"Why in the world did you pick this name for your blog?" ...so glad you asked...

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Story of the Graduation Dress

I said in my last post it would be a saga that I would be telling, but I think it's like having a baby, you forget the bad details in the fog.  So this really won't be such a saga after all.

I used the bodice of McCall's  6647 because of the great cut-out in the back.  I wasn't thrilled with the skirt on it because I was looking for something long and floaty this year.  I did a muslin from a thrifted sheet that I just keep cutting up for muslins.  The great thing about this pattern is that it has cup sizes.  I still haven't ever done a small-bust adjustment... and I still didn't have to with this. Hooray!
There are darts beside and below the "girls" and the bodice is fully lined.  I got a little confused when sewing the lining to the bodice, but it really was no fault of the directions.  I thought to myself, "I've done something similar to this in a little girl's dress before.  I'll just wing it."  Somebody slap me next time.  Turns out, you can't turn something right-side-out after you've sewn up a complete circle on the back.
Once I got out my seam ripper and followed the directions, it went smoothly.
I thought the back was heart shaped by the way the envelope looked, but no, it's a circle.
You know what the most awesome thing about this was when I finally got the bodice done in the actual fabric and tried it on?  I discovered I was going to be able to wear a bra!  That's a total plus in a pattern with back interest.

Then here is where the difficulties commenced.  Instead of describing ALL my troubles and how I fixed them, I'll just tell you a couple.

I was a bit concerned about the skirt of McCalls 6698 not fitting the bodice since it was, after all, made for a different bodice.  I figured it might be a little big, and therefore, sag in the back or something.  
Instead, I encountered the opposite problem and was completely unprepared.  The skirt was actually too small in the circumference of the waist.  I had to skimp on my seam allowances and do some eyeing of side seams.
My other concern/issue with the skirt was how to put three layers together and not have an exposed seam at the back waist.  I could have just done some bias tape made from the same fabric, but I really didn't want any stitching showing there.
I ended up sewing the middle and long layer as per the instructions (laid atop one another just as the skirt hangs when finished) but I sewed the shortest outer layer to the skirt while it's right side was facing the wrong side of the longest layer.  So I sewed the shortest outer layer to the inside of the skirt essentially and then flipped it over the other layers to the outside to cover the seam.

Wanna see the whole finished dress?

I do have to mention that each of those three tiers felt like it was a mile around when hemming.  The dress was just a big, slippery blob that I kept having to readjust as I worked my way around and around... and around those hems.

I felt really good in it even though it did fit like a (tight) glove.  The fabric flowed wonderfully when I walked and made me feel like I was totally appropriately dressed to be at the water's edge at a yacht club... which is exactly where we were.

That's me and the Graduate.  He's a for-real radiologist now.  I might finally start to feel like a for-real seamstress one of these days.  Everything I make that I am proud to wear gets me one step closer. 


  1. You did awesome! I want to be you when I grow up. And congrats to the grad. Great accomplishments, both of you.

  2. Oh you look sooooooo beautiful - this is seriously a triumph! Nicely done

  3. wow !!! I LOVE it!!! I am terrified to sew a mcalls/big 4 pattern after a few disasters - but that is pretty!

  4. Absolutely stunning! I would be thrilled to wear something this beautiful!!

  5. WOWZERS, this dress is absolutely beautiful!!!!! Where'd you get that fabric?