Thursday, August 11, 2016

McCalls 6552 Fashion Star Dress - revisiting...

I've been rummaging my pattern stash, looking for something different to sew, because I've been so underwhelmed by pattern releases all year. And I have so many patterns that I can mash-up elements for something new. But I found one - I made this pattern way back in 2012, when it first appeared, and I thought it was a nice little dress. But I had some issues with it, for which I totally blame myself: I used polyester seersucker and lined it. It was incredibly hot and uncomfortable to wear - so I didn't.

So I pulled out a cotton calico from JoAnns that I've been avoiding. I just don't like the print! That's awful, isn't it, to blog about something one just doesn't like? But I was thinking 'muslin' - I wanted to see if a calico, one of my favorite summer fabrics, would work.

Got a little peek-a-boo going on...
And actually, I quite like the calico. But as so often happens, I discovered a little problem with the pattern design: those kimono sleeves are big and might even look a top heavy on the dress. I didn't feel that way about the seersucker version, which has more drape. But, hey, I'm not going to wear this in charmeuse, crepe, or jersey knit in 90+ degree weather!

Mr. Michael Phelps has nothing over me on wingspan... I'm loving the Rio Olympics!

So, I'm thinking about redrafting the arms - there's plenty of fabric in them to play around. Why bother? Because I love the lines on the bodice and skirt...

About that peek-a-boo front. It's really not 'bad', and a little cami-bra would add some modesty. I'm just feeling lazy this morning.

I redrafted the front on my original version, so that it has a 3.5" crossover (info and pics in the first blog post). And this bodice is the same. Ah-hem - without the change, this bodice would be open to somewhere above my navel...which qualifies it for a very sexy nightie.

Just a couple sewing notes:
  • The skirt is short - I didn't add to it and barely managed a 3/4" hem (I'm 5'7").
  • I don't care for the suggested finish on the neckline, so I used self-fabric bias binding, finished to the outside for comfort. I used my favorite 1/4" quilting foot, Juki foot P - it positions the needle at the perfect place for top-stitching the binding...

  • OK, a gratuitous shot of favorite Juki feet. Mr. I, on the right, positions the needle 3/8" from the fabric edge. How useful is that! I've collected about 60 feet from various machines, and this is the only true 3/8" foot I have.

  • Finishing the curve in the armhole - kimono sleeves can be tricky, kind of tight and awkward, and it's nice to relax the curve. I sewed it with a 5/8" seam allowance and trimmed it on the serger. Opening the curve (kind of pulling it backwards), as it goes under the needle, adds a little ease in the seam. 

  • The pattern has a self-fabric drawstring, inserted in a casing formed from the 7/8" seam allowance at the skirt/bodice join. Kudos to McCalls for at least using a wider SA, something that's often overlooked in other patterns. Nonetheless, I used a 1" seam allowance, which gave me comfortable room in the casing - and I inserted 1/2" knit elastic, no drawstring. IMHO it's a little classier without it.
  • And I added patch pockets across the side seams, 9.5" wide and 7.5" high (avoiding the floppy pocket bag of an in-seam pocket). Since this is a simple cotton, I didn't line the pockets. But I did finish them on the inside. 
A bottom corner of the pocket
Parting shot: 

The Zika virus is a very real concern in south Florida. Not every case gets in the news - it's been reported just 10 miles south of me. And Weston is fogging and spraying. I can really see the results, as my butterfly population has gone from clouds of the lovelies to just 2 or 3. So - I've emptied some of my bird baths, and I clean/refresh the two larger ones every day. Mosquitoes hatch so quickly. We don't get killing freezes down here, so the problem is likely to stick around...

Bye for now - Coco


  1. Another attempt to comment! I think the sleeves look very elegant--

  2. Replies
    1. Way to go! and thank you - I'm going to keep looking at the sleeves, not rush it...

  3. You wear a maxi dress better than anyone I know. Very elegant lines

    1. OMG, Nancy, what a compliment - particularly from you, I love your sewing and your blog!

  4. I love your dress. The fit is great on you. I really like the print of your fabric too. Great job!

  5. You look regal in that dress. Love the sleeves, I wouldn't change them

  6. Beautiful: very elegant lines and I like the colour. I'd leave the sleeves alone but then I love a dramatic sleeve.

  7. A very beautiful dress and you wear it so well! Lovely fabric and cotton feels great in the heat.

  8. I so rarely have luck with cut on sleeves I don't even bother with buying patterns that have them. They look great on you though Coco! Nice modifications to that pattern. Makes you look tall and quite willowy!

  9. I so love your dress Coco! I have a pattern for the kimono sleeves on a little jacket but just haven't pulled it out yet. Your tips are very helpful! Thank you!!!

  10. This dress looks great on, the lines are perfect and like the elastic rather than drawstring, the sleeves are good, I love kimono type sleeves but always catch them on things like door handles.

  11. I love this print. I see what you mean about the sleeves. Totally due to the fabric drape. Nothing a little adjusting won't fix. Great job on the fit.

  12. I love this on you! The sleeves work and while you don't love the print, I do. :-)

  13. ooo I like the kimono sleeves. And the print. It reminds me of marbled paper. The dress looks cool and lovely on you. You mentioned calico as a fabric? I had always thought of it as a type of print.

  14. Every fashion-loving lady has the moment of exciting while wearing dress.The dress make the lady more beautiful in anytime. You are really good at discovering fashion.It is hard to find the fashion and budget dress.I found the cool website Gearbest star dress is fashion and good.What is your opinion?


I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco