Working out the kinks

For months now I’ve been pattern searching.  Looking for the perfect dress to make for Miss P’s first birthday.  I wanted it to be simple, summery, and carefree looking.  Nothing too fussy or flouncy.  The fabric I chose for her party dress is a gorgeous bright floral pattern, so I wanted to stick with a dress that had clean lines.

I decided on McCall’s M6944.  A sweet summer dress with coordinating bloomers peeking out from under the skirt.  The finished measurements listed on the pattern were vague, so I decided to make a practice dress just to get the feel for the pattern and work out any sizing kinks.   And this is the finished practice dress-

McCalls M6944 | In An OrchardI love the pattern!  The directions were clear, and it truly was easy to sew.

McCalls M6944 | In An OrchardI added some trim to the waist line just to break up the busy pattern (and to hide some sloppy seams)

McCalls M6944 The bloomers I made in a contrasting fabric.  The bloomers gave me trouble, which seems counter intuitive… they should have been the easiest part of the dress.

The crisscross back was what sold me on the pattern.

McCalls M6944 back

The straps are adjustable and simply button on the inside of the bodice.

McCalls M6944So now we get to the nitty-gritty details.  Just because a pattern sews up nicely and looks good hanging on a hanger doesn’t mean you’re home-free.  Fitting is everything!  And that’s were things started to unravel for this dress.

While I was cutting out the bloomers a little voice inside my head kept saying “Man those look big.  They’d almost fit me.”  But I pushed those thoughts aside and kept sewing.  Sure enough…they’re huge.  MC Hammer’s got nothing on these pants.

McCalls M6944 bloomersThe dress is just too big as well.  It is supposed to be loose fitting, but this has a really big pucker in the back right were the straps crisscross.

McCalls M6944

You can see from this picture how much it sticks out in the back.  Sizing is the most frustrating element of sewing.  Pattern companies all size differently.  The store-bought size your child usually wears is not necessarily the size you will end up making for them.  Miss P is a tall girl and a bit big for her age.  She’s been wearing 12 month clothes for several months now, so I was a little surprised when the size 1 (as it’s called on this pattern) was so loose on her.

McCalls M6944Now I have to decide what to do next.  The pattern has a 6 month size (or as they call it 1/2 size…which is just dumb), but I’m worried that it will still be too big.  The bloomers are just ridiculous and not even worth trying again.  I think I’m going to cut out the smaller size, and make another practice top out of muslin.  I’m going to scrap the bloomers all together and use See Kate Sew’s, bloomer tutorial.  If that doesn’t work, I’ll make her birthday dress using Rae’s tried-and-true Geranium pattern.

I still haven’t given up on the pattern!  I just think she might need to be a little older and a little bigger before it will fit right.

So, the moral of the story: listen to the voices in your head, and make the practice dress out of cheap fabric instead of darling fabric you actually like.  Hopefully this will fit her next summer!

EDITORIAL NOTE:  After reading this post, my friend Aliya, cleared up some of the sizing problems I was having.  The sizes on the pattern are listed like this: 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 4.  I assumed that the 1 was equivalent to a 12-month size.  Aliya explained that the 1/2 is actually the 12-month size.  Which would make the 1 approximately an 18-month size? I guess?

7 thoughts on “Working out the kinks

  1. Aliya

    I thought mccalls 1/2 was basically 12 month. at least that is what i have always used it as based on measurements.

    1. April Post author

      Ahh! Well that’s probably my trouble right there. I assumed that size 1,2,3 were equivalent to 1 year, 2T and 3T. The only finished measurements listed on this pattern was the length of the shoulder straps. Hopefully the 1/2 size will work then! Although it doesn’t seem much smaller than the 1.

  2. Jenny K.

    I am sure that little body looks cute in just about anything, but I know what you are going for, and those bloomers are huge! Good thinking to do a trial run. That little dress will look good in the Fall too!

  3. Clarita

    That little dress is simply adorable! On the hanger it looks perfect! I would have been dreadfully disappointed to have the finished product on my little girl and then see several things that just do not work. Disappointing and frustrating! And I would not have known that about that the sizing either – one of the hardest things in sewing is that every pattern IS different, and it just takes practice to figure out what works. I wish there would be some kind of across-the-board sizing policy!

  4. Kathy

    I am SO glad I am not the only one who had trouble with the bloomers! Not only do they not go together like the pattern says (the pieces just don’t fit!) I’m pretty sure they would have fit a 6-7 year old very easily!
    I also had a little trouble with the top pieces fitting together as they were supposed to but at least all the pieces went together. Sizing is absolutely off, I’ll just put the top away and bring it out next year when my granddaughter should be able to wear it.

    1. April Post author

      The sizing really was frustrating! Which is too bad because I think it could be a darling outfit. I think I’m going to try it again next summer :)


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