This dress took me a year to finish.
Last year, I was shopping with two friends for fabric and splurged on a lovely apple fabric. It was a super soft stretch sateen. I’m not sure of the fiber content, but I would guess cotton. What I adored about the fabric was that the apples were all super bright colours on a white background and included a turquoise apple along with the red and yellow varieties you might see in nature. My plan was to use M6887, which was part of last year’s Outfit Along organized by Andi Satterlund and Lauren from Lladybird. I was also going to knit a mint green wrap cardigan, which was also never made due to fitting issues. I think I will make a different cardigan with that yarn, though. Originally that light blue acetate in the picture above was going to be used to line the dress, but I hate lined dresses and cut the lining off after trying it on.
I started off simply enough with a size 22 and then did a FBA of 1.5 inches giving 3 inches extra in the bust area. I decided not to make the version with the back cutout, but instead used the deeper curve for the back on the full back version. I also changed it from a back zipper to a side zipper, because my mobility issues make it very difficult to close a back zipper. Nothing like dislocating your shoulder to make you never want to have a centre back zipper again
I also made front pockets and put piping in the princess seams on the back, the waist, and on the diagonal front of the pockets. Then I tried it on…and hated it. I unfortunately have no pictures of that. The main issue was no waist definition and that the skirt was hanging weirdly. I think it was due to the stretch in the material and may have been fine in any other material. Or it may not have been. I tossed the dress aside until I could figure out what needed to be done. And there it sat for a year…
When I returned from our honeymoon in May, I cleaned up my stash and resolved to do a few things:
- Join the Stashbusting sewalong and pledge to not add to my stash except when buying thrifted fabric (which really is a grab it when you can or you’ll never have another opportunity) or fabric for a specific project that I will immediately use (like the swimsuit fabric I need or other things).
- Not buy new patterns unless I know I need it and will actually sew it up. I recently got the prefontaine shorts to fill a need for weekend summer wear. I also got the Siren swim top and sailor bottoms for swim suits.
- Finish all my UFOs. My floral linen M6696 was part of that. I still have three Cake Pavlova skirts and a shirt for my husband in my UFO basket.
The whole idea behind doing this is to sew with what I have first and use up the patterns I have had for years first. I’m excited to get some of that done. 😀 So that I can buy new patterns and buy new fabrics! 😀 😀
We do things to justify the weirdest things in life like eating a salad for lunch to have a cupcake for dinner or walking 6km to a burger joint or for ice cream. I joined the stashbusting sewalong to justify buying more stash eventually. Ha!
I procrastinated on this dress for a while because of the fit issues. Since my smallest part is under my bust, dresses without waistbands tend to hang oddly and they either ride up or just look odd. I need to define that area and give me shape. Waistbands aren’t going to work for everyone. Some find them to be problematic and make the wearer look shortwaisted. Perhaps I do, but I have a short waist anyway so idgaf. I think they work well on me by emphasizing my smallest area and keep the waistline in place as well as make the skirt flow properly.
I had recently done two muslins for the Upton dress (final version still pending…as in not cut out yet…lol) and knew that the waistband for that in size 26 fit me perfectly. So I used that. It was an almost perfect fit for the M6887! I just had to reduce the size of the gores on the skirt back a bit to make it fit. The front was perfect. I attached the waistband on the front and then the back and then sewed up the side seams and then attached the waistband lining. Originally, I forgot to put on interfacing. SMH! But I snuck it in there before finishing up the waistband lining by hand.
Then I had to do the zipper. It took me three hours to put that thing in! My machine would just stop feeding in the middle of it. Not because of bulk or threads jamming, but it would just stop feeding for no reason. I still need to clean it out and wish for the best. I plan on saving up money for a new one in the new year. I then tried handpicking the zipper and had the worst time getting things right. It was like I couldn’t make my hands work so I went back to the machine and then had to unpick a bunch of stuff after to hide all my mistakes. The zipper is far from perfect, but it got in after three hours.
