Saturday, February 2, 2013

McCalls 5621- Not the simple project I hoped for

I needed a break from the vintage brocade dress and wanted some instant gratification so I pulled out my old copy of McCall's 5621 which is now OOP

I made this quite a few years ago in a lightweight eggplant linen with stitching detail on the yoke.  I loved it so much that I actually altered it to fit me now, because I have lost quite a bit of weight since its original creation.  The smallest size in my envelope was a 10, which is my normal bodice size.  I've learned through sewing that I'm actually an inverted triangle and for fitted dresses, usually need a 9 in the waist and a smaller than they make for the hips (maybe a 6) depending on how fitted I want it.  

I wasn't sure what the fit would be like straight from the envelope, so I traced front and back darts in case I needed them for shaping.  I used a silk sari (as this blog progresses, you'll see that this is more the norm than the exception) and underlined with a lightweight khaki poly/cotton broadcloth.  I know some of you are cringing that I used a blend under the silk, but I wanted something to help prevent wrinkling.  

Changes I made:
  • cut the back on the fold to not disrupt my border print and cut on the crosswise grain
  • underlined all the pieces, facings included, since the silk it too thin and lightweight on its own
  • front and back darts for shape
  • people hate facings, but I didn't want stitches on the outside from using bias tape, so I used facings.  Since it's underlined, I can add a few stitches to keep them from crawling out, without catching the fashion fabric
A couple of issues:
I like how they have you insert the yoke pieces by machine (versus turning the edges under by hand and then sewing it on) but really hate all the slip stitching this creates to finish the yoke lining.  I HATE hand stitching.  On my creations you will not find:
  • hand picked zippers
  • hand sewn hems
  • and as little hand work as possible
I often change the assembly process to create an all machine clean finish when possible.  I think its closer to RTW finishes and saves me a lot of hassle.  For sleeveless dresses this is easy, just leave the side seams for last and sew the neckline and armscye fashion fabric to the lining.  Open out the dress and then you can sew the lining and fashion fabric as one continuous seam and not have to bother with all that silly hand work.  Maybe this makes me lazy, but I don't care.  I waited until there were some old Law & Orders on TV (Briscoe and Green are still my favorite) to do all that finicky hand stitching.

Back to the issues of this dress.  It was a giant silk potato sack even with the addition of front darts (the back darts only half count since I eliminated the contoured back seam), and it looked like crap.  The shoulders extend out way too far.  This is sometimes the case on patterns that come with an optional sleeve.  I removed 1/2 inch at the outer edge of the shoulder plus 1/4+ inch all the way around the armscye.  I tapered in the side seams 1/2 inch at the waist and 3/4 of an inch through the length and it still wasn't enough.  I'm starting to hate this thing.

pinned together on my dress form Dolly- looks much better on her

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