Ladies and gentlemen, I have found my official pattern for summer — McCall’s 6559. This knit tank dress pattern (post-tweaks, of course) is nearly perfect — easy, casual, chic, and comfy. On top of that it is quick and easy to sew up since it only involves two pattern pieces plus neck and armhole bands. My fabric for this dress was one of my treasures from last year’s NYC trip. I don’t know the exact fiber content but I would guess some viscose and elastane. It is a lightweight, soft knit with great recovery.
I strayed from the pattern instructions (didn’t even look at them, actually) for the neckline and armhole binding. I have never been satisfied with the bands that most patterns call for so when Lauren at Lladybird posted about this binding method from Megan Nielsen, I was all over it. I LOVE the results and don’t think I’ll ever go back to the bands unless I have a fabric that is uncooperative. I stabilized my neckline with knit staytape from Emma Seabrooke and used Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 and a twin stretch needle for my hem. I have gotten so many compliments on this dress, especially about how professional the finishes look.
As with all Big 4 knit patterns I have encountered, this one runs huge so I just based my size choice off of finished pattern measurements, going with a 12 in the shoulder, grading to a 14 at the bust/under the arms for a cheater FBA, tapering in to a 10 at the waist and then back out to a 14 at the hips. If I had gone by the measurement chart I would have cut a 16 in the bust, 14 in the waist and an 18 in the hips!
I started with a wearable muslin from a sturdy cotton knit and realized that I would have to make all future versions with a center back seam if I wanted it to fit my figure. I had to take a 3/4″ swayback adjustment and then added a 1″ wedge back in over the derriere to accommodate for the swayback adjustment plus some for the junk-trunk.
There will definitely be more versions of this dress in both the long and short varieties. On the next rendition, I think I will go ahead and trim the seam allowances down to 1/4″ for serging and I will raise the neckline a bit to make it more work-friendly. I will also take a bit more out for the swayback adjustment so it hugs my low back better. Finally, because my fabric is a bit heavy, this dress could use some reinforcement in the side seams to support the weight. I will be adding some clear elastic to the seam allowances from the underarm to the hip to prevent stretching and will keep this in mind for future versions if the fabric is really stretchy. I don’t think it will be an issue with less stretchy knits.
So what do you think? Could knit dresses be your go-to this summer?