Friday, January 28, 2022

McCalls 8064, View B

View B of McCalls 8064 is the midi-length v-neck dress with long sleeves. This version was inspired by a dress I bought at Gap that is showing signs of wear from heavy use. Making the dress used 2 3/4 yards of 60" wide rayon/polyester/lycra blend gray brushed sweater knit from Fabric Mart for a cost of $12.25. The fabric is more a brushed jersey than a sweater knit as the actual fabric is just a single knit jersey with no texture. At more than 5 ounces/square yard, or 175 gsm, it is quite warm, while soft and very drapey.

The smallest size in the pattern I have is a large. Although I was sure that would be big enough, I cut the L and cut the waist at XL, adding additional (probably a little too much) figure-forgiving volume. Once I set to sewing, I realized I had repeated the mistake I made last spring when I attempted to cut out a skirt from a pattern that had several different lengths on each piece. I actually cut different lengths for the front and back. In this case, the front pattern piece had two lengths marked and the back had three lengths marked. Since I cut out the back first, I correctly cut the second to the longest length. Cutting the second length on the front meant I cut the shortest length--there were only two lines. If I had double checked myself, I would have had enough fabric to cut the correct length for the front, but I was distracted by concern that there was not enough fabric for the neckband. I was really determined, however, that this dress be longer than the Gap dress. (I have always thought that one too short for winter wear.) Even though my mistake was in the front, I pieced the front so that it is long enough. The brushed knit and heathered fabric almost hide the seam. Still, I am so upset by this mistake, mad at the pattern company for drafting two inconsistent pattern pieces and mad at myself for not catching my mistake. The cut lines are correctly marked. I just did not register the fact that one was B and one was A.

My other (desirable) modifications, reducing the depth of the v-neckline and adding side seam pockets, worked well. Having learned from my last experience sewing knits, I began the side seam by basting it first, checking the fit and then sewing it with the knit stitch. After sewing I trimmed the side seam. I avoided the extra step of trimming on the pockets by sewing both basting and final knit stitching of the pocket seam closer to the edge so that no trimming was needed. I removed the basting from side seam but not from pocket seam, reasoning that the pocket does not need to stretch and might be reinforced by the basting.

Setting in the first sleeve and a quick try on showed the shoulders to be too wide, and possibly, the sleeve cap too short. Also, after gathering the sleeve and basting it in place, the fit was way too tight. The instructions do not call for easing the sleeve into the armhole, even though the sleeve is larger than the armsyce. Since the sleeve was just basted, it was easy to rip out. After recutting the shoulder and setting in the sleeve by stretching the armhole to fit, the shoulders are a good fit--no sleeve cap adjustment was needed.
Now that it has worn and washed it is obvious that this dress is a small success. The brushed fabric did not pill after washing and the seam at the bottom front is less noticeable after washing since the brushing is more fluffy now. The cut is not flattering, however. The next one needs to be smaller overall with more waist definition--in another sweater knit if possible.

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