Tuesday, August 23, 2011

McCall 6363, Mock Wrap-ish Knit Dress (Self-Drafted)

M6363 Thumbnail

I first became aware of McCall 6363 when Debbie Cook did a series of posts on it. You all know how I love a knit dress, and a knit dress with interest and tummy disguise? Fuggedaboutit. I had to have it. When I went looking for the pattern I realized why I'd never seen it before, as it is available only in plus sizes.

Debbie's ultimate conclusion on the pattern was "Don't buy it," so perhaps it is lucky it only comes in plus and I had to draft my own. I bought the pattern to study the pieces and use the instructions.

Pattern Drafting

To draft this pattern, you start with a basic t-shirt dress. I used Burda 01-2009-106. Can I tell you how nice it was to trace a pattern that already came in size 34 and didn't have to be graded, and is on the old, less dense pattern pieces? It was sooooo easy. I raised and slightly widened the neckline, but otherwise used it as is.

The back is used as is. All I did was alter it for swayback.

For the front pattern piece, I first doubled it so I had a full size piece (the front is cut single layer).

Next, I marked the waistline all the way across the piece and cut from the left side almost all the way over to the right, leaving a little hinge in the seam allowance. If I were to do this again, I would split it 1" or 1.5" above the marked waistline. I found that having the growth right at the waistline means that the weight of it falls below the waist, so I lose a little bit of waist definition.

I spread the bodice up almost to 90 degrees (in examining the M6363 pattern piece I extended the grainline full length and then created a horizontal grainline to determine the angle at which their bodice is tilted) and then filled that in with a diamond of tissue, rounding the extending edge.

The front grainline runs down CF of the skirt, and the bodice bends over to be almost on crossgrain. I was surprised by how little fabric this took (my fabric was 60 wide, though). I had only 1 5/8 yard, but the front and back fit together along the width of the fabric so I only needed the length of the dress, a little more than a yard. I have plenty left for making panties.

My pattern piece is not shaped entirely like the McCall's. On theirs, the right side (without the tissue extension) runs straight down from the armscye, while mine is sharply angled. I think they did not split the pattern all the way to the side seam, but stopped short of it and added the extension to 2/3 of the bodice rather than the entire bodice (a possible alternative I discuss in my video).

Debbie Cook observed (and I confirmed) that the front neckline and shoulders on M6363 are not symmetrical. She thought that might be necessary to compensate for the differences in grainline and volume. Mine is symmetrical and I have no trouble with the way it sits--but keep in mind that I am flat-chested, which makes things easier fitting-wise (in this instance, at any rate).

Once the pattern is created, it is very simple to cut out and sew. The dress is just four pieces, a front, back, and two ties. I cut my ties 6 inches wide and about 25 inches long.

The Growth To construct, you first create "the growth." It is my guess that the drafter of the McCall pattern was influenced by Japanese design. The idea of adding a growth seems similar to some of the pieces in Drape Drape 2, as well as what I've seen of Pattern Magic (never seen the book in person, just on blogs).

Anyway, you first hem the tip of the growth to create an opening. The sew together along the edges until you get to the waistline (i.e., the end of the tissue extension and back on the original pattern).

Front Closeup

Next you place your ties and sew the side seams. This is where I found McCall's directions confusing. In the McCall version, both ties are sewn to the right side, a fact that they do not actually come out and say. The growth radiates from the left side and then is pulled across the body to the right. One tie is sewn to the outside of the dress, and the other to the inside. The inside tie is pulled through the hem on the growth. I did mine differently, with the outside tie sewn into the left side, the side from which the growth radiates. It is pulled across the back. The inside tie is sewn to the right side, the side to which the growth will be pulled. This closeup shows the draping.

I found it hard to take photos and explain how this works, so I used my new favorite blogging toy and made another video:


Twin Needle Finish To finish the neckline and armscye I used a twin needle. For the neckline, I used clear elastic slightly shorter than the length of the neckline to ensure that it stayed snug. I have never made my base pattern, Burda 01-2009-106, as drafted. A Burda size 34 is usually perfect for me at the shoulders and bust and #106 is meant to be close fitting, but I found this somewhat large. I'm not sure if it's all the result of my added tissue or not.

