Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Utter frivolity* - McCalls 5575

*I'm re-reading a fantasy trilogy - The Fionavar Tapestry by Guy Gavriel Kay, who also happens to be a Canadian writer... Anyway, in one scene, the King, who exists in a state of mild disapproval of his brother, makes the above remark about some wager his brother has made.

Utter frivolity to make this dress at the dawn of a Canadian winter... However, I was in search of a quick & easy project and this one was stash-busting, both in terms of fabric and pattern.

Review, you say?

Pattern: McCalls 5575. I made a size 8 on top, and a size 10 on the bottom. As it turned out, I'd have been better off making a size 6 on top, and a size 8 below. (See rant below.)

Pattern notes: You remember how, earlier in the day, I'd remarked that I had only a few steps and then this dress would be done? Yeah. I tempted fate greatly with that remark. After sewing the bodice and the skirt together, the bodice was significantly too loose on me. (For reference, I made a size 8 on the top.)

Let me pause here, and curse the genius pattern drafters at McCalls. (Children, and anyone offended by a lot of swearing may skip this paragraph.) Good f***ing grief! Honestly, ladies and gentlemen, what earthly use is there adding ease to a knit pattern? What are you, crazy? What are you going for here? The starving, waif, clothing-hanging-off-frame look? Seriously, WTF?

Anyway, seam ripping and additional cursing later, I took 4 inches off where the bodice joins the skirt, and this fits well now. 4 inches!

While most of the cursing was directed at McCalls, some of it was self-directed, since I had read Christina's review, and she did say exactly the same thing. (Only with less cursing.) I should have listened. Learn from your betters, my impatient little paduan.

Ok, getting past the bodice sizing, or lack thereof, the pattern instructions. I'm not anywhere close to an expert sewer, but I'll say this - throw them away, they aren't worth the paper they are printed on.


- Throw away pattern instructions.

- Read Anne's tip on how to attach a collar band to a shirt, and apply the front and back bands to the bodice the exact same way. (I didn't interface my bands either - rather, I used a piece of bias tape at the neck edge seam to prevent gaping.)

- Set the sleeves in flat.

- Now, sew the front skirt piece to the front bodice, and the back skirt piece to the back. (I didn't, and therefore had to do a bunch of assorted ripping - being able to easily adjust the side seams is a must in this dress, where trying to figure out what size you should sew seems to involve hope and prayer, and not size charts.)

- Sew side seams and the sleeve seam all in one.

- Attach sleeve bands.

- Try on, adjust, and then hem the dress and call it done.

Time taken: About 4 hours, with at least a hour of it due to sizing issues. Apart from the sizing, this is an easy-to-sew dress.

Good/bad things
- Umm, how should I put this? This is low-cut! Not a PG-13 look, shall we say? I'll be wearing this with a tank top... (or remember to never bend over.)
- The skirt looks fine in the picture, but the pleats look a little messy to me. Thoughts?
- I did a better job on the hem than usual - I used fusible tape, then zig-zag'ed it in place. I'm sure this isn't right at all, but it looks ok.
- My fabric is a thin, synthetic knit from Joann. (I was desperate, I'd searched all of Toronto for this shade of brown. Really.) Anyway, it has a tendency to cling. I'll probably be wearing a some kind of skirt-slip with this dress to avoid static (and other) cling.

Conclusion: I don't know what I'd do without the internet, honestly. To anyone who shares tips and tricks freely - I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

(And now, to bed. Good thing I've no meetings in the morning.)


AllisonC said...

That is one hot dress (even if you wear a tank under it!), now you just need a few parties to wear it to.....

anuradha said...


Christina said...

Well worth the effort! I'm glad I'm not the only one who found the sizing to be wacko.

Shannon said...

Va va voom! You are looking super hot in that dress!

Stephanie said...

All I can say is ADORABLE!!

narcissaqtpie said...

You look super cute! I want to try this pattern now (your drama noted for future reference, lol!)

Summerset said...

That is a great dress for you! Just wear a nice lace camisole with it - you'll be just fine. Now that you've figured out the sizing (no small feat!), you can make another up quickly.

cidell said...

Mayhaps frivolity -- but it makes a great party dress!