Sunday, 3 November 2013

Finished Project & Pattern Review: McCall's 6349 View C with Maxi Skirt.

M6349 with maxi skirt.

I did it. I made my deadline to have the dress ready to wear on Thanksgiving, with a whole week to spare. I missed out on sewing for Halloween, but no big deal, didn't RSVP yes to any Halloween events on Facebook anyway!! Last year I had a ball on Halloween weekend. My bestie dressed up as a naughty school girl and I dressed up as Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz. I made the dress AND the shoes! Well, I applied red glitter to the shoes.
We went to a house party then ended up at a club event where I hung out with a guy who looked like Pitbull. Woke up with a massive hangover, had lunch with bestie who ordered the "blue-eye, medium-rare" cos she thought it was a steak!! It's fish, btw :)

That was last year. This year on Halloween night I ate a massive dinner (it was a 3-4 person serve and I ate half), then sat on my ass for an hour handpicking the zip on my M6349. Hopefully the handpicking burnt some calories :P

Lets start from the beginning...

I started on the muslin for this dress two weekends ago. The plan was to make a wearable muslin. I had dreams of pairing the muslin bodice with a beautiful lime chiffon maxi skirt. The dream is still alive, just on the back burner for the moment. Need to find a lime chiffon that does not make me look like a walking hi-lighter. Was also thinking burnt orange to bring out the orange flowers.

Would love your thoughts! Also, if I make the skirt out of chiffon, what should I line it with?

The wearable-muslin.
This is the same fabric I used for my Burda 7371 pants.

I chose View C of the dress because I like the sweetheart neckline, but the "front bodice" piece (piece #13) had me stumped. I could not get the gathering right, I could not get the bodice piece to match up with the underlining piece. I gave up. Then I realised that the underlining/lining piece also had a sweetheart neckline, duh, but without all the gathering business, instead it had princess seams. Even better.

I dug through my fabric stash and found this beautiful floral printed cotton voile I purchased from Darn Cheap (Heidelberg) ages ago. It feels amazing on my skin - soft, slinky and cool. I had over 2m of this baby so there was enough to make a 1m long maxi skirt and a self lined bodice.

The bodice pieces are stabilised using whisperweft interfacing (82% Rayon/18% Poly).

Iron-on whisperweft interfacing.

To add more structure and shape, I made padding and handmade bra cups for the bodice. 
I used Sewaholic's tutorial (here and here) which is where I learnt about abutted seams.

I attached the padding to the shell, like an underlining.

My WIP/bodice construction post with more photos and info is here.

Bust padding to give it some oomph!
Abutted seam..
.. or is it butted seam? Who knows!

The bodice is boned using plastic polyboning. 
Polyboning is easy to use, no pliers required!!

Simply cut off the length you need, remove the plastic boning, sew the casing on to the bodice lining, trim 3-4cm off the plastic boning before inserting it back in the casing. 
You trim 3-4cm off to allow for stitching later on when you sew on the lining and attach the skirt - you don't want to break your needles sewing over the plastic!

On my bodice, I used 4 pieces of boning - 2 for side seams, 2 for the back (where the 'side back' and 'back' pieces join).

Polyboning, plastic boning.

I took a risk and didn't line the skirt. I'll just make sure to wear appropriate underwear with this dress, no grandma panties or g-bangers (aka g-string, thong). Because I didn't line the skirt, I french seamed the side skirt seams for a clean and non-fraying finish.

Apologies to Cozy Cotton, I forgot to take photos when I joined the bodice to the skirt!! 

I sewed 3 rows of gathering stitches (long stitches) using red thread so its easier to see and remove later on. Gathered the skirt waist, matched the notches on the skirt and bodice then sewed it all together.

To help the dress stay up, I added a grosgrain ribbon waist stay. This keeps the dress in place and stops the waist from stretching over time. Also takes pressure off the zip and comes in handy when you're home alone with no one to help you zip up.

The zip is hand picked. This 14" zip took just over 1 hour to handpick. 
I love handpicking zips for numerous reasons:
  • dress zippers are cheaper in comparison to invisible ($1.49 vs $3.49)
  • dress zippers are stronger - I've had too many invisible zip break my heart
  • easier to match up the seam because you have more control
  • the little pricks on the back look pretty
Hem - I overlocked/serged the hem then turned it up and machine stitched.

Grosgrain ribbon waist stay.
Handpicked zip, machine stitched hem.

Pattern Review: McCall's 6349, View C, with no shoulder straps, lengthened skirt to maxi 

Size: 6

Pattern Pieces used: 7 (bodice front lining), 8 (bodice side front lining ), 16 (bodice back), 17 (bodice side back), 19 (skirt back), 21 (skirt front)

Fabric2.3m cotton voile (Darn Cheap) - enough for self-lined bodice, skirt is 1 meter in length.

