Blue Crush: McCall’s 6754

You know those moments in sewing when you come across a pattern that you just know is going to be a winner? I love those moments.

McCall’s 6754 came out a while ago, but has been in my mind for a while. Enter a pattern sale and some lovely versions from Sewn by Ashley on Instagram and her blog. I also found an amazing striped version by Bobbins and Whimsy that I need in my life. Not to mention the countless other gorgeous versions out there.

Let’s just say the pattern went to the top of my list pretty quickly. I’ve also been feeling like I haven’t found my perfect knit dress pattern. I sewed a lot of Colette Monetas last year, but none of them have really been permanent fixtures in my wardrobe, except for maybe the gold spandex one, which I wear often on nights out. My issue with the dress is the clear elastic. After wearing it for a bit, I find the elastic irritating. It’s fine for a night out to see a show or dance in, but not for a full day sadly. I’ve thought of using different elastic for it, but overall I’ve realized I am just not a fan of the dress. Last year, it served as my gateway drug back into sewing, but this year my skills are better and I realize how many fit issues I have with that pattern. The neckline never quite fit me right and the armholes bunched at the top of the bust. I’ve also sewn the Colette Myrtle and the Bluegingerdoll Violet dress. Neither of them are my perfect knit dress. I like both of them and wear my versions often, but I haven’t had a desire to sew a bunch more of them. Although, Mary’s recent Myrtle dresses make me want more! I have to go hunting for a lovely drapey rayon knit similar to my recent comfy womfy dress.

My favourite styles of knit dresses are always ones with two things: princess seams and circle skirts.

I own/owned a bunch of Modcloth dresses like this:

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I have it in a mint and coral colourway. I used to have it in purple, but sadly I did the typical Andie thing and stained it horribly. There are raglan sleeves there, princess seams, and the skirt is a circle skirt. It’s perfect. I am not a fan of the waistband, though. I have belts for that.

The only thing is that I don’t wear them that often to work, because that v dips quite low.If I wear them to work, I usually button up a cardigan and toss on a scarf to keep the cleavage under wraps.

Outside of work, I could not care less. Cleavage is a wonderful thing!

M6754 was destined to be a favourite knit pattern. In view D, the dress has raglan sleeves, princess seams, and a circle skirt. In view B, the dress has no sleeve, bust darts, and a circle skirt. Both view B and D for the dress have a great shape to them and are perfect for what I wanted in a knit dress. The pattern also calls for elastic at the waist. I am not entirely sure that I will make view A or C, the peplum tops, but you never know.

My main issue with Big 4 knit patterns, however, is the amount of ease in them. I haven’t come across one that uses negative ease yet. Size down. Waaaay down.

I have a muslin of view D in the works, like I had planned out, but I set it aside for the moment due to fit issues and chose to make view B instead. Lately, I haven’t been able to stick to my plans. It’s completely outside my norm. I usually sew according to a plan and occasionally sew outside of that with pattern testing or other things that come around. Overall, though, the plan is what guides me. Not lately. I’ve decided to not really plan out my fall sewing because of that. I will be taking part in FESA again this year, but I will categorize my sewing projects as I go (this being a fabulous frock!) and won’t be doing a planning post. I still find it useful to do an end of season round up.

View B turned out lovely. The dress is a really fast sew and goes together well. I made the size XL. My measurements are pretty far outside what this size calls for. XL bust ranges from 42-44 inches, but my bust is 50 inches. You’ll have to do a bit of thinking when choosing your size. I chose my size based on my high bust measurement and the fact that view D in XXL ended up pretty large.

The fabric for the dress is a polyester quilted knit. It’s a heavier weight fabric and great for the transition weather we are going through. Some days it’s fall weather here and other days it’s summer weather. I chose to make the sleeveless version because of the unpredictable weather. I sewed the whole thing on my serger except for topstitching the bands, which was done on my machine. I finished the hem by serging it.

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The pattern doesn’t call for bands for the neck or arms, but it’s my preference to have these rather than not. Unfortunately, the fabric doesn’t really have great recovery and the bands got stretched out from sewing them, ripping them out, shortening them, and then sewing them again. I’m just not willing to rip them out again. They mostly sit flat except at the back and a little at the front above my cleavage. Oh well!

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Here are the insides. They look pretty good. For my next version, I will need to raise the neckline and do a narrow shoulder adjustment. I had to get rid of a couple of inches from the top of the shoulder. The straps fall down and that means I will have to do some other adjustments.

Enough about the pattern, here are pictures! One features my recent Jenna Cardi in white.

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TL:DR Review

  • Pattern: M6754
  • Pros: Super fast pattern. Great shape and style.
  • Cons: Runs really large. No negative ease whatsoever! Size down significantly. Star lost for this reason only.
  • Make again?: Definitely. Possibly make far too many!
  • Rating: pink-star-black-md pink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdpink-star-black-mdwhite-star-black-md4/5 stars

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Burda Faux Wrap Tunic Dress

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Fittingly, I found the Burda Faux Wrap Dress through a link on the Curvy Sewing Collective’s facebook page. And I sewed it up for the CSC Wrapalong and as part of my FESA 2014 sewing plans (a fabulous frock, indeed!)