Blind Hem The hem on the M6363 pattern is straight and I used the same on mine. I think that is the right call, though the hem drapes a little weird at the front. Tweaking the depth of the hem didn't seem to correct it, so I think it's just a function of the extra fabric. I did not want to call attention to the not-perfectly-parallel-to-the-ground hem by using a double line of straight thread, so I used a machine blind hem. It came out truly invisible in this fairly substantial poly knit.

It would be fun to experiment more with this pattern. As mentioned in the video, I would like to see if there's a way to make the growth work if drafted smaller and pulled the other direction (pulled left instead of right). As I was playing with it, I realized the design principle is somewhat similar to the Vogue 2064 Donna Karan top and dress I made several years ago, only without the wrap skirt.

M6363 Back I didn't know exactly what to expect when I had this all put together, but I was pleasantly surprised! I love the casual-chic vibe this dress gives off, and the slightly bloused front is right on trend.

I made this as a muslin for my Very Special Silk Jersey that I am determined to sew after 3 years, but unfortunately it came out more trendy than I thought. I don't know how long that blousing will be in style, so it's out of the running for the Very Special Fabric. I definitely plan to make another for Fall/Winter, though. Maybe my chain link fabric, to play with the stripes? The snakeskin pattern on the fabric for this dress is vertical, and I love the way the vertical design gets modified by the front pattern piece.

This was a totally fun project, and I promise you that anyone with a t-shirt dress pattern can make this happen. I urge you to give it a try!

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

42 comments:

KID, MD said...

This is completely amazing!! I love everything about it. The drape and ties are chic, the fit is great and that fabric is perfect.

Meetzorp said...

That is completely cute!

I had a sundress kind of like that once. I love mock-wraps because you get the cute wraparound style, but you don't have to worry about the tie slipping and your dress flying open (a problem for us in windy parts of the country!)

I agree with Kid, MD. That fabric is fab. I love animal/python prints and all that wild stuff.

Debbie Cook said...

The Growth. Hahahaha - that cracks me up. Yours turned out great!! I've been wanting to revisit this pattern and do pretty much what you did, so I can fix the asymmetry wonkiness in the McCall's but I haven't moved it up the list yet. I love my final dress, drafting warts and all, and wear it a lot. And I'm not flat-chested and after wearing mine, I'm pretty certain that a regular "tank" for the top section, instead of whatever McCall's did, would be just fine. It doesn't really pull from the shoulders, so I don't think any shaping compensation is needed there.

Anonymous said...

You rock girl! You look fantastic in that snake print and very stilish with the sandals and necklace - love love love it! xoxo Carina

Lori said...

Incredible dress.

Adelaide B said...

This is awesome. You've been doing a lot of patternmaking lately. Good to see! (Although, I swear I remember you saying that it was something you didn't think you could do. Ha! You've been making some awesome stuff!)

Van said...

When I saw the dress, I literally went "Wooooooow!" Great job! You look uber sexy.

Mary said...

This is such a sophisticated style on you-wonderful colors for you, nice print, great fit. You look totally gorgeous.

Isabelle said...

What a fun video! The dress is fun, and you look particularly stunning in these pictures/video.

KellysSewing said...

I love your blog. You have such great ideas and explain them very well. I use your site as a technical reference. Thanks for sharing!

ELMO said...

I'll have to come back and read through this more carefully but the dress is beautiful, great job!

Clio said...

Wow, you are really on fire with the design changes to patterns these days. Great dress! Oh, and I like the video tutorials!

Uta said...

Gorgeous! I also love the photos and your hairstyle.

Jane M said...

Fantastic! Pattern design and video tutorials, the artsy and the techy, love it. Your dress looks wonderful and I know you've inspired many of us to give this a try.

liza jane said...

Great dress! I love the tie detail. I've never seen anything like it.

orange dream said...