Notions: Gutermann thread (000), dress zipper 14" (black), 1.6m polyboning, 0.5m whisperweft interfacing, 0.5m cotton/bamboo padding, 80cm grosgrain ribbon, bikini hook,

Cost: Fabric $20, Cotton/Bamboo Padding $5, Zipper $2, Whisperweft Interfacing $5, Polyboning $5, Grosgrain Ribbon $2, Bikini hook $1

Pattern Modification/Adjustments:
  • No shoulder straps
  • Lengthened skirt to 1 meter (floor length maxi)
  • Took the centre back seam at the top by 4cm on each side! Big no-no, but it was too late for a proper adjustment
Techniques Used:
  • Padded Bust
  • Abutted seams
  • Self made bra cups
  • Self lined bodice
  • Boning (great tutorial by Sewaholic here)
  • Waist Stay (great tutorial by Sewaholic here)
  • Hand picked zip
  • Gathering (skirt)
  • French seam (skirt side seams)
Things I will do differently next time:
  • I'll figure out if I need a SBA or if I just need to adjust the back bodice
  • I'll turn the waist seam upwards like I usually do, but on this dress the seam was too thick and boning got in the way so it keep flipping back down
  • Trim the boning more - maybe 5cms, so I can turn the waist seam upwards

Pretty princess seams, Waist stay and Handpicked zip from the inside.
All zipped up. Zip is practically invisible!

I love maxi dresses but it's hard for me to find ones that are the perfect length.
I know, I know, I can take up the hem myself, but I HATE doing alterations. Hate it! Love sewing from scratch, hate alterations. 

I only own three RTW maxi dresses - a green one (too bright to wear frequently), a floral print wrap one (my fav but it's very booby), a simple black one (with a modest bodice) - so I'm desperate for for maxis! 
I used to love above-the-knee dresses, but now I feel so naked in them. They feel so short. I must be coming of age!

I love the Anna dress, so that pattern's going on my wishlist for Christmas. Thigh high slit, yes please!

Next up on my sewing table is a dress I need ready by this Friday 8th November! I have Monday and Tuesday off work (Melbourne Cup long weekend) so I should be able to pull it off!

UPDATE: This morning I was told that the Thanksgiving feast isn't till the 23rd Nov! Don't know why I thought it was this coming Saturday, LOL!! (11.3.13)


  1. Wow, this is beautiful. Love the floral fabric. I've just made my first dress.

    1. Hi hun!! I just checked out your Elisalex dress, it's gorgeous!!

  2. Beautiful dress, but I got such a thrill to sew a young sewer taking the time to get the inner scaffolding of the dress right. Top class!

    1. Thank you for your lovely comment Gail :) It was a great learning experience!

  3. I love that you made it into a fall maxi! That print int a strapless maxidress is so unexpected and FABULOUS. Amazing for thanksgiving!

    1. Thanks Rachel! I'm really digging floor length for summer :)

  4. Love this dress on you! And I adore the length – it gives an added bit of glamour to the piece!

    1. It does look a bit glam doesn't it! I've bought some more floral cotton to make another one but a lighter color cotton, to make it look more casual :)

  5. Its gorgeous mate! Beautiful work:)

  6. Wow babe this is beautiful you look gorgeous!! So clever looks so well made too!! Xx

  7. Love all your job! You're a sewer so perfect! I consider your dresses (all) look like a million dollars ... you made me laugh with the comment that you need dresses that cover the knees, I feel me so long since. Welcome to intellectual maturity, dear Lady. Love your first pic, you look fabulous!!

  8. Haha welcome to the old people who want long skirts club? I love how you made this into a maxi, and way to take time to do all the padding and boning and such!

    1. The padding was so easy! Who would have thought!! I'm going to make another one with no padding cos the padding makes me feel to structured. lol.

  9. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

    That is all. ;)

  10. Wow! This looks amazing! Great job, girl!

  11. Wow, this is absolutely gorgeous. What a special dress! I hope you get enjoyment out of wearing it, as it looks so elegant and well sewn.

    1. Thanks Catja, I feel like a princess in it :) Can't wait to wear it out!!

  12. You and me both with the alterations...Gah. I would rather sew something brand new! :)

    This dress is amazing and gorgeous and fits you perfectly!

    1. Thanks Mrs Smith :) I'm glad I'm not the only one who hates alterations hehe

  13. I love this! What drew me to your post via burda was the self-made bust cups. I have never seen ones like this before, what technique did you use to make them? Do they work like "chicken cutlets" to give you some lift?

    1. oops sorry just saw the link to the Sewaholic tutorial. Thanks so much for sharing this! I am very inspired to try some of these techniques!

    2. Thanks hun, in terms of "lift" there's not much of me to lift hahahaha but it does give the impression of a more "3D" bust lol. Hope you try the techniques too :)

  14. Looks stunning! The Maxi is perfect for Melbourne's weather. It fits you so well. Thanks for the photos of the waist band. That's what I need. I'll definitely try it out if I do a strapless dress again.

    1. It really does help the dress stay up and takes strain off the zip too :)

  15. I adore the fit on this; maxi dresses can often come off frumpy but your tailoring has made all the difference. Is your interlining warm and do you find it adds bulk? Did this pattern call for it or did you add it on your own? I'm intrigued.

    1. Hi Tegan! I've only worn the dress once, and that day it was cool and raining so I didn't feel too warm. I imagine it would add some insulation if worn on a warm day, so for that reason I probably won't add it to my future summery dresses. It did add some bulk around the waist seam (which was made bulkier when I added the waist stay) but like they say "fashion is not about comfort" - I think I heard that on Gossip Girl lol.
      No, pattern did not call for the padding, I was inspired by Sewaholic's post :)


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