Friday, 26 April 2013

Quickie Beach Cover-up dress - McCalls 6558

I think this is the last review from my pre-holiday1 sewing frenzy, I haven't sewn a thing since I've been back, isn't it funny how that works?

Pattern Notebook

McCalls 6558 - Elasicated dress

My hastily sewn and serged dress, standing in front of the sewing box of a lady whose mind would be blown by a serger

View / Size used: 
I cut a size 14 because I didn't mind too much if it was a little big.  I knew that I could adjust it easily with the elastic.  I used view E, but I had very little fabric, so I just made it as long as I could.

Fabric Used: 
This dress counts as stash-busting for both myself, Cindy from Cation Designs who generously gave me the fabric AND some lady who originally gave it to Cindy!  It's some kind of mystery poly blend with a crepe like texture and a fair amount of stretch.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: 
A better question would be; why on earth did I need a pattern for this dress at all?  I don't know guys, I always seem to misjudge how much or how little fabric I need on these super simple shapes.  It wasn't exactly two rectangles on top of each other, but it was pretty close. 

Were the instructions easy to follow?
They probably were, it might have worked out better if I'd used them.  They tell you use the seam allowance to form a casing for the waist elastic, but I'd loaned my zig-zagging sewing machine to my neighbour and I could have waited, but as we've discussed this dress was made during some very powerful tunnel vision2, so I sewed the seam with the serger, catching the elastic as I went.  I had wrapped it around my waist to get a measurement, but it ended up too big.  See what I was saying about needing help with the simplest measurements?  I got my sewing machine back in time to do the top casing and the hem, thank goodness.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I like that it's super easy to sew, and it's a shape that I do see in stores.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the finished garment?
It was the perfect thing to throw on after getting out of the ocean or the swimming pool.  It was also useful when I needed to sneakily change out of my bikini.  The poly-ish fabric didn't show that it was wet very much, and dried quickly in the sun.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I might well make it again, in fact I might still rip out the elastic and do it properly.

Construction Notes:
I used wooly nylon for the first time on this project.  I haven't had much luck with twin needling, so I thought I'd give it a shot with a stretchy bobbin thread.

When I started sewing I remember having a really hard time figuring out how I would even get the machine to sew using a twin needle.  I think I was googling "double needle" and not coming up with much.  So if there's anyone out there searching for double needle - here's how it goes:

Wind an extra bobbin, and put it where you're main spool goes.  Some machines have a spot for an extra spool pin like this one.

Then you have to experiment.  Some machines will be happy if you thread both threads at once, some will only be happy if you thread one needle, then the other.  I had the best results when I threaded the right needle first and then the left.

Most info says to loosen the tension a little to avoid the seams puckering, this helped a little for me, but not really that much.  I just can't seem to get rid of the tunneling completely.  In any case, this is probably my neatest and most sucessful twin needling effort yet. (Just in time to be totally envious of Andrea's coverstitch).

Machines / settings used: 
Janome 7318 for sewing after I got it back.  I used a 2mm narrow-ish zig-zag

Brother 1034D serger sew the side and waist seams.
Differential Feed: 1.5
Stitch Length: 4
Stitch Width: 6.5
Tensions:  Didn't manage to record these :(

1. Totally random thing, but it only just occurred to me while I was on this trip, that the song 'Holiday' by Madonna is not about a holiday as in vacation, but a holiday as in the 4th of July.
2. Discussed here by me, but originated here.
3. Yes, you're correct, I just figured out how to do footnotes, and I'm never going to stop!!


Jill said...

I love the fabric print. I've been wondering about the twin needle thing, haven't used one before, but I'm hating the way zigzag looks on my knits.
Your footnotes are hilarious.

Ms. McCall said...

Thanks Jill, it's the print that caught my eye when Cindy was talking about giving away a stack of fabric. I don't mind zig-zags on necklines and swimwear, but I'm not crazy about it, even for construction elsewhere. Having said that, I haven't switched to a straight stretch stitch because I can't bear the thought of having to rip it out!

HeathersSphere said...

Stunning dress! Lovely merge of fabric and style.

Cation Designs said...

Oh awesome!! I'm so glad that you were able to make use of that fabric! I have similar issues with twin-needling, so I'm glad I'm not the only one.

aleah said...

I also love that fabric! And I will confess that I have also bought this pattern, to knock off a tube-with-elastic-waist dress a friend of mine has - I was too afraid to try to draft even two rectangles!
I do a lot of twin needling, but it took me a while to figure it out too. For instance, my old Singer would only do it on the zigzag setting, but my current Bernina must be on straight stitch. For me it was all about tension. I've not tried the wooly nylon thread (in fact I've never even seen that for sale), but I just play with the tension until I get a good zigzag on the back/underside/bobbin thread and that gives me sufficient stretch. Mine also always tunnel a bit, nothing to be done but press the heck out of it. And lust after a coverstitch machine, of course.