Thursday, June 13, 2013

McCall 6069, Knit Cowl Dress

M6069 Thumbnail

More stashbusting!  It had actually been a really long time since I made an easy knit dress.  I had forgotten how quick and instant gratification they are!

I made M6069 for the first time in the turquoise polka-dot border print quite a while ago, in 2010.  I don't *love* that dress.  The double cowl is awkward to wear, and I made it a little too long but hemming it shorter would interfere with the border effect.  When I passed it up again last week, I decided it was time to rotate it out of the closet.  I contemplated my stash and ran across this polka dot knit that seemed the logical replacement.

I have a love/hate relationship with black and white.  I love the way it looks on other people, and any time I see someone in a really great black and white print dress I want to make one immediately.  But then when I'm getting dressed in the morning, I want to wear a bright color.  The thought of wearing funereal black, even with some white in it, is too much for me, especially right when I wake up (I am not a morning person).  I rarely wear my black and white pieces; I literally never wear all black.

This dress may have broken the spell.  I think the key for me is that the print is black-on-white; the larger proportion of white keeps it bright and fresh.  Prints that are white-on-black, with black the predominant color, feel too somber to me.  Of course, the first time I wore it I met some friends after work for happy hour and to watch one of their husband's band perform.  Of the six of us, five were in black and white.  I'm not kidding.  Two stripes, two polka dots, and one print.  I felt like a noncomformist, just like all my friends.

Silk Front
Silk Back











When I was packing for Portugal last Fall I unexpectedly found myself with time to make one more piece to go in the suitcase.  So I inventoried my packing plan and found that what I needed was a nice dress that would travel well but really sparkle at night and would be suitable for cooler weather.  I was surprised I didn't already have anything that fit the bill, but my knit dresses are generally pretty casual and my dressy dresses don't pack well.

This pattern came to mind, and I had some luscious silk jersey from Michael's Fabrics.  I used my TNT t shirt pattern to draft a plain back and made it up.  It came out gorgeous!  (If I do say so myself.)  The luxurious fabric, the saturated colors, the flattering shape.  When I finished it, I thought, "This casual elegance is exactly what I want for my entire wardrobe."   I don't know that I've managed to effectuate that thought, but I still love the dress.

Back Neckline Finish

Details on that dress are using the serger to attach clear elastic to the wrong side of the back neckline and then turning under and twin-needling for a neat finish, and cuffs on the sleeves (only because I didn't have enough fabric to cut the sleeves the length I wanted so I had to add scrap cuffs!).

When I drafted the back for the silk jersey version, I somehow made it an inch too short at the waistline.  WTF?  So I had to shorten the front to match.  This turned out to be a fortuitous error, as the dress is much more flattering on me with the waistline raised by an inch.  The sloppy waistline location is part of what I didn't like about the turquoise version.  So I retained that for this version.

Since I'd already drafted the back, it was really easy to make the latest iteration.  I finished in under four hours, and the only trouble I had was the shoulder length of the front and the back not matching up.  I was annoyed with myself for doing such a poor job of drafting the back piece.  Well, when I pulled the turquoise version off the hanger to put it in the giveaway pile I remembered that I was supposed to put some pleats in the front shoulder to take up that extra width.  D'oh!  The cowl lays fine without them, luckily.

Extended Cowl Facing

My secret for cowl necks is to extend the self-facing as long as you have fabric for. My ideal preference is for the facing to extend all the way below the armscye, but that takes up a huge amount of fabric and I didn't have enough here (and it would have required drafting the facing piece).  Here you can see how much fabric I added to this project.  I also caught the cowl facing into the armscye for an inch or two so it would stay folded toward the front.  As a result, the cowl stays firmly in place in wearing.  There is no chance of all of that fabric flipping to the outside. 

I used the flutter sleeve from Burda 03-2008-113 for a little shoulder coverage from the sun without any added heat retention.  To make it really easy, I didn't hem the sleeve.  This jersey is lightweight without much body, and the thought of trying to wrestle a hem onto the circular curve was too much.  The lower hem was easy, though, as it is on the crossgrain and I used a line of dots as a guide to get it perfectly straight for my twin-needle hem.

Badge Loop

I added a badge hanging loop to the waistline.  I am so into this right now!

B/W Side
B/W Back

The downside of the black-on-white print is that the fabric is slightly sheer.  I lined the skirt part only with tricot from Golden D'Or in Dallas.  The front bodice is essentially self-lined with the long cowl and with a flesh-tone bra the back bodice doesn't show anything.




This isn't super-old stash, but it's been lurking around for 3 years.  I got it from Fabric.com in May 2010.  In all, I used 1 3/4 yard black and white polka dot and a little over half yard (0.58 yard) of the tricot.

I'm so happy with this little dress!  I don't think it will get passed over like its predecessor, and I already know the style travels well.  I just need someplace exotic to take it...

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

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Dangit!  Missing Fabric at Side Seam

I used up all the full length yardage, which is the criterion for the stash contest (as I understand it).  But I had enough scraps left for 2 pairs of panties.  Or so I thought, until I looked at the bottom layer front piece.  You can see at left that there was a big divot in one of the side seams.  Curses!

I contemplated for a moment.  The missing part was too large to absorb into the 1/4" seam allowance of my perfectly fitted custom pattern.  Time for a random lace insertion!

Stitch on Lace Insertion








I put the scalloped side of some stretch lace over the side with the jagged seam line, extending about 1/2 inch beyond the missing fabric.  I zigzagged over the scallops, and then trimmed away the polka dotted fabric underneath.

Trim off Lace Insertion







Next, I laid the pattern back over the piece and trimmed away the lace, leaving a perfectly shaped piece of fabric.  I constructed the panties as usual.

