Wednesday, April 16, 2014

McCall's 6884: Tie-Dyed Knit Wrap Dress


I almost tossed this fabric in my donate/scrap box of stuff but pulled it out to give it new life.  It was a plain, bright white... I'm on a fabric dyeing kick so I did some fun experimenting with this super stretchy, soft bamboo rayon spandex knit.  Why did I want to toss this material?!  I used it once for this cowl top... but after washing it, the material took on a hazier dull white.  So of course a bright pink tie dye job was in order. I used liquid Rit Dye in Cherry Red in very hot water.  I followed Rit's recommended dyeing directions for rayon fabric.  It spent maybe 20 minutes in the dye bath.



I used McCall's 6884 for this mock wrap dress.  I really, really love the look and feel of a classic wrap dress on me... it can be super fancy or quite casual like this one.  I cut a size 14 and graded to an 18 for the hip-- I made the skirt slightly more a-line to work better with my figure, the pattern is a straight skirt.  It's essentially View A but with View B's skirt.  I added 1.5" (3.8 cm) to the bodice length.  I also lowered the ties about 2" (5 cm)... they were really high up, like right under the bustline... I read a few reviews of this pattern on PatternReview.com that said the same thing.


This dress is stupid easy to sew.  They should label it that... "Stupid Easy".  I didn't follow their recommended directions.  They want me to SET in the sleeves? Uh... no way.  It's much easier to attach the sleeves to their spots rights before I sew up the side seams... that way I have one quick zip up the side with the serger and the dress is done.


This house I took photos in is at one of our favorite parks here, Cylburn Arboretum.  It was built in the 1910's and has these sprawling, amazing gardens... I feel like I should have been wearing something Downton Abbey-esque to fit in better. Now that's a juicy staircase and wood floor!!


My rayon knit fabric is so stretchy (about 80%!)  and needs to be stabilized on the shoulders and neckline.  I used my favorite iron on bias tape, Pellon Easy Knit Tape.  I ironed it along the entire neckline as well as the shoulder seams prior to sewing them together.  I usually cut the bias tape in half (I did for the back neckline still before I decided otherwise) but wanted to try using the whole width of the tape for the neckline/bodice edge.  I only needed half the width for the shoulders.  I then serged the edges to help keep the tape in place wash after wash.


I then folded and ironed the seam over.  I top stitched it with a single, long stitch.  I usually use a twin needle to top stitch knits.  What?? No twin needle?! The function of a twin needle is to create a stretchy and flexible lines of stitches-- here my seam is NOT meant to be stretched, the bias tape makes it un-stretchy and perfectly stabilized. I could have used a twin needle for the look of it, but who wants to set up another spool of thread if you don't really have to?!


Now my seams are happy and stable.  I don't think the pattern even recommends anything for the seams like this.  On the other hand, the pattern is meant for a "stable knit", i.e. a ponte or double knit with little stretch... mine is VERY stretchy.  You still would need something to stabilize your seams on even stable knits, not sure why McCall's skips this.  You could even use that clear plastic elastic if you're in a pinch, but I HATE that stuff personally. It sews up well and looks decent on the outside of a garment but it's soooooo uncomfortable against the skin.


I left my sleeve and skirt hems raw.  From my experience, this fabric never frays or unravels at all.  And I think I permanently broke my camera just seconds after taking this last photo.  It crashed down on the pavement... for the fourth time in two months.  Poor camera.


20 comments:

  1. So cute! I keep looking at this pattern and putting it back. Now I *HAVE* to have it! :)

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    1. Thanks Nakisha.... yes, this dress would be perfect for you!!

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  2. Nice dyeing effort.
    Thanks for the pellon link. This is the sort of notion that does make knits stupid easy to use.
    Does this mean a new camera with more bells and whistles?

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    1. Thanks! I'm going to fiddle with the camera and see if I can slap it back to working order... maybe a fancy camera is in order!!!

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  3. Your tie dye is super, it is the perfect way to salvage a neglected fabric. You are rockin that mock wrap,and look summer ready!

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    1. Thanks Melody :) It secretly was really cold today for such a dress but I'm ready for warm days.

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  4. Oooh, I love this! The tie dying makes it! And this color is super flattering on you.

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    1. Thanks Gail!! I secretly really like tie dye (when it's matched up with a more refined silhouette... but I do have a few fun tie dye shirts I made camping with friends I wear as pajamas,)

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  5. Super dress! You look great in it, and the dye job is something I would not have thought about. How creative! By the way, when I went to the Original Sewing and Quilting Expo, one of the instructors mentioned that the instructions for the Big 4 patterns are "automated" and done without any logical thought. She said there is a person who pulls up a lengthy database of information, and basically clicks the ones that are relevant to the pattern he/she is working on. I don't know if it's true, but it makes sense because a lot of the pattern instructions are so counter-intuitive (not so with a lot of Indie patterns) The way you chose to sew your dress up seems much easier!

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    1. Thanks... and that is really fascinating to know about the directions. I had no idea. This really makes sense... I feel like this is such a major revelation for me! I get so annoyed with some of the directions, then sometimes they are decent.

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  6. A great idea to dye the fabric to get more use from it and a lovely dress that I am sure you ill wear a lot!

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  7. This is fab, the style and the stylish tie dye. Well done - must be great to wear.

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  8. Fabulous dye job, and lovely house! You do your photo shoots in the best places.

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  9. Great dress and love your photo locale. I always learn more about sewing with knits from you! Sorry about your camera. I've certainly been there and have done that....

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  10. Love it!! That house is certainly beautiful, but the dress does look more at home against some greenery and flowers :)

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  11. What a great dress and I love the technique using the Easy Knit Tape. Have never used it but after seeing yours I will certainly be adding it to my ever growing sewing supplies.

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  12. Love the dress!...great photos!..

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  13. Oh it's gorgeous!! Such a very flattering cut on you - it looks wonderful! :)

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  14. Just the information I needed for the wrap dress I am making. Thanks! Dress looks great on you, too. I never knit about Pellon Easy Knit Tape. Wonderful! Thanks.

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  15. How much fun your dress is Kathy! I can't believe I don't own this pattern! I think I must get it now and I just love your dress!

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