Pattern Review: McCalls 6559 Maxi Dress
I know I just talked about my Fall sewing plans, but I have a boat party this afternoon and wanted to wear something new. I thought a maxi dress would be perfect. So I pulled out my pattern and auditioned some fabrics. I can’t believe that I waited so long to make up this pattern. What was I thinking??? I mean, it’s so easy, so fast. It’s really flattering. Note to self: Make more of these. Especially since they’re probably about to go out of fashion now that I’ve started making them. Here’s my review of this amazing pattern that everyone else has made before me many times over.
Pattern Description: Misses unlined jackets and dresses. Very close-fitting, pullover dresses. I made the plain maxi dress, version D.
Pattern Sizing: Sizes 6-14. I made the size 14. I know most people went down 1 or two sizes in this pattern. I’m usually between a 14 and 16 in the big four. To determine my size, I used a method that I first heard about from Myrna, where you drape the knit against your body so that it’s width and drape is pleasing to you and see which size that matches up to on the pattern. I tested two areas using this method, my full bust and my hips. Both came out to the size 14, so that’s what I used. When I pinned it together, I found I wanted a little more ease in the hips and used a smaller seam allowance from the hips down. Love the way this fits on me now. Some people like a really fitted silhouette with negative ease on this dress. With my body curves, I really don’t, so I have a some ease everywhere. It’s what I’m most comfortable wearing. So if you make this up, I advise to baste to check for your preferred fit. It’s such a fast make that it really doesn’t take much time to do.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? For the most part. I added a binding to my neck and arm openings and my dress had more ease.
Were the instructions easy to follow? I didn’t use them but I looked at them to check for this review. Since I bound my neckline, I changed the order of construction to allow for that. Also, I wouldn’t recommend just turning over the seam allowances to finish the neckline or armscyes. That just looks becky-homecky. That being said, this is such a simple pattern, that you don’t really need instructions. For reals!
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
- Super fast
- Super easy
- Only two pattern pieces
- Great fit (did not even need an FBA – can I hear an Hallelujah for that?)
- Great dress
Fabric used: I used the really cool pintucked striped knit I bought a few weeks ago from the National City Swap Meet. I went with my local ASG garment sewer group. Fun day and I scored some amazing fabrics for dirt cheap. Love this knit. It’s got a lot of body and is perfect for a maxi dress. Win-win!
Pattern changes or design changes made: No real design changes, but I did bind the neckline and armscyes with some black Fold Over Elastic (FOE) I had in the stash. I was a little hesitant to use it, but I looked up some tips on the inter webs and consulted with my friend Susan who’s made this dress several times, and then just winged it. It turned out pretty well, but there was a bit of a learning curve getting the neckline to stay tucked between the ends of the FOE and how much to stretch as you sewed. I think I will definitely use this method again. It’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.
Any problems encountered during construction? It wouldn’t be a project by me if there wasn’t some stupid user error somewhere along the way. I realized I forgot to cut off the seam allowances on the armscyes before adding the FOE. Of course I only noticed after I serged up the side seams. *Sigh* Now I will have to cut off my FOE and add new, but this time in the round, since the side seams are already serged. *double sigh*
Any interesting design details in this pattern? Well, not on the plain version D, but the E and F versions are pretty cool. I will try those with some other stripey knit sometime soon. This one with the swirly pintucks already had enough going on.
Which sewing machine(s) did you use for construction? I used my Brother serger for the construction, my Emerald 183 for the FOE application and my Brother coverstitch for the hem.
Time to complete construction: This was a little embarrassingly long for such a simple project, but with the basting to fit, my learning curve on the FOE, and the user errors, it took me about 4.5 hours to complete. Next time it won’t take that long I’m sure.
Will you sew it again or recommend it to others? You bet I will. It’s a great dress. And who doesn’t need a couple of maxi dresses in their closet when you live in sunny San Diego?!? I definitely recommend it to anyone, beginners and advanced sewers alike. Just because it’s easy, doesn’t mean you an advanced sewer should turn her nose up, it’s a real looker on. Just remember to check for fit and bind the neckline for a more professional look.
Conclusion: Awesome pattern: quick, easy, gorgeous. What more could you ask?
Darn, I wish I had time to make that sweet little jacket to go with it. I might make another dress before I start my Fall sewing though. Happy sewing!