I’ve been trying to step up my muslin game lately, which is my convoluted way of saying I start every project with fabric and a plan to muslin, but I’m simply rubbish at following through. I fell right into to my stereotypical ways when McCall’s generously provided me with a copy of McCall’s M6886.
Yep this black maxi dress was supposed to be a muslin. Oopsie poopsie! Could it still be classified a muslin with chiffon color blocking? Is this even color blocking if both the ponte de roma and the chiffon are black? Would you call that chiffon blocking rather than color blocking? So many questions have surfaced for me in the making of this dress.
Adding chiffon panels may just be my new favorite thing. This is the second time I’ve tried it this month. It’s a little fiddly, but you’ll notice most of my panels are made up of straight edges so instead of cutting out the chiffon in a single piece I ripped it into strips along the grain. I had to miter the strips together each point, but I find chiffon so much easier to handle when it is on grain. I’d also recommend treating your chiffon with gelatin to make it stiffer and easier to sew with. Just make sure to only use gelatin on fabrics you can wash when you’re finished sewing – this is not a good solution for a dry clean only garment.
You might be wondering how I was able to mix chiffon, which is a woven, into a knit pattern. I wasn’t completely sure I would get away with it either. I believe this worked for two reasons: first, this dress is fitted so that it skims the body and consequently I don’t need the ponte to stretch a ton in order for me to walk or sit; second, none of my chiffon panels, with the exception of the sleeves, wrap entirely around the body circumference. If you look at the hem and shoulders you’ll see that I left a section of knit to do the stretching as I move. The chiffon panels on the sleeves work because I don’t need much ease in this area and these panels are placed at an angle making them wider than if they ran parallel to the sleeve hem.
So now you’ve gathered that I wasn’t very disciplined in my plan for this dress, but I did learn a couple things about M6886 that will be helpful for my next go.
- When choosing my size I ignored the body measurement chart almost completely and focused on the finish garment measurements that are conveniently printed on the back of the envelope. My bust and hip body measurements (31 1/2″ and 36″) almost exactly match the finished garment measurements for size 8 (also 31 1/2″ and 36″) so I cut View B in a straight size 8.
And a quick aside, this pattern is for knits! If I were sewing a pattern that called for woven fabrics I would needed a couple additional inches in the finished measurements for ease.
- Despite this being a knit dress my vision was to have a silhouette that would skim rather than hug the body. To achieve this fit I needed a little more room in the hips so I tapered the seam allowance from 5/8″ at the bust to 1/4″ at the hip.
- I was surprised by the hem length although if I had paid attention to the finished garment measurements they would have clued me in. I assumed the long version of this pattern would be floor length, but it is midi. I’m 5 foot 2 inches so this is certainly not due to being tall. The length you see in these pictures is straight out of the envelope with a 1 inch hem. The pattern calls for a 1 1/4 inch hem technically.
- I removed 1/2″ around the entire neckline because I choose to finish it with a neckband rather than turning the edge under and stitching as described in the pattern.
Supplies: McCall’s M6886, 2 1/4 yds black ponte de roma, 1/2 yd black chiffon, Collin’s Wonder Tape, twin stretch needle. Styling: necklace gift from Laney, sandle Micheal Kors, Lip MAC Candy Yum Yum lipstick MAC Shock Value Pro longwear lip pencil MAC Prep + Prime Lip.