I originally purchased this blue zebra knit fabric (from Joann Fabric) for another dress, and I originally purchased McCalls 6520 because my daughter was looking for a shirtdress pattern, however when I saw view D and that it was for a knit, something clicked in my head and I changed course. But because I had originally bought the fabric for something else, I barely had enough. The sleeves had to be cut on the crosswise, and I ended up with only about 8 square inches of zebra fabric left. I cut a size 14, adding an inch to the sides starting under the arm, and adding two inches to the length (I'm glad I did because I ended up with a tiny hem).
This pattern was labeled 'Easy.' I'm going to have to disagree with that because I had loads of trouble making it. There was nothing wrong with the pattern, though; the problems were with me. First of all, this knit is very beefy; it feels good and substantial. These good qualities made it more difficult to work with, however. I used fusible tricot interfacing, an 80/12 universal needle from Schmetz, and a short narrow zigzag stitch setting on my machine. Usually this is enough. But the button plackets down the front were impossible to sew because the plackets, being interfaced, had no stretch and yet the dress front, which was not interfaced, had plenty. I was ending up with a several inch differential! After trying a few times and being unhappy with the uneven results, I unpicked the placket stitches and put my walking foot attachment on my machine. That worked soooo much better. (By the way, that's the first time I have successfully used my walking foot:) In addition, I also used my knit stay tape down the front of the dress to stabilize where the plackets were attached. Finally everything went on evenly, without stretching out.
Next, I misunderstood the collar directions. You are only supposed to interface one of the pieces of the collar band; I interfaced both. I thought it wouldn't make any difference, but it did. When it came time to sew the band to the neckline of the dress, I could NOT get it to fit because there needed to be some stretch in the band and there wasn't any (again due to the interfacing). I had to painstakingly unpick the collar, recut that one piece of the collar band, resew the collar band, THEN sew it to the neckline. Thankfully, the collar went on just right that time.
Tissue-fitting made me fearful the sleeves would be too tight in the biceps, so I did a full bicep adjustment (as per here on The Slapdash Sewist) on the sleeves before I cut them out. I also added two inches to the sleeve length, which turned out to be unnecessary. I tried to make it work, but the too-long sleeves just did not look right. However, shortening the sleeves was not straightforward because they were designed for cuffs. I actually had to cut the cuffs off (with great trepidation) and resew them further up the sleeve -- and they are still a little bit long! (Moral: despite the pattern instructions, do not finish the bottoms of sleeves until they are sewn into the bodice and you can try them on. This includes attaching cuffs.)
Then, tragedy almost struck. Right in the front, I found a place where I had inadvertently snipped a hole in the fabric with my scissors!!! AARRGGHH!! Let me just say I'm thankful this was a busy print. After taking a deep calming breath, I sewed the hole closed, reinforcing it from behind with a tiny scrap of fabric. See? Barely noticeable (I hope). Another crisis averted.
|A view of the patch on the underside|
|The repair is on your right, but I don't think you will be able to see it|
Despite all the setbacks, I do love this dress and am glad I persevered. It is super comfortable and I've already worn it bunches. All the problems were good learning experiences. I had never sewn a collar with a collar stand before, never done a bicep adjustment, never used my walking foot or buttonholer attachment. The next time all these things "should" be easier.
The pattern for the next dress I want to make also has the designation of 'Easy.' That's making me a little nervous.....