Adapting McCall’s 6741 to make a space dress

McCall’s 6741 was the third dress pattern I ever bought. I have used it many times and changed it a few times along the way to make different garments.

The first time I made it, I chose a size that was essentially too big for me and I ended up taking it in quite a bit. In this case, I had picked a size 16, which was still better than the first dress I ever made, where I managed to ruin a pattern by cutting it out 3 sizes too big for me. 🙁 That pattern was also from McCall’s (6504) and even though I still like the shape of it, I cannot quite get myself to buy and make it again…

I have since decided to make the dress in a size 14, but add a fuller bust, which seems to work fine.

However, making this particular dress, I didn’t seem to take into account that I was going to overlock the seams, which leaves quite a bit more room, so another size down would have probably been more appropriate…

On top of that, the material is a bit stretchy as well, so I ended up taking it in a few times once again…

I must say though, I absolutely love this fabric. It is so gorgeous, and I could have never imagined making anything but a dress from this. Even though I bought it as a “digitally printed stretch jersey”, it feels quite a lot like a (one way) stretchy, but heavy satin and has a slightly shiny look to it.

 

digitally printed stretch jersey

 

I wanted a dress with a spacey look for this spacey fabric and adapting McCall’s 6741 seemed like the perfect choice to me.

First, I made the front panel into two pieces that would overlap just over the bust.

Here is the top and bottom piece:

 

edges sewn with the coverlocker

 

 

And here is what they looked like once I secured them on the sides:

 

all sewn together

 

 

I did the “hems” on those pieces (and on the whole dress) with my coverlocker and for once, I was happy with the result, despite using a stretchy fabric.

For the arms, I simply cut two 15 cm-strips of fabric that where slightly thicker in the middle and tapered off towards the ends. I sewed each one together lengthwise and inserted them into the armholes, with the middle of the strip meeting the shoulder seam.

I then hemmed the shoulder seams and made sure to straddle the seam where the “sleeve” and bodice meet. Here you can see the back and front view of the finished armholes:

 

arm finish back

 

arm finish front

 

I didn’t manage to finish hemming the whole dress, but this is what I plan on doing all around the hemline. I made each panel longer than the one before, so that the back is 21 cm longer than the front. However, I kept the edges instead of slowly grading them down, so that I get a kind of “stairs-like” hemline.

 

partly finished hem

 

Since I can’t wait to show it off, here is the dress in its half-hemmed state:

I am aware that these pictures aren’t the greatest at showing the dress off, but as I said, I just couldn’t wait… I will put pictures up once it is hemmed. Maybe I can get my husband to even take some of me in the dress. 🙂

I am currently working on a summer jacket as well as this and the “fox” dress (a panelled jersey dress, nicknamed in the process of making it, as the bodice had the appearance of a fox’s face), so I have a few unfinished projects at the moment. I also keep putting off making a short tracksuit jacket.

Since it is now only about 6 weeks to the HTID summer gathering, I better get a move on…

panel jersey dress

I have started doing too many things this weekend. I began work on two dresses and a jacket. Naturally, none of those projects were finished, but this dress is the one where I got the furthest. I only have to hem it and add the sleeves.

After making a few dresses out of cotton jersey and realising that I quite like the material, I decided to move on to the next challenge. Ultimately, I always want to make more complicated things and design lots of elements as I go along. I really enjoy changing patterns to add something a little bit extra or to make it more diverse.

This time, I decided to use two colours, purple and black, and divide the bodice to make a panel jersey dress. I made the panels up as I went along, so I didn’t think too much about it, but once I sewed them together, I realised they look quite a lot like a fox. 🙂

I used a jersey dress bodice pattern like this and cut where I thought would look good:

 

bodice all sewn together

I also shortened the sides by cutting off a triangle at the bottom.

These are all the panels for the front (the back is identical):

 

all panels

 

For the skirt, it was just a question of adding the required length on the side panels, so it would still meet the bodice where I shortened it.

And this is what the bodice looks like, once sewn up:

 

fox bodice

 

 

I lined the neckline, as I wanted it to be quite smooth. Also, I didn’t want to ruin it with my coverlocker by stretching it out… There are fabrics that it doesn’t hate, but cotton jerseys sadly don’t belong to that category.

Here is the lining from the outside:

 

lined bodice

 

and from the inside:

 

bodice and lining

 

 

Originally, I wanted to line the armholes as well and make it a sleeveless dress, but then realised that I should have left the shoulder seams unsewn. It wouldn’t have been difficult to rip them out again, but I generally don’t like the bulkiness I get when I sew shoulder seams after lining. My other option would have been to have an open back, which would have been a whole lot of work and it probably wouldn’t have lined up properly in the end. Well, there’s always next time…

Here is the dress, as yet unhemmed…

jersey panel dress

On the subject of next time though, I am definitely planning on making more panel dresses with more panels. 😉 It is definitely a part of sewing I enjoy immensely and it doesn’t appear to be too difficult.

