The Va Va Voom Wrap Dress – McCalls M6884
Posted on Monday the 11th September 2017 by Sew Sarah Smith
So Autumn is here and Winter seems all too close. Knit Fabric
once again becomes the fabric of choice! I had a good length of this beautiful red Ponte Roma Fabric
; isn’t it just the most glorious colour?! I wasn’t initially sure what to make with it and dithered between a few patterns for a while. It’s a gorgeous quality, beautifully soft jersey with a good amount of drape and, as you’d expect with a Roma, great stretch recovery. After much umm-ing and ahh-ing, I finally settled on the McCalls Sewing Pattern
no 6884 as it requires a good moderate stretch fabric but also needs drape in order to show off the feature gathers at the side waist. I felt that in order to show of those gathers nicely it really required a block colour rather than a print. Decision, finally, made!
I love a wrap dress – they’re a perennial wardrobe staple for me as I think they’re incredibly flattering on every body shape; busty, curvy, pear shaped or ‘straight up and down’ I’ve never seen one I didn’t like on anyone!
I decided on View C with the longer length sleeves. It’s a mock wrap in the sense that it’s actually a pullover dress – it does really wrap and tie at the side seams but has an underskirt. It’s described as an easy sew and it is. The neckline, for example, is finished with a simple turnover hem which I finished using a Stretch Twin Sewing Needle
. This is fine and in line with the ‘easy’ construction process, however, I might be tempted to add a band here next time as I feel this always helps to ‘snap’ the neckline to the body. As it is, it’s fine but I felt the need to add a couple of hand-stitches here to avoid inadvertently spilling out of it!
The neckline has clear marks on the pattern to help judge where it crosses over at the front. However, I marked this area with chalk initially, running a few hand stitches over it, as I find chalk has a tendency to rub off with handling. But not this time! I had a definite ‘eek’ moment when I removed these temporary stitches and found the chalk line had ‘set’ somehow! I’ve since washed the finished dress and it’s almost gone – I’ll not risk using chalk on the outside again!
I sized down overall as I always do with McCalls patterns based on the finished measurements of the garment. I cut a size 16 with a finished bust measurement of 39.5”. I’m a 39” C/D cup and initially it was way to big. I should perhaps have gone down two sizes for a slight negative ease at the bodice. The pattern is drafted in such a way though that the side seams are one of the last things you sew which gives you scope to adjust the fitting. I basted the side seams together to gauge the fit and decided to take out a further 0.5” from the underarm to the curve of the waist. I also ignored the instructions and sewed the sleeves in the flat which meant that I could judge the width of the sleeve at the same time as adjusting the side seams. I took out approximately 0.25” tapering out to 0.5 at the sleeve hem to get rid of excess bagginess there.
The instructions call for easing stitches at the sleeve head but I did feel that there seemed to be quite a lot of excess to ease in here and it required a judicious amount of steam to get them to fit without creating unwanted gathers. Sewing them in the flat also meant that I was able to narrow hem the sleeve prior to sewing them on which I find easier – and quicker – than trying to pin and sew a narrow hem when it’s already sewn in the round. If you wanted you could draft and add your own sleeve cuff which I think would look really nice and again help to get a streamlined fit which I would consider doing next time (just measure the width of your arm at the relevant point and add on seam allowance and, perhaps, a little bit for ease).
As you would expect the Ponte sewed up beautifully – it’s such an easy fabric to work with and this, whilst definitely a Ponte, wasn’t, happily, as thick as some I’ve used. It also meant that I was able to use my Clover Wonder Clips
for most of the pinning which I find really speeds up the sewing process.
I sewed this dress in one day without any major modifications apart from those I’ve already mentioned. I believe the patterns from McCalls’ ‘Misses’ range are drafted for a height of 5’5” – I’m two inches shorter than this but didn’t take anything off the length of the sleeve or the skirt. The pics on the envelope show the skirt as considerably above the knee and I didn’t want this. I am a woman ‘of a certain age’ after all!
There isn’t a great deal more I can say – it’s a lovely quick and easy pattern to sew and because I’ve used a mid-weight jersey means it’s perfect for Autumn/Winter. I’d definitely make this dress again – possibly View A which has short sleeves and omits the side gathers – I think that will be perfect for a lighter weight jersey, perhaps in a lovely print. So I shall stash this pattern and contemplate sewing up that version for next Spring/Summer. Paired with nude heels I definitely feel a bit ‘va va voom’ in this dress!!
Once again, thank you Minerva for sending me the beautiful supplies with which to make this dress!
I’m off to sew up some more winter goodness – you can read about those adventures over on my blog sewsarahsmith.com
Thanks as always for reading, until next time, I hope you ‘wrap up’ warm too!