After all that, I truly did have only scraps remaining.  Well, scraps, a cute dress, and two new pairs for the drawer. The only downside of these is that it amuses me greatly to wear unmentionables I've made out of leftover fabric with the dress they match, but I'm afraid these will show through the skirt, despite my tricot lining. So I have to wear them with unmatching clothes. *sigh*

Unmentionables from Scraps


33 comments:

Judith Stansky said...

Your dress makes me smile; nothing at all funereal about it, and I like the colored sandals, too. Your sewing skill is so inspiring, but I have to clean today (I think.)

Little Hunting Creek said...

That dress is bvery flattering on you, nd I love your badge hanging loop - how handy that would have been when I worked in DC!
Ilike your random lace insertion attitiude. That would also be a great idea for a tshirt.

LinB said...

Hurray for random lace insertion! I trust you'll get a great deal of wear out of this dear little dress, this summer.

Norma said...

I love your comment about matching underwear! I try to do the same when possible.

Sandy said...

Love the dress. I don't think you have to have used up the full length of fabric, just count what you did use. But then of course, you wouldn't have made some cute lacy panties!
Sandy in the UK

Kelly said...

This dress is lovely! I especially like it with all your aqua accessories.

aleah said...

I love this print! I'm very partial to black and white prints, though (like all your friends, I guess), so I'm glad you've come around a little :)
Thanks for the tip about extending the cowl facing - that's a great idea, and so easy. I'll definitely do that next time I make a cowl!

countrygirlcouture said...

I love this fabric, it made such a fabulous dress!! And you can easily make a brightly colored sash to wear instead of the black one, if the color scheme becomes too somber. :-)

And YAY for new panties!! I need to make up some new ones too, I've decided I don't love the ones made out of various types of poly nearly as much as the ones made of rayon.

Mikhaela Reid said...

I love bright colors too but I feel like there is something "bright" about a bold black & white polka dot or stripe. This dress is fantastic and so are the cute panties. I like your cowl tip, too!

Kathy said...

Love your various version of this! I'm a big fan of this easy pattern as I've made it three times last year... and have been wearing them constantly with warmer weather. They are a great alternative for me as I'm not a t-shirt and shorts or yoga pants wearin' kinda stay-at-home momma. And yes, this is a fab travel dress!

Joy said...

Lovely cowl dresses (and matching undies!). I don't wear black and white probably due to some intuitive sense of it not working with my coloring. But somehow, the print pattern of your black and white dress has a cheery effect. It's more uplifting than stark.

Adelaide B said...

I also have no black and white in my closet. (Or black. Or plain white. Partly that is because I am rebuilding my wardrobe, but partly because I crave color in grey Seattle.) I really like this dress though. I might have to dig out my one piece of black and white fabric after I finish all the linen clothes I have lined up.

Ripple Dandelion said...

Even though I see your point about black and white not being "colorful", it makes your colored accessories seem more vibrant, so your overall effect is in fact very colorful. For myself, I worry that the high contrast of the black and white overwhelms me somewhat. Maybe, as a fellow redhead, that might account for some of your aversion too. We are fairly low contrast in our coloring, so a graphic print seems that much more...graphic.

All that aside, I really like this look on you. It's great to mix it up a bit. Keep 'em guessing!

BeckyMc said...

I love this black and white dress. I made M6069 as a swim cover up but the back was just too low for a regular dress, my bra strap showed. I love how you've morphed it with your TNT tee. And the flutter sleeve is perfect. I want to make one of these, stat!

little betty said...

This dress looks awesome - with just the right amount of volume in the cowl. You should make 10 of them in different colours!

Vicki said...

Lovely dress and undies to match!! your red silk version is pretty darn hot too.

Justine of SewCountryChick said...

The fit is perfect! Love the panties too!

a little sewing said...

Your black and white dress is a winner - it's funny what a big difference is made by little details, such as the length. What a bummer about the border print on the blue dress!
I really like the idea for a badge loop, and I will steal that. thumbs up.

yoshimi said...

This is such a lovely dress and you look very pretty in it! Great job!

Summer Flies said...

I love this dress. You look fantastic in it (and I want one!) and very clever with the undies!

Faye Lewis said...

Great job Trina the fit is perfect!

Amanda S. said...

Ooh, this dress is super cute and flattering! LOVE the fabric and the fit is perfect.

Elise Lin said...

This black on white looks so good on you, especially with your accessories! I hope you get a lot of wear from it, you're looking great.

Sigrid said...

Really pretty dress. The white is prominent, so I do hope you will wear it often. The black certainly isn't too much.

Clio said...

Great dress! Best version yet! At least with b&w you can really go all out with fun colored accessories.

PS-Yay stash busting!

Maureen O'Danu said...

I love the way you took the black and white dotted fabric and 'colored it up' with accessories. You look lovely, and the dress is beautiful. Also the panties, and that is on my 'to learn' list, as well.

crystalpleats said...

Love your dress. It looks great on you.

emadethis said...

So cute! I think cowls are 100% you--I don't know if it's that they reflect your face shape, but every single one looks fantastic on you.

Congratulations on the 2nd place in natural fibers too. I was glad to lend you my vote--that dress is a great example of fresh modern style with vintage leanings.

Linda said...

I like the black on white dress and the cute underwear. You really made the most of that fabric.

McVal said...

lol! I never thought to make unmentionables out of leftovers! I might have to try that...
And of the three dresses, I have to say I love the black and white one the best! Cute.

HeathersSphere said...

Such a very attractive dress! You look stunning in any print!

AllisonC said...

Shows what a great pattern this is, all three versions look fantastic and I'm sure most people wouldn't recognise it as the same base pattern. Shame you can't wear the matching knickers at the same time, it's a fun idea!

Lisette M said...

I like every version you made!