McCalls 6989: DIY Navy and Black Lace Dress with Cuffed Sleeves
I hope you all had a wonderful, peaceful, happy christmas. This dress is my latest make for White Tree Fabrics. They provided the fabric and the pattern (of my selection). Whilst I genuinely do love the lace, I am not so sure about the pattern itself. Here’s the lowdown!
The pattern is McCalls 6989, which is a Melissa Watson pattern for Palmer and Pletsch. Here’s the line drawings:
The sleeves are, without doubt, my favourite part of the dress. They are actually a two part sleeve that is designed to sew in with no ease. I french seamed the sleeve pieces and used a recycled diamante button I had in my stash.
The rest of the pattern….I am a bit….meh about.
The bodice is designed with armhole princess seams. Obviously, I didn’t do a muslin (I hate doing muslins and will generally tissue fit where possible). I did a two stage FBA using Fit for Real People, adding 1.25 inches to the front piece, and 1 inch to the side panel (does that sound a lot?) Yep. The bodice ended up huge, and I removed 2 inches from either side seam (i.e. 4 inches in total!) I also dropped the apex point by 2 inches.
So, also, in case you’re wondering, I swapped the skirt out for a pleated skirt. The main reason for this was I didn’t have enough fabric to cut the skirt as in the pattern. I actually think that skirt would have been nicer. I ended up shortening the skirt by 2 inches and further shortening the bodice by about 0.5 – 1.5 inches. Philip pointed out to me that the skirt does seem to be dipping low in the front and I think he’s probably right. Sigh.
I also inserted an invisible zipper and cut the fabric on the cross-grain so that I could use the scalloped edge as the hem of the skirt.
The lace fabric is a cotton leaf flower lace in navy. It is a lightweight netted lace which is beautiful. The whole dress (except the sleeves) is underlined (not lined) with lightweight black satin. I am not going to lie. When I initally tried to sew the satin with a regular needle it snagged terribly, so I switched to a Schmetz microtex needle after which there was no problem. I overlocked all the seams inside. Don’t forget you can always get 20% off all purchases AND free delivery any time you feel like simply by quoting SEWMANJU.
Dresses have collar band, princess seams, semi-fitted bodice, raised waist, and back zipper. A: self-lined sleeves. B and C: collar, two-piece sleeves gathered into button cuffs with seam opening. C: bodice cut on crosswise grain and skirt on bias grain.
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Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
The bodice part, yes. Due to fabric constraints I swapped the skirt out for a pleated skirt. I think it would look better with the gored skirt in the pattern.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes and no. The sewing instructions are fine. The fitting instructions (this is a Palmer and Pletsch pattern) were a little strange. No instructions on how to do an FBA, although the lines are marked on the pattern. I would have thought that would have been the most common adjustment sewers would make? But there is no guidance on it. Also, note, no body measurements are included on the pattern instruction sheets (only on the envelope flap), and there is no mention of needing buttons on the notions section of the envelope.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
My favourite part of the dress is the two piece sleeves which set in with no ease and the button cuffs. I am not sure about the rest of the dress…(including the high neckline on me).
All fabrics were provided by White Tree Fabrics. I used a navy cotton lace underlined with a lightweight black satin.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I did a two stage FBA using Fit for Real People, adding 1.25 inches to the front piece, and 1 inch to the side panel (does that sound a lot?) Yep. The bodice ended up huge, and I removed 2 inches from either side seam (i.e. 4 inches in total!) I also dropped the apex point by 2 inches and did a 1 inch sway back adjustment. As mentioned above, Due to fabric constraints I swapped the skirt out for a pleated skirt. I think it would look better with the gored skirt in the pattern. I don’t think the front is hanging straight with the back. The question is, can I be bothered to go back and adjust it? 🙂 I did end up shortening the skirt by 2 inches and shortening the bodice by 0.5 – 1.5 inches.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
You know, I might sew it again, with the collar perhaps? I think it has potential….for me, it needs more work. I would recommend with caution! Hey, we are all individual…it might work brilliantly for you.
I wore this dress on christmas eve and I felt comfortable in it and I didn’t feel bad wearing it. Maybe with time/ an adjusment to the front to get it evened up I might love it a little more!
Until soon….best wishes for the new year!