September in Tasmania can just as easily be snowing at 400metre altitude as it can be a pleasantly sunny 20degree C day, but I just couldn’t wait any longer. I wanted a nice summer dress, and I wanted to be sewing something BRIGHT and happy. I am basically starting my fashion wardrobe from scratch, and what it really needs is STAPLES in neutral colours, but I have decided that my SEWING needs are different to my WARDROBE needs. I’m going to intersperse the sensible projects with the frivolous projects, little lollies for my sewing soul. Enter McCalls 6700 maxi dress in a pink printed polyester knit.
I was interested to see if this style would suit me, being of a more athletic build (from this point on, athletic means no boobs). It definitely looks great on voluptuous women, but I thought the V-neckline could make this pattern unflattering for me. I’m pretty happy with it, though.
OK, first off, the fabric- this is a polyester knit. Yuck. It was horrible to sew, and being the sewing snob that I am becoming, I really don’t like that this is a synthetic fabric. But I bought it because I really wanted a fabric with a large, irregular print, and this was the best my local fabric shop had to offer. I would have loved to have made something like this version from Sew Wil. I love the size of the printed flowers on her fabric. Or Kim’s from KimSewSilly., with the print running assymetrically on the dress.
This fabric is 2 way stretch (also called 4 way for you northern hemisphere folks), so the most stretch ran with the stripes going vertically, but I decided to cut the skirt with the lines going horizontally because I thought it worked better on my slendericious frame. (I am trying to coin a term for people with slimmer physiques which has the same positive feel as bootylicious. Something for people with no junk in their trunks. Any suggestions? ).
I made an effort to match the stripes at the seams. Some of the stripes curve, and I didn’t have enough fabric to match the curves, so I just matched as much as I could.
matching at the side seams
the fabric isn’t stable enough for the lines along the neckline to sit properly.
I cut the bodice with the stripes going vertically; I thought the greater stretch might be wise for the tighter bodice. I also thought the vertical lines could frame the V neckline. They do, but the knit kind of rolls so that it isn’t very noticeable.
- TIGHT ARMSCYES- No one who reviewed McCalls 6700 mentioned this, but the armscyes (armholes) were AWFULLY HIGH for me. I am guessing this has to do with how developed my lats are (the muscle along the side of the ribs which gives men their V-shape), and this was a good lesson that I must sew for my shape, not my size. I like freedom of movement, and I don’t think polyester and armpits makes for a good combo, so I CUT those babies down. Basically, I unpicked the seamline until the fit was comfortable, then I folded the new seam allowances back to make V shaped armholes.
Check out those armscyes. Much more comfortable.
2. ‘Raised waistline’ (as per the pattern description) always gives me cause for concern. I understand empire lines, and I get dropped waistlines, but a raised waistline is a mystery to me. Maybe it suits women with long torsos? To me, raised waistlines always feel like I’m playing dress-ups in something sizes too small. OR, even worse, it can look like an empire line for someone with very droopy boobs. Maybe it suits women with HIGHER WAISTS?? Hmm…
Anyway, I went along with the style, and I can safely be telling y’all that I will never be wearing this dress without a belt. But seeing as the pattern includes directions for a fabric belt, I guess it isn’t meant to be worn without one anyway. And come to think of it, kimonos are worn with the obi quite high, so maybe that is the style inspiration.
I went with Mimi G‘s styling and skipped the fabric belt for a store-bought belt. (Mimi G rocks. Other sewing folk with a similar body type copy her style with great results. She is one of my sewing inspirations, and If I had a similar body, I’d be copying every outfit she creates.).
- The skirt allows for complete ease of movement; no need for geisha steps in this dress (although I suppose the geisha steps could go with the raised waistline…).
- The pattern only has 4 pieces if you skip the necktie (which I and many others did. The dress stays put fine without it). This is a great quick-fix project.
- The fabulous Goodbye Valentino made her McCalls 6700 with a woven fabric. When I figure out the armscye issue, I will use this pattern for WOVEN fabrics as well as knits, just like Goodbye Valentino. That makes the pattern twice as valuable, in my opinion.
McCalls 6700 is a great quick-fix, and you get a lot of bang for your buck for the time investment. I think it works for a range of body types, and it is very comfortable to wear. I’ve decided that I love maxi dresses and want them to be a summer wardrobe staple. Hurray! My ‘lolly’ project has turned into a ‘meat & 3 veg’.