Tuesday, 28 June 2016

McCalls 6696: An Epic Tale

Hello again lovely people! Today I come bearing a pretty dress, a tale of happiness and wild despair and then returning happiness. This dress has been... a saga, to say the least. And just as a heads up, this is a picture heavy post. And... it's long. Very long. You've been warned!

Let's get the particulars out of the way first though, shall we? This is McCalls 6696, a gorgeous button down shirtdress everyone and their cat has already made. Yeah, yeah, once again I'm late to the party. But I am glad I waited this time. This is View B, with sleeves and gathered skirt, in a size 14. It fits perfectly. And I adore it.

It started off so well. I had 4 yards of this lovely Kaufman Essex Linen Blend fabric in a lovely light blue (they call it Water) from fabric.com which I had originally intended to make a Victorian style dress from Black Sails. However, after not finding a pattern that already worked, and fully realising that I wouldn't wear the dress, or have the skills needed to make it, I decided to instead use the fabric for my first M6696. After all, I would have spare fabric in case I should make a mistake.

(Max, in Black Sails. Super awesome right?
Just not practical, unfortunately.)

I cut the dress before the Sewaway in Port at the beginning of the month, and started sewing it during that weekend. I got about halfway (judging by the number of steps anyway), having assembled the bodice and sleeves, and having the skirt pieces pleated and ready to go into the dress. Thanks again, ladies, for the help you gave me over the course of that weekend! I came home in high spirits.

(This was where I was up to after the weekend - 
one day, I might use this pattern to make a jacket!)

This was my first time with buttonholes and a collar, but they went in perfectly over the next two weeks. I was so happy and over the moon, to have an amazing dress that fit so well! The only adjustment I made was to move some of the buttons around to avoid gaping at the bust. After a few sore fingers, it was finished, so I put the whole dress through the wash to remove the fabric marks from my water soluble pen. That's when the trouble started.

(Pre buttons - it turned out so well for my first effort!)

The dress came out of the wash looking exactly the same. It was then I Googled my pen (a Chako dual end with both air and water soluble inks)... and realised that by ironing it, I had apparently ironed the marks in permanently. Sigh. I then tried washing the dress on a hot cycle, which is when it started really falling apart. This is what happened:

(My actual buttons on the left - and on the right, the one that 
looked nicest after the hot wash...)

My gorgeous vintage market buttons were ruined. And the marks were still there. That was the part where I scrunched up the dress, threw it on the floor, and maybe had a small tantrum. Then I tried a few more things to remove the marks. Stain remover? Nope. Bleach? Nope. What other options did I have? Change the entire dress colour!

(A saucepan of purple!)

One vat of dye on a Friday evening, some replacement stitching (because I used poly thread, but natural dye), a little bit of cheating (I may have used purple Sharpie on some of the visible stitching...) and a new set of wooden buttons later: I have a dress that is finally finished. AND I LOVE IT. More will be made - once I get over the trauma, and the button sewing. And I already have more of those gorgeous floral buttons and plans to buy more of the same fabric so that I can have the dress I imagined. I also have some pretty Liberty which I have grand plans for - the day after our wedding we are organising a get together barbeque which I think it would make a perfect M6696 for!

(The photos for this dress were taken at the newly refurbished Meadowbank Wharf)

Special thanks goes to the Boyfriend, for consoling me when I was upset, and helping me troubleshoot and dye the dress. I would have thrown it in the bin without you.

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