Long Distance McCall’s 6559

View C of McCall’s 6559 is an extended vest basically; the sort of dress that’s cheaper to buy than make.  But I’ve become enamoured with the more interesting version E of this pattern and have convinced myself that I should make it for my friend Nataša who – and herein lies the problem  –  lives in another country.  I hardly ever see her 🙁  This slightly baggy production serves therefore as our muslin and, since I sent the dress to her in the post, these photos are in place of a fitting.

I started with some soft, thick stretch cotton in invigorating blues from Fabric House (£3.50 a metre) and cut the pattern to the bust, waist and hip measurements that my friend emailed.  Funnily enough, we‘re the same height and weight but differently distributed with me a base-down triangle and Nataša the inverse.  Once the dress was finished, it appeared to hold her shape and looked like the dresses she wears on the beach and boat.  But I realise now that instead of sizing it 12-10-10, I could have gone 12-8-8. 

A couple more notes on the pattern: the armhole and neckline seam allowances of 1.5cm are meant to be folded under twice and stitched which I thought would make this simple dress look even more cheap basic so I invested a bit of effort in making binding.  If you do so too, remember to trim off 1.5cm from armholes and the neckline.

Also, I’d caution against the advice in the instructions to stretch the fabric slightly as you sew.  This might work for sergers but I conducted a little experiment on strips of fabric, sewing alongside the ribbing as well as across the ribbing with both a straight and a zigzag stitch.  With both, the fabric kept its shape better when it wasn’t being stretched during sewing.  See the puckering and tunnelling in the ‘stretched’ examples? 

Of course, the moral of my story isn’t do as I say.  It’s conduct your own experiment

Ever sewn long distance? 


10 thoughts on “Long Distance McCall’s 6559

  1. I do sew long distance (Australia – Germany) but only for my friends daughter who is nearly eight. I haven’t been brave enough to sew for my friend yet! Things I’ve made Miss M either fit or are a little too big (room for growing?). The biggest thing to get my head around is the different seasons eg. our winter is their summer!

    • Sewing for little girls is so much fun, makes a beautiful gift and lasts so much better when there’s room to grow!

      But Germany-Australia…. I dread to think of the postage! 🙂

  2. I’m really impressed with that binding. How do you get it so neat?

    I’m interested in your experiment with the different stitches. Did you sew the dress in straight stitch or zig-zag in the end? I’ve read that you shouldn’t use straight stitch on jersey fabrics because it doesn’t have enough give and could break when the dress is being worn, but a very experienced friend of mine tells me she often uses a straight stitch and rarely has any problems.

  3. I thought this was your sister! How alike you both are. Do you share the same taste in clothes too? Thanks for the testing strips, I’ve always wondered about stretching while sewing and now I know.

  4. I’ve never sewn too long distance. Just for my nephew but I can always pop over to his house and re-measure or fit. This dress is very cute!! So summery and fun.

  5. Long distance sewing is very brave of you – I find it hard enough to get the right fit when I’m in the same room as myself. Sometimes, it seems to me, the tape measure reading has no bearing on what will actually fit your body. I remember – back in the day – I had my wedding dress made for me and despite all the measurements being meticulously taken, when I arrived for the second fitting it was miles too big for me all over and had to be radically altered. Maybe I have some sort of shape shifter body.
    Anyway, as already said above, lovely job with the binding and thanks for the little demo on stretching whilst stitching stretchy fabrics – and for the tongue twister.

  6. I’ve only sewn for friends and family who live locally but I think it would be a cool idea to sew long distance for a sewing bloggers swap! Great dress 🙂

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