Wednesday, September 17, 2014
McCalls 6559 polka dotted fun
Welcome to McCall's 6559.
I first saw this dress on Elizabeth's blog last September and LOVED it. It fits her so well and is just two pattern pieces and no darts. I ordered it immediately and it sat in my stash til my August vacation week. I started it towards the end of my August vacation week and finished it over Labor Day weekend. I have worn it many times already and love it!
The fabric is a great story. Last December I had my great fabric stash reorg, which meant some fabrics were reassigned to the donate pile. I put a plea on my blog asking if anyone wanted to trade fabric with me, and listed my desired fabrics. The only taker I had was Andrea from Needle Nose Apparel. She makes pajamas for greyhounds and could use my rib knit. Among the fabrics, trims and a pattern she sent me was 1 meter of this black with white polka dot ITY knit. I was on the hunt for very small polka dots or pin dotted knit fabric since I used up all the ITY dot fabric I bought with Vanessa in Atlanta in 2012. 1 meter is ~39 inches so that meant the dress is a little shorter than my usual dress length. She also sent me 2 continuous panels of a black ITY knit that has white and gold dots at the bottom of the panel.
I have no other ITY knit in stash and wasn't willing to hack up the other piece she sent me for a muslin, so I used some other stash knit fabric. I started with a 16 (a size larger than my usual size) based on the finished pattern measurements, but wound up sewing with 1" side seams in this stretchy ITY knit.
Because ITY knit is SO drapey, I'm not doing anything about the swayback issues--I wear the dress with a belt and call it a day. In my more stable knit muslin, the swayback pooling is pretty bad and I would have to address it if I ever make this in a more stable knit. (I'm actually pretty tempted to finish off the muslin and wear it for real.)
Lately I have been cutting my knits single layer, which means tracing the pattern onto Swedish tracing paper. I do this for more accurate cutting. Since I bought this pattern twice, I just put each piece together at the fold line, like so:
I didn't want such a low neckline so I redrew the neckline to be higher.
Instead of folding over and stitching down the raw edge as per the instructions, I used the black portion of the other piece of ITY Andrea sent me as neckline and armhole binding. I used Sarah Veblin's neckband tutorial on the Threads website how to figure out how long to cut the binding. Mine actually isn't a band but rather binding--I sewed WS to WS then turned the binding over the raw edge and topstitched down. The raw edge of the binding that is exposed inside was serged before I attached the binding, so it looks fairly clean inside.
I considered using black FOE for the binding but it was very shiny compared to the matte finish of the ITY.
Because ITY is so stretchy, I cut probably around 2" off the folded binding to get the binding to lie flat. The first time I only cut it an inch shorter and it was way too big so the binding was floppy. I bound the armholes first with a wider binding, then decided I liked the narrower binding for the neckline.
For the hem, I followed Maria Denmark's advice about using Emma Seabrooke's SewKeysE knit stay tape with a stretch twin needle for the hem. I also took Emma's hands-on class at the ASE last year. The stay tape prevents tunneling that twin needles make on knits like this. However, it is not a stretchy hem. Overall I find stretch twin needles to work really well on more stable knits like double knits and interlocks, hardly any tunneling at all, but I get tunneling on ITY knit, unless I use the knit stay tape, but then it's not really stretchy. I had to cut this 1" stay tape in half because I was doing a minimal hem.
I stitched up my label by hand.
I must give a huge shoutout to my Elna Press--it is a miracle worker--a side seam was somewhat wrinkly--pressed it using the lowest cotton setting (right on the line between wool and cotton) and it was totally flat. I love you Elna Press, I love you.
I feel I am getting better at making the inside look pretty decent.
Overall I love it and want to make more ITY dresses.
And here is is with a cardi for seasonal transition.