Thursday, March 12, 2015

Fitting McCall's M6612

I’ve been working sporadically on McCall’s M6612 for over a year now, and it’s still not right, but I think I’m making progress. I have two muslins of two different views of the dress, and I actually wore one of them. I’ll never wear the other. Here we go…

I first started working on View A, and made a couple of initial muslins. Many thanks to Andrea of Satin Bird Designs for her advice on alterations, which got me to my third and most productive muslin. I'm just going to focus on that one.

I cut a size 14 and did a cheater FBA by moving the armscye up 2” and adding ½” of ease at the side seam. I made the corresponding changes to the cowl, which folds and down and lines up perfectly with the armscye and the top couple of inches on the side seam. I think this adjustment ruined the cowl. Also, I don’t really know how to adjust the sleeve cap to fit an armscye adjustment, so I just gathered the top of the sleeve so it would fit. I have to learn how to actually make that alteration. The gathering made the sleeve too tight on the top of my shoulder, which I guess doesn’t matter since I’m never going to wear this dress.

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 There are two major major fit issues with this dress. First, the cowl is way too big now and doesn’t feel secure. I also hate the way it drapes. I think this might be a combination of the alteration and my fabric choice. I think I need to choose a fabric that has a little bit heavier drape and is maybe just a little bit slinky. The other major major horrible issue is that the self-facing of the cowl lands right at my bustline and is visible through the dress and feels awkward and uncomfortable. I think I need to lengthen it and maybe put some elastic in it to make it a shelf bra. That thing needs to stay put, for real. 

I guess a third major fit issue would be that overall, it's too big. Totally fixable. 

Ugh, why does this cowl suck so much?

On to my next version of M6612…

We (ecology and evolution grad students and faculty) have a fancy party every December before the holidays. We call it the wine party, and we wear our fanciest and bring the cheapest bottle of wine we can find (more or less). I wanted something new to wear. I still had this bridesmaid dress in my closet from a dear friend’s wedding a few years ago, and I had worn it to the wine party once, but I didn’t really want to wear it again. (I also couldn’t wear it again because it wouldn’t zip anymore.) 

Unfortunately I don't have a good picture of myself wearing this dress, though I know there are some good ones from my friend Katharine's wedding.

Refashion time!

I cut View C in size 14, and did a cheater FBA by adding ease to the side seams by the bust. I used the sleeve pattern from View A and shortened the sleeves to elbow length due to fabric limitations. I also raised the hem as much as I felt comfortable, scooped out the front neckline a little bit lower, and scooped out the back neckline a lot lower (it was for a fancy party after all). I wanted to use the gorgeous satin as accents, so I trimmed the sleeves with it and made ties to go across my shoulder blades to give me some security that the dress wouldn’t slip over and expose my bra straps.

My issues with this dress mostly have to do with sewing quality. First, this material doesn’t hold a press at all. Not even for a moment. Second, the fabric slipped all over the place. Constantly. Third, satin frays like it was born to fray, and being pretty and shiny is just icing on a weird frayed cake. Combine all these things and the dress looks like a mess, but I wore it anyway. There are some minor fit issues that I won’t be able to change at this point, but the fabric has really great recovery so I can redo the sewing with my new walking foot, and I think I will want to wear it again and feel pretty good about it. I also don’t like the width of the satin trim on the sleeves. Those are coming off and I don’t know what I’ll do in their place. Don't worry, I'll figure it out.

Did you notice my sparky shoes? I glittered some BCBG nude pumps that I bought at Goodwill. I got the idea from this tutorial over at Merrick’s Art. I wanted to go for a rose gold effect, so I mixed some pink glitter into some gold glitter until it was the color that I wanted. I should have gone for the finer glitter but the pink wasn’t quite right. They were fun.

Now for fit issues in common between View A and View C.

I think I need some more fabric on the top of the shoulder. I thought that this was a problem because of my alterations to the cowl in View A, but I have the same problem with View C. It might be hard to see in the photos, but in both of these dresses I feel like my bra straps will be exposed at any second.

I need to start experimenting with swayback adjustments, which I learned recently with some other unblogged garments, and from reaching out to the Florida Fashion Sewists Facebook group. You can't really see the excess fabric at the small of my back in the purple dress, and the green dress is too big overall, so you might just have to take my word for it

Do you notice anything else?

Although you could argue that I should have made some more muslins before cutting into my sage knit and my bridesmaid dress, I think it worked out kind of well to make two versions of the same dress, because it allowed me to see what fit issues were caused by my alterations and what fit issues are just due to the way the pattern fits my body. Perhaps I’m on my way to learning what my “usual” alterations will be.

I’d really like to work out the fit issues with View A, because I think it would actually make a great top and I could use some more of those. For a top, I might actually make the self facing go the whole way to the bottom hem. Thoughts?