Tuesday, September 4, 2012

the last of the summer dresses -- an M6554 review

Summer is officially over and school is starting. But maybe it's not too late to share one more summer dress. There are few things I like more that a pretty pink dress and when I found this lovely stuff at Mood back in May, I knew it was time to make one for me too. Why should baby girl have all the fun?
The pattern is McCalls 6554 from their Fashion Star line up. As soon as I saw the pattern, I knew I needed to make it. If you overlook the Project Runway wannabe qualities of the packaging, you can see everything I look for in a dress: empire waist, fitted bust and pockets!  I came home from the Weekend Sewing workshop with several muslins and lots of ideas, but couldn’t help diving into the fabric.
I actually made this back in May right after I came back from the Weekend Sewing workshop. I failed to keep careful notes, though, so I don’t have much more to say about it. Obviously, I changed the neckline. I made a full bust adjustment and a sway back adjustment, all practiced in a muslin. The adjustments came together easily and I think you can see that the fit is spot on.  
The pattern includes a bodice lining, but my fabric is pretty sheer, so I lined the entire thing in ivory cotton voile. I added a facing to the neckline. Both my fabrics are lightweight and a little fragile and I worried it wouldn’t hold up. Maybe that isn’t necessary, but I also like the feel of a faced neckline – provided it doesn’t flap around, of course. This facing is stitched down to the lining, so there’s no worry of that.  I wish I had interfaced the zipper. It’s very floaty and feels like wearing a cloud – perfect for sticky summer days.  I wore it out one night before it was even finished, with the hem just basted in place. I also wore it belted for my son’s Kindergarten graduation and again just this weekend without the belt to a Labor Day party.  I got compliments each time.
In short, I highly recommend this pattern and plan to make it again. Maybe in a more casual fabric? Because, although I really like the suggestion in the packet envelope for floor length with a sparkly contrast inside the box pleat, I don’t get to go to prom anymore!  It’s basic, but you could easily play with the length, neckline or pleat. Oh, I do have a suggestion. I found adding the pleat to the lining made the front way to voluminous. After wearing it a few times, I very carefully unpicked the front lining, cut out the pleat and seamed it together. It both drapes and wears better now.
All this brings me to another topic I have been thinking about a lot lately.  I’m starting to believe in a second level of muslin. Crazy, I know, so more on that later. Meanwhile, I’m off to consider whether I haven’t let my inner perfectionist take too much control over my sewing.
Many thanks to my friends at George Aubrey Photography for the lovely images. The staging ideas were mine, though, so don’t blame them if that lying down in the grass shot looks goofy instead of cute.


  1. Great dress and fit! I just picked up this pattern so I'm glad you shared this today. Gives me the encouragement to find the fabric for my own :)

    I think I may have to do an FBA as well.

  2. Thanks, Jenny! I think it would be suitable for a variety of fabrics. One suggestion in the packet was to wear it as a jumper. That could be cute for fall. The FBA came together really easily, so I think it's a well drafted pattern.

  3. Your adorable photos of you in your stylish and pretty dress made me smile today! Honestly, your version sparked my interest in this pattern that I earlier overlooked.

  4. Oh, I'm glad. It really is a good pattern.

  5. I especially like the lying down in the grass shot :)
    Dress is gorgeous and really suits you!