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

15 thoughts on “McCalls 6552 Fashion Star Dress – revisiting…

  1. 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.


  2. 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.


  3. 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.


  4. 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!!!


  5. 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!


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