I started this dress a little over a year ago, but didn’t manage to finish it before I considered fall over. As much as I love wearing fall colours, it somehow doesn’t feel right to me to do so once December arrives. It may seem silly in a time when most traditional sartorial rules have been thrown out the window, but I also follow the ‘no white after labour day rule’. So, I left off this dress and focused on more wintry sewing. Going through my UFOs a couple of months ago I found this and decided it should be finished.
Here is McCalls 6433
I made view B (the maroon dress) but in the length of view A (the white dress).
I used a rusty brown slightly chunky/tweedy wool fabric accented with the same rust wool twill with which I ended up binding my apron. The main wool fabric had a somewhat loose weave and felt shifty (gotta watch those shifty wools, they can’t be trusted!) so I interfaced the bodice pieces, except for the sleeves, with fusi-knit. If you are unfamiliar with this type of interfacing, it’s a not very stretch knit fusible interfacing that has the pleasant property of adding stability and substance to your fabric without making it stiff. Your fabric stays soft and pliable. I don’t use interfacing often, but when I do I like to use fusi-knit or something like it ;o)
As you can tell in comparing my dress with the pattern envelope image I decided to have a little bit of fun with this design by adding a waistband and binding the edges with the rust coloured wool twill.
Overall this is a nice pattern and I find the dress I made from it quite flattering. I especially like the pleating detail on the one side – it’s actually the main reason why I got the pattern. There are a few….recommendations I would make for it, however.
First off- the neckline turns out to be REALLY low. If you’re good with this and want an excuse to show off some awesome cleavage – go nuts! If not, you may want to check this either with a muslin or tissue fitting. I did neither and as you can see I
had to come up with took the opportunity for an added design feature in the form of the little modesty piece with buttons. The buttons were my friend, Jill’s, idea (this who the other Garrison Ball dress is going to be for, btw, so you’ll be “meeting” her in the near future). Fortunately I happened to have just the right ones in the stash!
The other area of caution is the skirt pleats. I recommend marking them the whole way down the skirt. I didn’t, and it became impossible for me to get my pleats straight and even down the length of the skirt. They don’t really look too bad as is, but I would certainly have preferred them to be closer to perfect.
Oh, and the sleeves are a bit of a funny shape on this one and I had to make them a little wider at the bottom so they would fit ok. Ummmm…..oh yes, and those pleats on the bodice front from the shoulder didn’t really add much to the dress. I don’t know if it was me, or my fabric or the actual drafting, but they’re just….meh.
I did another hand-picked zipper for this dress, because I like doing those in wool fabrics for some reason and I go through phases with zippers. Sometimes I’m in a lapped zipper mood, sometimes a hand-picked zipper mood, occasionally an exposed or invisible zip mood! Too bad this isn’t one of my better hand-picked zipper applications. I wonder if stitching closer to the teeth would help – along with a good steam press each time before I wear the dress!
I lined the bodice with a scrap of dark brown china/habotai silk I had leftover from something else. The lower edge of the lining is bound with seam binding in a sort of Hong Kong type finish. I also used some of the seam binding to finish the edges of the modesty piece I added – which is hand-sewn into the neckline.
As you can see I left the skirt unlined. I’m doing this more and more often these days. A year or so ago I made myself a slip from bemberg rayon and have found it works very well under most of my skirts and dresses. I’m finding leaving skirts unlined saves significant amounts of time and resources, and I’m not losing anything by omitting it!
I was certainly happy to be able to leave off lining this skirt, since the pattern didn’t come with any skirt lining pieces (it’s apparently not meant to be lined) and didn’t feel like drafting one!
The skirt side seams are also finished with seam binding, Hong Kong style. It may look as though I’ve left the back skirt seam allowances raw, but that’s actually my trusty/bad habit of using the selvedge for straight edges wherever I can.
So, all told I’m happy with this dress. It’s fairly comfortable, I love the colours, it has some visual interest, it’s a good weight for fall and it made me feel pretty great to finish up a UFO!