Lovely! Love the way you styled it, and looks great with your hair. If you wore it with black ankle boots, it would be so sexy as well :)

Sew-4-Fun said...

Fab dress and great video! It was really helpful to see in the dress in action. It gave me a better appreciation of how this dress is constructed (and worn) which I didn't otherwise "get" never having seen this pattern.

Big in Japan said...

Smashing! I love this dress and it's an amazing look on you. It is cool how the tilt of the pattern top changes the flow of the fabric print. Dig the new background too!

AllisonC said...

I'm going to go back and study your instructions in detail, but I just had to comment right away and say how much I love your dress, it's simply gorgeous and the print / colours look so good on you.

kathy said...

pretty

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

This is fantastic! You ended up with a fabulous looking dress.

Lynn Mally said...

Wow--this gives you a whole new look--from nice to sultry! Your hair cut is amazing. Excellent instructions. It almost makes me want to wear a dress!

Mrs. Micawber said...

Awesome! (Great sandals and necklace too.) You have a gleam in your eye ... I'm guessing you feel really good in this dress. Fantastic job on the drafting and fit.

Ingrid said...

I love this! I think this is the most beautiful dress you've ever made. Looks fantastic on you!!!

Noile said...

You're on a roll with these cute little dresses; love the sweet dress/reptilian combo here!

Rose said...

very cool! hank you for the video--it was very helpful. Great dress!
and I love the fabric!

Rose

Sue said...

Fab dress - great work on getting the construction sorted. I like this fabric on you. The brights you wear are great but it also really suits you to wear colours like this sometimes.

MySummerTouch said...

I really love this dress too!! I actually wanted to ask you if Burda magazine's patterns fit you right in width? I mean I need to adjust the back ( I take the smaller size for the back then for the front and adjust the arms and shoulders) - do you have the same issues?

McVal said...

hilarious you call it a growth! That looks great! I was really wondering what you were going to do with the inside belt... Very clever!

marysews said...

You are seriously rocking that dress! Woo-Hoo!

emadethis said...

Fantastic! I love how casual and yet polished this is. It's just the right amount of everything. I too chuckle over the term 'growth.'

gwensews said...

Great job! Your dress looks terrific.

loopylulu said...

This is the best leopard print I have seen in a long long time. I have never heard of a growth before so that was interesting and the videos are cute additions to the text :)

kbenco said...

This looks really good on you. Thank you so much for the video. I was intruiged by this dress when Debbie made it, and am so pleased to see your drafting adventure, which I must admit I did not understand very well until you showed the wrap in action.
I like your haircut, very sharp.

MushyWear said...

Trena, this post is awesome! First of all the dress is absolutely fabulous and looks smashing on you. Second of all, I loved hearing your voice in the video. Thanks for taking the time to put this together. PS: Have a great birthday weekend! Glad you are headed inland from what I am reading about the storm.

Andrea said...

Trena Happy Birthday weekend. I hope you have a great weekend. Try to stay dry. I know I am going to try to.

Your dress and fabric are amazing and I love the video.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for this post. You've given an excuse to rush out and buy a blue/grey snakeskin print. Sounds so simple, I'm really looking forward to trying this.
Mary in Thailand

Victoria said...

What a BEAUTIFUL dress!!! So sexy!!! You are really rocking this number. BTW, hope you're having a great b-day weekend!!!

Anonymous said...

I have been reading your blog for ages without a word but I just have to comment on this one - fantastic! Thanks so much for the detailed instructions and video, you make this dress look so simple to make I may just have to try it out.
Debbie B

Doris said...

That is really beautiful!

Jenni said...

You are amazing! I am so envious of you because this is way outside of my capabilities. I just started sewing last summer, and I've made some simple dresses for my little girls -- but to adapt a pattern like this???? YOU ROCK!!!

Dilly said...

Hello Trena, I don't know how much you read comments on old posts, but I thought I'd let you know that I was inspired by your version of this dress to draft my own! I did it slightly differently, so I thought you might in interested - my posts are here and here.