 

Update

 

So in the meantime, I did get a bit of time to hem the dress, and even got my husband to take pictures of me in the finished version:

 

Making a t-shirt

There are two reasons why I made a t-shirt over the weekend:

1. I like winging it when it comes to sewing. This often leads to failure, but I somehow cannot help thinking “What if I change this detail?” when I’m in the middle of a project. Maybe it’s my strong desire for variety, maybe I just love to see myself make mistakes, but there is something rewarding about deviating from the well-known path. So despite not having a t-shirt pattern, I decided I could create one from a pattern I own by adapting it.

2. DHL is on strike… While I sympathise with the delivery guys, I am desperately waiting for some fabric which was meant to come on Friday. So while trying not to go crazy over all the things I want to make with those new fabrics I don’t have yet, I decided to make something simple with some leftovers.

So, here is what I did:

I used the fabric and pattern that I made this dress from. The dress bodice pattern would serve as my t-shirt template. Similarly, if you have a T-Shirt that fits you well, you can use that as a template. I didn’t have a huge amount of fabric, so unfortunately the shirt had to be a bit shorter than I would like.

Here is the pattern on the fabric, while I started cutting it. I cut the bottom pretty free-hand, but cut outwards from the bottom of the pattern, which sits at my waist, to make sure it’s not too tight around my stomach.

 

pattern on fabric

 

I also cut the neckline a bit higher, so it wouldn’t be as low as it is on the dress.

 

DSCI0177

 

I cut to about halfway, then folded the pattern in the middle, so I could cut the rest out along the lines that I had already cut.

 

DSCI0178

 

DSCI0179

 

 

Then I cut along the hemline to straighten it out:

 

DSCI0181

 

I thought it might look interesting with a perfectly straight hem, not a curved one, as usual. It turned out that wasn’t the greatest idea…

 

One of the bodice pieces got a V-neckline, just for a change.

 

DSCI0183

 

I also used the sleeves I made for the dress before. Here are all the pattern pieces cut out:

 

DSCI0185

 

The neckband of this one is probably the most interesting part. I cut it as a triangle made of three pieces:

 

DSCI0189

 

 

Here they are sewn together (with my overlocker):

 

DSCI0190

 

 

and pinned on:

DSCI0191

 

You can see how it pulls the neckline in, since it is smaller.

 

And here is the result of my neckband-creation:

 

neckband added

 

 

After sewing the t-shirt together with the overlocker, I finished it off with the Merrylock 3040, which I am still trying to get to know. I am starting to wonder if there is a way to change the height of the position of the presser foot , as it just hates anything above two layers of fabric even at the loosest setting.

In any case, here is the finished product:

t-shirt front

 

t-shirt back

 

It looks a bit crooked, which is ok with me, as it’s stretchy, so it won’t be noticeable when I wear it. However, you can also see the warped hemlines, which I blame the Merrylock for. Admittedly, it might be slightly my fault too, as I am not the most precise seamstress yet. Nevertheless, I feel like the coverlocker doesn’t exactly make things easy for me, which is ironic, really, as I bought it for exactly that reason.

The whole thing probably took me about two hours. Next time, I will sacrifice an old t-shirt, so I have a pattern that I know will work.

 

Making a new dress from an old one

I had this dress I really liked. I liked it so much that I had worn it down to the point where the knit fabric just looked old and frayed. It was, however, one of those dresses that just looked great on me and I wasn't going to give that up.

Actually, I had previously used it as a sort of guideline for making stretchy dresses for myself by holding it onto the fabric and marking the pattern pieces. As you can imagine, this is kinda difficult with a dress that's all sewn together. So now I took the opportunity to dismantle it and make it into a pattern.

The dress is made up of a front and back for the bodice with no darts whatsoever, a couple of sleeves and 4 skirt panels. I unpicked the bodice and sleeves and one skirt panel, then laid them on top of my trusted Swedish tracing paper and marked a pattern around them. I had to adjust this slightly and use measuring tape to  make sure everything was straight, as the fabric pieces were a bit stretched out/crooked.

old dress bodice

As you can see in the picture above, one of the armholes looks different from the other. I really can't say whether I stretched it out or whether the fabric was cut that way. It certainly never struck me as being off when I wore it.

That aside though, here are the finished pattern pieces on my fabric of choice:

patterns I cut from the old dress

two skirt panels cut!

The fabric is a jersey with a similar stretch to the knit fabric. I much prefer knits, but sometimes I just cannot resist a print. I had actually had this fabric for a while as I wanted a really good pattern for it. I couldn't bear the thought of making something with such a gorgeous print that would be ill-fitting. But since I had that pattern now, nothing could stop me.

Now it was really just the case of cutting the pieces out and sewing them together.

I left one of the shoulder seams of the bodice open, as I wanted to put a neckband in.

bodice all sewn together

For the skirt panels, I made sure that I lined up the fully sewn skirt with opposite seams touching, as there are no side seams. I marked the sides with a bit of chalk.

the skirt

Then I made sure the markings were aligned with the side seams of the bodice:

lined up side seam and marking

Pinned and then sewn together, I almost had a whole dress now.

almost a whole dress

The next step will be sewing armholes on and then finishing the whole thing off with the coverlock machine.