Friday, June 15, 2012

Summer Dress McCalls 6346

Sewing Level: Easy

McCalls 6346 View C is a great pattern choice for a summer dress. The design could be a casual day dress or sophisticated evening wear depending upon your fabric choice.  You can add layers of flounce and trim as well.  Most important, this pattern is well drafted which will provide good fit for most sewers. The drawstring at the neckline and sleeve hem eliminate common fit issues in the bust, neckline, and armhole areas. The eight waist darts remove excess circumference smoothly. 

I know the pattern drafting is excellent because I first made the garment up in unbleached cotton muslin.  The center back zipper opening was pinned badly by a complaining male teenager but you will see that fit is good.
Dress Front
Dress Back
I cut the pattern a size 12 from neckline through bust and waist, then blended a size 14 for the hips.  The eight waist line darts (four front four back) make for a smooth transition between bust, waist and hips.  Normally I fit correct the pattern back at the waist for sway back but even that adjustment is unnecessary.

The dress is five inches too short for my taste.  A hem line flounce will add four inches of length to the dress so I will simply lengthen the dress front and back one inch.  Since the pattern has only three pattern pieces and I have done my fit work, I anticipate the sewing will take only three hours. 

I cut the dress first in a $5.99/yard Donna Karan remnant found at Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, Illinois.  The bolt did not list the fiber content, and my guess is a 60" wide rayon/acetate blend.  I constructed the dress seams with a 4 thread over lock.   The flounces were hemmed with a narrow rolled edge on the over lock.  If I didn't own a serger, I would use french seams for the side seams.  I would run a ribbon along the flounce edges.  You could turn under a 1/4" hem on the flounces but you will be hemming for a few hours.  The assembly order is:   

  1. Stitch the eight darts; press to center front or center back
  2. Stitch the side seams
  3. Stitch the sleeve underarm seam
  4. Join the sleeve to the armhole
  5. Stitch the center back seam from hem to bottom of zipper
  6. Insert invisible zipper
  7. Neckline casing
  8. Sleeve hem casing
  9. Hem and attach flounces
  10. Mark darts
  11. Final press
Mark your darts well since they are essential to the design.  I use tracing paper.

I spent 15 minutes cutting out the three pattern pieces, and 2.5 hours sewing the dress.  Then I spent 45 minutes hand sewing a beaded trim above each flounce.  Here is the result:

When I make the effort to create a muslin for fit correction, I will usually sew the design at least three times to maximize the benefits of fit work.  I also made up the pattern in a red cotton/lycra pique for very casual day wear.  The pique was $3.49 per yard at Vogue.  

I love prints but you will seldom see one on this website because prints are difficult to photograph well.  This dress would be great in a print. 

If you have just a few hours for sewing, consider trying this pattern!

A word about shoes:  For decades you would have seen these dresses styled with black shoes.  The current trend is to wear nude shoes.  Find a shade that matches your skin tone well.

Happy sewing!

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