Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Little Black Graduation Dress - McCall 5658

I bought this pattern from ebay last year after letting it go out of print on me before I bought it.


My favorite view of the dress is View B in the red.  It has sat in my pattern stash for a year while I have debated where in the world I could wear a dress like that.  Then, it finally hit me about 2 weeks ago.  I teach in a community college and every year all instructors are required to participate in graduation, unless we have a really good excuse.  We have to don the cap, gown, sashes...all that stuff.  Well, at least we have not had to wear the cap for the past several years.  Before the ceremony, there is a reception of cake, cheese straws, mints, and punch where the faculty, graduating students, and parents hang out and mingle.  My time spent at that reception over the years has become less and less because I don't mingle very well.  Anyway, it hit me that I could make this dress and wear it to the reception (for what little time I spend there).

     I actually made a muslin.  I am getting much better about that.  I used to never make a muslin and because of that have, over the years, ended up with a few, shall we say, "unplanned" muslins.  I am reaching the point in my sewing hobby where I am starting to think they are worth the time.  It sure beats messing up your best fabric.  I am so thankful I made a muslin on this dress, because I had to make some fitting adjustments.  I had to pinch out some on each side of the front band between the bust and the armhole.  I made the marks on the muslin and transferred them to the front band pattern piece here.


                                                                    
Notice that the dart does not come to a point at the bottom, so I had to extend it onto the bodice front piece that attaches to this front band.
bodice front with added dart


Then I slit the front band piece down the middle of the dart and folded the lines on top of each other.
slit down middle of dart
dart folded together on lines
My plan for the bodice front (pattern piece #7) was to just to ease it onto the bodice front band when I sewed them together.  That didn't work.  Either it required more ease than I thought it would or it was the fabric, but I kept getting little pleats and folds showing where I tried to put the ease in.  Finally I just went back and folded out the little dart on the bodice front.  See pic below. 


I don't know if this is the correct way to make the alterations, but it worked and my dress fits.  After making these alterations, I cut out the dress and sewed it according to the instructions.  It was a very easy dress to sew.  I cut a size 12, but had to taper out from 5/8 inch seams to 3/8 inch seams on the sides right above the waist.  This was necessary for breathing :) 

     The pattern only called for the bodice to be lined, but I lined the entire dress.  I had great plans to put studs all the way around the circular band at the neck, but after I put the first one in, I knew that was not happening because I just did not have the time.  They are only on the front square portion between the circular neck strap and the front band.

The studs came from a belt I bought at an outlet store.  My sweet husband removed them from the belt for me.  I have plenty left on the belt for any future projects requiring them.



Here is a pic of the inside of the dress.  I bought this basic polyester lining at my local fabric shop.  If you note, it is brown because the store did not have black.  The dress is made with fabric bought from that same shop.  It is black polyester shantung.

The dress has an invisible zipper and it held together at the back of the neck with clasps for pants.

Finally here is a pic of me wearing it just before leaving for graduation.  Too bad I will have to cover it up after only 30 minutes (all I am spending at the reception) with a cap and gown.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Little Black Graduation Dress - McCall 5658

I bought this pattern from ebay last year after letting it go out of print on me before I bought it.

My favorite view of the dress is View B in the red.  It has sat in my pattern stash for a year while I have debated where in the world I could wear a dress like that.  Then, it finally hit me about 2 weeks ago.  I teach in a community college and every year all instructors are required to participate in graduation, unless we have a really good excuse.  We have to don the cap, gown, sashes...all that stuff.  Well, at least we have not had to wear the cap for the past several years.  Before the ceremony, there is a reception of cake, cheese straws, mints, and punch where the faculty, graduating students, and parents hang out and mingle.  My time spent at that reception over the years has become less and less because I don't mingle very well.  Anyway, it hit me that I could make this dress and wear it to the reception (for what little time I spend there).
     I actually made a muslin.  I am getting much better about that.  I used to never make a muslin and because of that have, over the years, ended up with a few, shall we say, "unplanned" muslins.  I am reaching the point in my sewing hobby where I am starting to think they are worth the time.  It sure beats messing up your best fabric.  I am so thankful I made a muslin on this dress, because I had to make some fitting adjustments.  I had to pinch out some on each side of the front band between the bust and the armhole.  I made the marks on the muslin and transferred them to the front band pattern piece here.

                                                                    
Notice that the dart does not come to a point at the bottom, so I had to extend it onto the bodice front piece that attaches to this front band.
bodice front with added dart

Then I slit the front band piece down the middle of the dart and folded the lines on top of each other.
slit down middle of dart
dart folded together on lines
My plan for the bodice front (pattern piece #7) was to just to ease it onto the bodice front band when I sewed them together.  That didn't work.  Either it required more ease than I thought it would or it was the fabric, but I kept getting little pleats and folds showing where I tried to put the ease in.  Finally I just went back and folded out the little dart on the bodice front.  See pic below. 

I don't know if this is the correct way to make the alterations, but it worked and my dress fits.  After making these alterations, I cut out the dress and sewed it according to the instructions.  It was a very easy dress to sew.  I cut a size 12, but had to taper out from 5/8 inch seams to 3/8 inch seams on the sides right above the waist.  This was necessary for breathing :) 
     The pattern only called for the bodice to be lined, but I lined the entire dress.  I had great plans to put studs all the way around the circular band at the neck, but after I put the first one in, I knew that was not happening because I just did not have the time.  They are only on the front square portion between the circular neck strap and the front band.
The studs came from a belt I bought at an outlet store.  My sweet husband removed them from the belt for me.  I have plenty left on the belt for any future projects requiring them.

Here is a pic of the inside of the dress.  I bought this basic polyester lining at my local fabric shop.  If you note, it is brown because the store did not have black.  The dress is made with fabric bought from that same shop.  It is black polyester shantung.
The dress has an invisible zipper and it held together at the back of the neck with clasps for pants.
Finally here is a pic of me wearing it just before leaving for graduation.  I paired it with some silver
peeptoe heels from Target.