17 Aug 2012 • • by Heather Lou

Maxi & Relaxi All Cool // McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern

McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Core Patterns
I am one of the many sewists who got wrapped up in the maxi madness this summer. Seeing so many Mission Maxis turned out by SO many talented ladies made me long for one the way your friend’s Facebook vacation photos make you start calculating if you can squeeze out a flight somewhere on your (maxed, ha) credit card.

I stumbled on this really great, soft, striped jersey at a thrift store. It has a nice weight and thickness that I thought would stand up well to some maxi action. However, I did not use the Mission pattern here. During the insane fugue state I entered during the last McCalls/Vogue pattern sale (when the 18 arrived I couldn’t remember or justify most of them) I found McCalls 6559. Great lines and only 2 pattern pieces!

McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Core Patterns
McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Core Patterns
McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Core Patterns
McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Core Patterns

This marked my second foray into bias tape. The pattern recommended turning the neckline and armholes in twice but I thought the finish wouldn’t look as professional so I cut some 2.5” strips and made double fold bias tape; I love the way the striped tape emphasizes the openings. I cut a 12 but took in quite a bit at the bust. I should have  lengthened the pattern pieces by an inch or 2. It’s the perfect length now and since jersey doesn’t fray I’m leaving it unhemmed at the moment. I’m worried hemming it will make it too short.... Also, I am lazy.

McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Core Patterns
McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Core Patterns

McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Core Patterns

The bias tape was  bit of an adventure... took some trial and error to get the perfect amount of stretch to avoid gaping at the armholes. As a result, this dress took quite a bit longer than I anticipated but I could probably knock it off in a few hours if I did it again. I tried my best to match the stripes on the seams but it got away from me. The walking foot is not infallible.

The only change I would make is cutting more of a racerback shape – it didn’t turn out as pronounced as I would have liked and I was too tired of seam ripping when I noticed to do anything about it (see above: lazy).

Needless to say, this is the most comfortable dress I’ve made yet. I’m going up to a rented cottage for a week on Sunday (no internet, no cell phones, just lake floating, bbq, the September Issue and palpable relief) and I don’t think I’m going to take it off!

Now for a question to the wise:

I just cut a high-waisted bikini bottom from the vintage swimsuit pattern I made last month but I am having a dickens of a time getting my bobbin thread to catch. Skipped stitches all over the place. I didn’t really have this problem with the first suit or any of the jersey I’ve seen with before, but this matte tricot is quite slippy and stretchy. I’m using new ballpoint needles, I played with the tension, I sewed it with tracing paper beneath..... I’m lucky if I can get a stitch to catch every 2 inches. I'm planning on serging all the seams but I need to gather the sides and would rather not hand baste all that fabric. Anyone have any advice for me? I’d love to have a new bikini for the cottage!

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