Ugh. I’m not a fan of zippers anyway. I very much prefer buttons or a dress that you can put over your head. In terms of sewing, zippers are a huge weakness in my skill set. I need more practice for sure, but, of course, I keep choosing patterns without zippers to avoid it entirely. I can sew up a bra, but a zipper gets me sweating. It’s probably not helping that I need side zippers and prefer lapped zippers…. I’m just making it harder on myself. I know it will get better, but man zippers!
Anyway, I had zipper success and then let my dress hang up for about a week to let the skirt settle. Of course, I could have just left it for a few days or even 48 hours and gone back to it, but I was procrastinating again…
I needed to fix some excess fabric in the princess seam and trim off the armholes and shoulders. I’d already made the length from the bust to the shoulder shorter, but it needed some better shape to it. I fixed the shoulder/armhole shaping first:
What a fix. Then I let it sit for a few more days before I unpicked the princess seams. To be fair, I was really busy last week with the Fringe Festival and my improv show’s fundraiser to get to Winnipeg for C4 and performing for William Shatner! (What!) I also just did not want to sew. I have not wanted to sew all summer. Maybe it’s my recent diagnosis. Maybe it’s my pain levels. It was for sure the horrible allergies I have right now. Nothing like stopping sewing to sneeze ten times in a row. It may have been the heat in Toronto. I think, though, it was that the dress had sucked my soul out and I didn’t want to touch it again for fear of losing my soul completely. HA!
But I returned to it on Friday and finished it on Saturday before another Fringe show and wore it out that night. I got a lot of lovely compliments. Although I was so doped up from allergy medication that I barely responded.
Now that I am done this UFO, I adore the dress, as I knew I would. I mean, come on, that fabric is adorable! Behind all the cuteness of it, is the harrowing story of a seamstressing out.
The pattern itself is actually quite good. It was easy to alter for an FBA and, once I transfer all my changes while sewing it up to paper, should become a favourite of mine. I think it looks incredible on me and I love the changes I made with the front pockets and then lower back, as well as the side zipper. The instructions for the pattern are typical of McCall’s. You need some sewing experience to tackle a pattern like this, but you can also search for tutorials. I tend not to look over sewing instructions anymore unless I am testing the pattern or there is a technique I am unfamiliar with and then I tend to also google tutorials. Thank goodness for google.
I didn’t line the dress as the pattern calls for. Even self-lining drives me nuts when I wear it. I prefer unlined dresses and then I finish the seams. Of course, I didn’t finish the seams in this dress… I would normally serge the edges or using pink sheers. I pinked the front princess seams and the pocket seams, but nowhere else. The neckline and armholes are finished with mint bias tape using the same colour fabric as the pockets. The pocket fabric in the front is a bit sheer for my liking and would have benefited from a double layer or from being underlined in white cotton. It doesn’t really bother me though. There is a bit of an issue with bust pulling due to the differences in the stretch cotton versus the non-stretch cotton and bulk from the piping. Those issues as well as some pulling the armhole would disappear with a more stable fabric. The pains of using a fabric because it’s pretty!
My only annoyance with the dress now is that the hem flips up in the wash and I actually have to *gasp* iron it! I hate ironing. I will press like crazy when I making something but after….ugh. Ironing is so annoying when it isn’t related to sewing. Related, I did not iron this before taking pictures. I wore it at work and was sweaty from hot summer weather!
- Pattern: M6887
- Pros: Lovely fit and flare design. Easy to fit princess seams.
- Cons: Like with most plus sized patterns in 90% of the patterns out there, the shoulders are ridiculously huge and wide. I know there are people out there with wide shoulders, but I am not one of them and I don’t really know anyone with that wide of shoulders. Somewhere in between would be nice…
- Make again?: Yes. I would make it again exactly as it without any further alterations. It’s really a gorgeous dress and flatters me quite a bit. I don’t think I will ever try the version with the back cutout as much as I like it.
- Rating: 4/5 stars