tried KS 2702 thermal underwear? The knickers are okay in black with black lace trim, and wearing a matching camisole warms one up considerably. Your boots might have room for polarfleece socks too (Jalie).

sewabeginner said...

THe picot elastic is a stroke of genius. Great idea! Your dress is super cute!