McCalls 6559 – Maxi times two!

This didn’t take long! After I sewed the short version of McCalls 6559, I made not one, but two, maxi versions right away. It is such an easy and comfortable pattern.
This first one is done in a polyester/lycra ITY knit from What a wonderful fabric! Feels so sleek, kinda sexy…

The second version is a really interesting print from Fabric Mart in a rayon/lycra knit. This is the same kind of fabric that I used on my short version – it’s very light, much lighter than ITY, and perfect for Florida.

I really did not know how this print would look when I ordered it. It’s hard to tell from a couple little thumbnail pics online. I assumed that the pattern going down my left side was the repeating pattern for the full width. Surprise – the pattern going down my right side is actually a border print! It’s not at all obvious, but slowed me down a little when I was laying out the pattern.

I was glad that I had plenty of yardage for both these dresses. I matched the large stripe pattern on the ITY front and back, it would have looked weird otherwise. But I made no attempt to match the circles and lines on the purple rayon! Just keeping the targets in check took extra fabric. Remember Vogue’s goof last year?

No changes for these versions, aside from those I made on my muslin. These two fabrics are both jersey knits and both have lycra in them – but they handle very differently under the needle. To share a few approaches that I find helpful:

  • Sewing the long seam – ย The ITY is done on the serger with a fairly small stitch length. The rayon jersey is sewn on the sewing machine with an elastic stitch, and the edges are unfinished. The latter is to avoid putting weight in the seams.
  • There’s an easy way to keep the feed dogs from eating a knit fabric when you start a seam on the sewing machine: put your needle down about 1/4″ inside the seam. Using a straight stitch, back stitch a couple stitches, and then stitch forward. If you’re going to use an elastic stitch, raise the needle after a couple forward stitches and reset the stitch.ย 

  • Starting ITY fabric on the serger can be tricky – the top layer tends to fold back as it goes under the pressure foot. Slippery stuff. To avoid this, I run a few basting stitches along the side and top of the start point. Works great.

    Speaking of slippery – placing pins parallel to the edge will hold ITY fabric in place much better than placing them at a right angle.

      • I also finished the bound edges differently. On both, I sewed the binding RS together on the outside with a 3/8″ seam allowance, then turned it over the seam allowance to the inside.

        On the ITY, I stitched on the binding close to the edge through all layers. It is so slippery that stitching in the ditch is like chasing mercury!

        On the rayon jersey, I stitched in the ditch on the outside next to the binding through all layers.

          • Last ย – my lycra knit dresses are folded and stored on a shelf in the closet – lycra doesn’t wrinkle but it does strreeeeetch…..!

            Now I need to go somewhere! Hope everyone has a nice week…
            Ciao! Coco

            21 thoughts on “McCalls 6559 – Maxi times two!

            1. Thank you, Theresa. I like that purple as well, even though I thought the other would be my favorite. You never know. I know what you mean about knits…I started sewing them about a year ago and made a lot of messes at first, was discouraging not to be able to sew a non-puckered seam! I actually upgraded my machine to one with an elastic stitch, not an expensive machine (I'm retired on Soc Sec), but a really nice one, the Singer Quantum Stylist 9960. It handles knits like a dream.


            2. Thanks, Angela! And I'm really a slow sewer…I just really liked this pattern and went to it! I love the purple, too, it was such a surprise! Never really know what's coming when you order online. I had enough left over to make a short version, can you believe it! I love sewing knits, but spend time ahead of each project sewing scraps, every single one is different!


            3. Thanks, Cindy Ann. Well, Florida is a fabric store desert! JoAnns is the only one near me. I go into Holly Lobby when I'm in Fort Myers, there is one in Lakeland and a few other locations. And they have nice fabric. But that's about it except for some small quilting stores. Walmart's superstores have fabric, but quality is up and down, I have only looked once. I go into JoAnns when the notions wall is on sale or I need fusible interfacing or thread or just need to browse fabric! Other than that, like you, I shop online.


            4. Thy are both lovely. as is the short version, but my fav is the circle print. What great fabric and it looks great on you! Nice job and thank you for the info on fabric handling for different knits. They are not my strong suit.


            5. You are quick! I love both of these, but especially that purple:) These are perfect dresses for Florida. Thanks for explaining how you had to adjust things for the knits — sometimes that is hard for me to figure out.


            6. Great dresses. I love a Maxi for it's comfort factor. I just moved back to S. Fl a few months ago and was wondering if you have any recommendations for local fabric shops? I rarely buy fabric from Joann and mostly order online, however it's nice to go into a fabric store now and then!



            7. What a great couple of makes — I bet those will get a ton of wear! I love both the prints you selected. And thanks for the tips — all knits have their nuances, don't they? ๐Ÿ™‚


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