Thursday, March 20, 2014

First Spring Frock!

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Hey y'all, it's SPRING!

Today is the first day, and I'm celebrating with my first warm-weather dress! Well...I wish I were celebrating, but I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this make. Also, it was cold and overcast and not at all spring-like when I took these photos. Someone better get Mother Nature a calendar...

This dress is McCall's 6711, View C.

The fabric is a rayon challis from the red tag section at Jo-Ann's.

I don't often go for florals, but the colors in this one grabbed me. I've also been wanting to try rayon challis. The bolt said "dry clean only" which I would normally avoid, but I tested a swatch and there weren't any changes.

I should start with the good, right? The fabric is lovely. Only moderately annoying to work with, and easy to press. The skirt is very swishy and fun, and the dress is well-made.

AB is shirtless, of course.

You can start to see the biggest problem in this behind photo. So. Much. Volume.

This is a straight size 6 (the smallest size) and I'm swimming in it.

There is gathering along the back yoke, resulting in poofiness.

If you look at the line drawing you can see that the yoke is forward (not directly along the shoulder) and there are more gathers there (in place of darts). Then the skirt is also gathered into an elastic waist. Which leads to the second problem. The waist on the dress does not match my natural waistline. Here it is with a belt on my natural waist:

And closer up you can see that the belt is lower than the casing:

Soooooo by this point, you're thinking what I'm thinking, that if I had made a muslin I'd be in much better shape. You're right. But if I had made a muslin I probably would have abandoned the whole project.

Does it get any better with a jacket? A little bit.

I'm also not crazy about the neckline. The V in the V-neck should be lower. It looks odd, proportionally. Here's the worst part: I wanted this dress to be an Easter dress, so I spent a LOT of time finishing the insides. LazyBeth would have serged everything, but I painstakingly sewed seam binding to finish the raw edges.

I even hand-sewed a blind stitched hem, which I NEVER do (I actually love the result, it basically eliminates the need for easing the skirt hem since there's extra "give" in the stitches).

Side note: when my husband saw me sitting on the couch, sewing a hem by hand, I think he almost blew a gasket. "Didn't you just buy a machine that sews hems?!"

And one last photo to show how HUGE this dress is when you relax the elastic (it's a drawstring). Instead of being a pretty, floaty dress it's a sad hospital gown sack.

A few more negatives about this pattern while I'm on a roll: the instructions were not that good. They were fine, but if followed exactly you'd end up with a bad product. For example, they never suggested understitching and never told you when to finish seam allowances. If you look at the line drawing, there are vertical seams in the center-front bodice and skirt. From what I could tell, there was absolutely no reason for the skirt pieces to be cut in 2 and then have a seam in front. The front bodice is easier to finish around the neckline if it's in two pieces, but it would have been better if it were finished with a facing instead of a stupid narrow hem (thus eliminating the need for the center-front seam).

Overall, I'm just disappointed. I tried to pass it off to my husband and even he was like "uh..." so I know it's not a winner. I'm sure I'll wear it every now and then to church just because I worked so hard on it. I hope to do a little accessories shopping tomorrow and maybe I can find a more suitable belt (meaning: wider) to cinch it all in and make it passable. And of course, looking over these photos it doesn't look that bad. What do you think? Passable spring dress or circus tent?


  1. Argh sorry if this is a dupe comment but I don't think my first one posted...I don't think it looks bad, not at all like a circus tent! It would look really cute with a wide belt and a cropped jacket. I know all too well thought how it is to work so hard on something only to be disappointed in the end. It's a real bummer but a lot of times I find I'm my own worst critic. If you decide you still don't like it after accessorizing you could always turn it into a skirt. It's such a pretty fabric it would be a shame to not ever wear it.

    1. Oooo I hadn't thought about turning it into a skirt! It's definitely do-able. I did buy a wider belt and I think it helps, I'll try to post some photos next week :)

  2. I don't think it is as bad as you think. I often has that super critical eye the first day, then I start to enjoy or at least feel okay. It is worse because you put so much into it. I've been there too often.

    1. Plus, I could have saved myself the aggravation if I had made a muslin! When we I ever learn!


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