Thursday, 18 July 2013

We can't go on together with suspicious minds: McCalls 6700

I am venturing further into knit territory. At first I dipped my toe in the water and made a Briar, then I adapted the Briar pattern into a long-sleeve basic straight hem t-shirt, then I part-exchanged my old overlocker for Bob, my new Brother overlocker, and things started to get REAL.

So with that experience under my belt I thought it was time to pull out the big guns and make something a bit more lavish.

I chose another McCall's pattern, this time a long maxi dress, which is now going by the name of the 'Suspicious Minds' dress. I'm not quite sure why, but I figure I haven't given 70s Elvis nearly as much attention as 50s and 60s Elvis', and I don't want him to think I don't love him anymore, or that "yeah, you're looking a little porky, no rudies tonight I'm reading 'Gone Girl'".

Furthermore, a maxi dress has that 70s vibe about it and this one in particular made Elvis suspicious because it gives a little emphasis to the bewbs. He should be grateful though, I found this fabric on a market stall OUTSIDE of Rolls & Rems going for a grand total of £5 for 2.5 metres, so more money for jumpsuits and gold.

 Hands on hips, point bewbs, FIRE!

I feel like I am slipping into a mini love-affair with McCalls. After the flamingo romper and now this, I am convinced we are like peas and carrots. Everything fits pretty much as it should and the patterns are easy to work with. 

This dress didn't take any time at all. I cut my size going by the measurements on the envelope and just hoped for the best. First up was the shoulder seams - they are elasticated and required a small piece of elastic being sewn over the seams, which was pretty straightforward. The only tricky part of this dress was the thin ties (seen on the photo of the back). Turning these probably killed a small part of my soul. I took to lying on the bed in the sun and just did them bit by bit. Afterwards, I felt like I had been strumming a guitar all afternoon my fingers were that sore. I used a loop turner and basic elbow grease, but does anyone have another tried and tested method? (FYI, using a needle and thick thread didn't work either).

The ties then had to be sewn over the shoulder seam, so through the seam and the elastic. That was a little tricky to keep neat but I survived. 

After the ties fiasco everything else came together in a flash. I used my overlocker to sew up and finish the side seams of the skirt and bodice, and then my favourite pet, my walking foot, to sew up the tricker bits and the hems. I didn't get any wavy seams or hems on this. One trick I found was as the material is moving under the foot, push it slightly to create some 'slack' and that should help prevent any waviness.  I also reduced my foot pressure.

I totally recommend making the investment in buying a walking foot. They're not only fun as they look like the AT-AT Walkers from Star Wars, but they seriously work and help your sewing. 

  My walking foot. If I like you, I put a sticker on you

Other features of this dress include a mock wrap bodice on both front and back and an elasticated waist.  Everything is really quick and easy to do, and it's easy to adjust the placement of the mock wrap sections should you require it to be more fitted or if your bewbs need some space. 

The waist tie for this dress is so long though, I reckon I could use it to escape out of the window in the event of a fire, or just a novel way of leaving the house. Not sure why they make it that long, but I assume it's to be double wrapped around the waist line, which I have done here as I stand next to a street lamp. These are my first photos using a self-timer and mini tripod. It took forever. Think I will revert back to my assistant, Mr S, in future. 

Outside party central: Chez Szabo

Overall, I am really pleased with this dress. It made its debut at Canada Day in Trafalgar Square and after  I washed it, I warily tried it on and everything has maintained its shape, bazinga! 

Canada Day with Mr S. Yes, he has a transfer stuck on his head. 


  1. Love love love!! I think I'll cut out a maxi dress tomorrow.

  2. This is adorable! I don't have many knit dresses in my wardrobe - I'm just a woven kind of gal I suppose - but I do have one maxi and it's lush, and making one such as this is very tempting. You and Mr S look so darling in that photo - did YOU put that transfer on his head?

  3. I absolutely love this, especially the way the zigzags are diagonal on the bodice. It has a real Missoni vibe. Well done!

  4. i love this length on you!! I totally thought Missoni as well.

    Isn't there a special turning tool that looks like a thin knitting needle with a hook on the end?? (She says having no idea if it really exists or she just dreamt it).

  5. Ms Chic is so right - pure Missoni. I think DreAmy's talking about a bodkin. It's like a knitting needle with a hole in the end; you stick it into the tie, sew thru the hole and push it through. (Is it me or does that sound rude?)

    1. Haha I am totally referring to Amy as 'DreAmy' from now on!!

  6. Excellent maxi! In the best way possible, it totally looks shop something from Monsoon maybe!

  7. This looks fantastic, you can really rock a maxi dress Mrs. S. And your walking foot has a monkey sticker on it. HEE HEE HEE HEE, I want one.

    I have one of those "Quick turn" tools for turning spaghetti straps but I've never found them to work any faster than the elbow grease way.

    Now I'll be singing "Suspicious minds" for the rest of the day and I don't mind that at all.

  8. I love this, it's absolutely gorgeous on you. And you have reminded me that I need to get my arse into gear and make myself another knit maxi. I dream of buying a walking foot, but they are so ridiculously expensive for my machine. Christmas maybe...

  9. That is cool-it looks great on ya-vertical chevrons is something different. Also thanks for the laughs. Re the last pic: I saw the thing on his forehead and immediately thought, "she liked it so she put a sticker on it" XD

    PS I use a regular foot for knits and it works just fine. I decrease the thread tension by a notch for slinky stuff, everything else is good as is.