Sunday, September 1, 2013

McCall's 6074-Summer Sew Along #2, Day #4

Note: this post comes a day early so some people who move at a faster pace can finish the dress. I posted day #3  earlier this morning.

Today we'll finish the dress! This involves hemming the armholes and the bottom of the dress. I found the instructions for the final hem unnecessarily complicated, and I'm not a fan of that type of hem either, so I hemmed it just like we've been hemming everything else on this dress: with a narrow hem.

If you're not caught up through step #8, visit day #1, day #2, and day #3 of this sew along first. We'll start at step #9.

9. For views A, B, D: Finish armhole edges of dress with a 5/8" narrow hem.

*If you're making the reversible variation of this dress, you should have already completed your armholes when you finished the "all in one facing," described here.

You already know how to do a narrow hem, but the armholes add a new level of complication. It is a fairly tight circle, which makes it difficult to stretch/not stretch the fabric as you go. It is more difficult to avoid bunching and to maintain the right amount of stretch under the arm. I'm not 100% pleased with my armhole, so I'll include some tips I thought of after the fact to make yours fit better.
Finished armhole. Mine isn't perfect, see below for tips!
My tips armhole tips: 
  1. Try on the dress to see where the armholes fall. Fold the 5/8" hem in place. If you armhole is too high (i.e. right at the base of your armpit with very little additional room), lower the base of the armhole by ~1/2". Just cut it right off before starting. I don't think your armhole will be too big if you change it by such a small amount. 
  2. Use a fabric marker to indicate where the 5/8" fold should go. I have a habit of making the hem narrower than it should be, especially at the bottom of the armhole, causing the hem to dig in a little too high.
  3. Stretch your fabric a little more than you have been as you complete the base of your armhole. Mine wasn't quite stretchy enough upon completion.
Steps 10-13 don't apply to you unless you're adding sleeves to your dress. If you are adding sleeves, I'm happy to answer questions, but I won't include the details here since I didn't add sleeves.

14. Turn up a 1-1 1/4" hem on lower edge of dress. Baste close to fold. Machine-baste 1/4" from raw edge. Pull up bobbin thread and adjust fullness; shrink out with steam. Baste upper edge in place 1/4" from raw edge. Topstitch along upper basting. Stitch again 1/4" below first stitching.

Say whaaaat? I don't know why the instructions want you to use such a complicated hem, especially when they recommend a regular narrow hem for view B (the one with a contrast fabric at the bottom). Just do a narrow hem! You already know how! If you like a different style hem or want to try the one the pattern describes, go ahead, it's totally up to you.

You also don't have to stick to their recommended 1" to 1 1/4" hem. Try on the dress and decide where you want it to fall. Trim the dress to 5/8" longer than you want it, and then make the hem.

*If you're doing the maternity variation here, you should have a lot of extra fabric at the front of the dress. Don't hem all of it. Try on the dress and decide how much extra you actually need/want, and trim off the rest.
Making a narrow hem
Finished narrow hem
That's all! I hope you found the pattern easy (or at least doable), and that your knit fabric behaved during the sewing process. Now, put on your dress, and find something exciting to do, like, I don't know, buy a new car!
New car!
I don't like how it makes me look shapeless
below the bust, but it's definitely very in
style right now!
The final dress, ugly couch in the background

The finished product, front and back

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