Friday, June 22, 2012

This season's maxi dress - McCall's 6559 with an FBA

Trying to keep cool in 101 degree F

My first version of the fabulous McCall's 6559 maxi dress was sewn in a hurry. You see, I was heading out of town and as the date rapidly approached I realized the temperatures were going to be quite warm where I was headed.  Hot actually - with temps predicted in the upper 90s degree F range.

But the main reason I whipped it up was so I'd have something new to wear when I met the staff of Sew News and Sew iT All magazines.  Of course,  you already knew how excited I was to meet them if you read my previous post.
This knit maxi dress is so simple to sew - just a front and back sewn together at the side and shoulder seams, with the neck, arm and bottom edges turned under and stitched in place.  I made a few minor changes and was still able to complete the dress in two hours.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that I found the pattern to run large. I've mentioned it before, but I do not like tight fitting clothes.  So I typically cut my knit dresses a size larger in the waist and hip area, which is what I did with this dress. I also raised the neckline by an inch.

I basted everything together and ended up taking the shoulder seams up by 3/4" and the side seams by an inch at the hip and at least two inches at the waist.

Altering the pattern for an FBA (Full Bust Adjustment)
Thinking the dress would be close fitting, I choose to alter the pattern to add a small FBA so the front of the dress wouldn't pull across my bustline.

First, I cut the dress top and bottom apart along the lengthen and shorten line. I placed the pattern piece over tissue paper and pinned it in place. Next, I drew three lines on the pattern intersecting at the bust apex and cut the pattern along the lines.

I spread the pattern the desired amount, about inch, and taped everything in place. 

The bottom and top portions were matched up along the lengthen and shorten lines and taped in place.
As you can see, the side seam no longer matched.
So I simply used a curved ruler and drew a new side seam.
Rather than sew the dart I eased the dart into the side seam.
Finish the neck and armhole edges with clear elastic 
Stretch the clear elastic a few times. Measure and cut the clear elastic exactly the same length as the neckline and armhole edges. Serge (or stitch) the clear elastic to the wrong side placing the elastic along the raw edge.

Fold the fabric over to the wrong side and stitch in place.  

The clear elastic wasn't needed to help keep the neck edge in place, it just adds a bit of stability (like a strip of lightweight interfacing) and gives a nice finished look to the edge.

Hem the dress using Steam-A-Seam
This is my favorite method for hemming my knit garments.  I serge finished the hem edge on this dress before adding the Steam-A-Seam, but sometimes I leave it as is.

Iron Lite Steam-A-Seam was ironed onto the wrong side of the hem close to the raw edge.

Peel away the paper backing exposing the fusible tape.
Fold the hem in place and finger press. Press to set the fusible tape in place.
Stitch in place.

I highly recommend this pattern.  I wore it multiple times while out of town and received compliments each and every time. 
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  1. Sharon - that dress turned out fabulous. Thanks for sharing how you did the FBA and making it managable on a maxi. Shounds like your trip was big fun. g

  2. Anonymous11:59 PM

    THANK YOU for the dartless FBA example.

  3. I am glad you had great visit with team at Sew News and Sew It Up. Like the maxi dress and it does seem like a good project for immediate gratfication!

  4. What a super maxi--stylish and so comfortable in hot weather. You look adorable.

  5. it looks so chic & summery!

  6. That is so pretty! I'm totally into maxi dresses this summer. They are so comfortable!

  7. Pretty and comfortable at the same time.

  8. Thanks for posting the instructions, the dress looks great.

  9. Beautiful dress and it looks lovely on you.

  10. Thanks for these instructions. I've been using Steam a seam the hard way.

  11. Hey
    This season's maxi dress - McCall's 6559 with an FBA
    Fairly refreshing piece! I enjoyed reading your article. Many thanks

  12. Beautiful Maxi Dresses For Women, so great, I like so much, thanks for sharing.



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