I’m pleased with the result. In the middle of summer, I would probably see the dress as frumpy and shapeless and find the draping really odd, but in the middle of our Canadian fall with the doom-stricken Game of Thrones-like “Winter is Coming” on the horizon, I am loving the comfort of the dress. It’s like wearing a sweatshirt and still looking stylish with all that draping and the cuff details.

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The look at my pockets stance

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The casual lean against the wall and look cool stance

Sorry for the indoor photos. All it does it rain rain rain and when it doesn’t rain, I am too busy to take pictures so I sucked it up and took pictures in the house. I finished this up last week and figured I should get on posting it.

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Fashion….

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….Turn to the left…. FASHION

I had quite the time with the pattern instructions. You can read about some issues with Burda patterns in CSC’s burda sewing tour wrap-up post. Basically, to sum up, the pattern pieces are marked with numbers and don’t also have what they are written on them (ie. front bodice, back skirt, etc.). A lot of the direction isn’t written on the pattern pieces either. The instructions are also all in text and the instructions for this dress specifically were missing steps.

Burda magazine patterns can be challenging and are definitely not for beginners. One of my first dresses was a burda dress, in fact, but the Kristen dress actually had really nicely detailed instructions, if the pattern itself ran extremely large. Start off by reading through the instructions really well and then read through them again and again and go slowly to make sure you get them.

For the instructions, there were missing steps and not clear steps. Missing was the step to sew the back bodice together. I get that is practical knowledge, but it’s not there at all and that is a huge oversight. Unclear was the draping at the front. Basically, the front skirt is one large piece, where you take the bottom and then fold it in half and pleat and baste the bottom into the waistline, essentially making the fold line the hem. The pattern really stumped me in how that was worded and I ripped the thing out three times before I got the pleating and the folding right. There is also pleating in the centre back, which to be honest made very little design sense to me. I did it, but I think the pleating adds unnecessary bulk to the waistline where it can easily be gathered more. The other part that was unclear was the waistband construction. I chose to use the instructions from Colette’s Myrtle dress instead, except that I fed the elastic into the channel, which was reallllly difficult with all the pleats and fabric bulk in the channel. Anyway, I did it and it came out lovely. The last bit that I just chucked out the window was the waistband ties. The placement of the faux ties didn’t work out for me and so I didn’t add them. I also didn’t do flat felled seams, because again it added a lot of bulk. I used a lightweight jersey, but maybe not light enough for this pattern and all that fabric!

Fitting for this pattern runs super large. I cut a size 52 and added the seam allowances. I am probably more in line with a size 54 + FBA with Burda, but I figured the stretch in the material would make that a non-issue, but I could have cut out a 52 without adding the seam allowance and still had the dress be roomy. If you decide to try this pattern out and don’t size down, I definitely recommend sizing down for the cuffs, because they are humongous and by the end of the day are stretched out and falling down. Do yourself a favour and cut two sizes smaller for the cuffs, because ripping out all of the drawstring channels and drawstrings to size down the cuffs is not something I am willing to do. I do recommend grading up to the larger size for the kimono sleeves, though, if you have bigger arms like me. Mine are fine, but not as puffy as the pattern picture.

I followed Jen’s instructions in the wrapalong for the neckline. Partially because the instructions rock and also because the pattern pieces for the neckline in this pattern are cut into three pieces: left side, neck curve, right side. I tried going with burda’s pattern pieces and then ripped out the whole thing and drafted my own piece.  The neck curve ends up being stupid. It bunches and doesn’t sit right and is just stupid. STUPID. One long continuous band is much much smarter. Draft it slightly shorter than the length of the neck and right and left sides and stretch it a little as you sew. I should have made it shorter and stretched, because it is a faux wrap, but I didn’t. It’s fine, but by the end of the day the neckline stretches out a bit even though my fabric has good recovery and becomes slightly revealing. Hence, the camisole underneath for work. So, I recommend making it two inches shorter and then stretching to fit the bodice and neck. Gillian over at Crafting a Rainbow has an excellent guide on where to stretch for a faux wrap dress neckband.

To sum up:

  • Start by sewing the back together, because the pattern doesn’t mention it!
  • Draft a new neckband (one long piece two to three inches shorter than the length of the right side/neck/left side combined) and follow the CSC tutorial for sewing it like a t-shirt neckband and follow Gillian’s tutorial on where to stretch the neckband to get the perfect faux wrap dress look
  • Size down or leave the seam allowances out, because the pattern runs large (Size 52 is supposed to fit up to a 48 inch bust, but my bust is 52 inches and it is still very roomy)
  • If you decide not to size down, make the cuffs smaller or else you will have them fall all over the place by the end of the day
  • If you have big upper arms, size up the kimono sleeves to get the puffy look
  • Follow the Colette tutorial for installing the waistband
  • Use a lightweight jersey keeping in mind the bulk of the material throughout (the lighter the better without being totally see-through)
  • Fold the bottom of the front skirt up to the waistband and pleat at the waistband
  • Mark paper pattern pieces with what they are (front right, cuff, etc.) and with some instructions, especially for the front folds/pleats

I actually, in spite of all of that, enjoyed sewing this up and love wearing it. It’s a super comfy faux wrap dress and perfect for the impending Canadian winter.

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WINTER IS COMING!!!