McCalls 6989: DIY Navy and Black Lace Dress with Cuffed Sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

Hi Readers,

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:

McCalls 6989: line drawings

McCalls 6989: 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.

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

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.

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

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.

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

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.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

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.

Pattern Sizing:

6 – 22

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).

Fabric Used:

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.

Conclusion:

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!

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

McCalls 6989: navy and black lace dress with cuffed sleeves

 

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About sewmanju

I love to shop, but I also love to sew my own clothes, and am currently on a mission to improve my (fairly basic) dressmaking skills. I confess to going into shops and being outraged at the prices of some (not very well made) garments (is it an age thing?) and think "huh, I could make some thing at least as good as that for less" (is it something to do with coming from the Indian subcontinent?) So this blog details my sewing endeavours, both good and bad....I love to nosey through other people's sewing projects....now everyone can get to see mine.

21 responses to “McCalls 6989: DIY Navy and Black Lace Dress with Cuffed Sleeves”

  1. Nakisha says :

    It’s gorgeous. I was eyeing laces on my last trip to the fabric store for a lace skirt so this is timely 🙂

    (I dont like to muslin either! Lol!)

    It looks fantastic on you and version #2 will be even better!

  2. stitchedupsam says :

    This looks lovely on you. You obviously had a more exciting Christmas Eve than we did – we spent the evening watching TV and eating a Chinese takeaway! Oh, and I hate muslining too!

    • sewmanju says :

      Who loves muslining? I am sure there are some “fastidious” people out there who get a kick out of it. We went to the candelit carols service at church then drinks and nibbles at my sisters. Any excuse to get dressed up!

  3. JenL says :

    Pretty dress – and I especially love the lace sleeves!

  4. NancyD says :

    I think it looks lovely on you! Rich and festive and ladylike. You’ve made me want to hunt that pattern down.

  5. Judi says :

    Your lace dress is pretty and the mother/daughter picture is sweet!

  6. Beth (SunnyGal Studio) says :

    wow I think it is very pretty, and so sophisticated. Despite some troubles you mention I don’t see any issues and it came out very well. Happy New Year!

  7. Alicia @ Pandora Sews says :

    Manju, I think the dress turned out beautiful! I would not have thought to put navy over black, but it looks so rich. Very feminine and sophisticated.

  8. Kirsty says :

    I love this on you and the sleeves, in lace, are such a lovely feature. I am glad that you persisted through all those adjustments!

  9. Tomasa says :

    I think the dress is very pretty and you look so elegant in it. The lace is gorgeous. I do think you should adjust the skirt. It’s such a pretty dress!

  10. Levone says :

    Beautiful dress and it looks great on you!

  11. Julie says :

    It’s a shame you aren’t happy with this dress after all the work you have put into it. I think the only problem with it is that it is a little big on you 😦 Great workmanship though!

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