McCalls M6590- Pattern Review

McCalls M6590- Pattern Review

Hi everyone! I thought we’d kick this week off with a pattern review. As someone who is relatively inexperienced in commercial patterns, I can give you a good review and hopefully sort out the confusing bits for you. (Because they are confusing to me too!)

This dress has two skirts options, two bodice options, and two sleeve options. There are also three collar options, and three or four front panel options. I love mix and match patterns. By my calculations, I can get a bajillion different dresses.

I chose a funky retro print and a vintage inspired floral print. They clash brilliantly and I love the combination. I draw it to help me visualize the design. Then I change my mind. Twice. I finally decide on this:

The floral fabric is a little thin, you can see through it a tiny bit. See what I’m talking about? I’ll interface the collar & button panel, and make a “liner” for the diaper cover & waist sash. It’s for fall so the extra layer can help keep Sofie warm.

I like it when you can fold your pattern to size evenly and it will lie flat. Some patterns won’t lie flat if you fold it to a smaller size. This usually happens in really curvy areas such as armholes, hips, and certain necklines. When this happens, you’re supposed to transfer the pattern piece (in the size you need) to paper…but I normally just use a fold and snip method instead. I wish they’d print those pieces in each size and save us the trouble.

This piece (#7) really should be transferred. It was a pain to cut out using my fold & snip method.
(Patterns with a gentle curve are no problem. Tissue paper can be manipulated some. I iron mine flat after folding. This piece just wouldn’t cooperate.)

I never used commercial sewing patterns until i started making children’s clothing. With women’s wear, I drape my design, then transfer it to paper. Designing your own pattern gets you a nice, custom fit. Despite the folding, I do love getting multiple sizes in a commercial pattern. Kids grow way too fast!

Here I’ve sewn my pleats into the front of the bodice, and attached the tie ends, & attached the front bodice to the back bodice at the shoulder seams.

My next instructions are, “Prepare, insert, and stitch side seams in the same manner as View A.” Really? Insert what? Huh? When they do this, I wish they would say,”follow steps number ___ to ___ in view A.” This would be much less confusing. I read it several times (?) and refer to view A.

After much deciphering, I’m assuming the want me to prepare and insert the button panel. The problem is, view A dress has a longer bodice than my choice, view D. Look at my dress, then look at the pattern instructions’ illustration.

Ive lapped the button panel where the buttons will be later. I don’t know if they want me to stitch along the waistline, like in the illustration, or at the bottom of the front panel. I look at the cover photo on the patterns package, and decide they must mean to stitch along the bottom, since the button panel extends below the waistline. The instructions say to “catch the triangular end in stitching”, and I had no idea what triangular end they were referring to.

I later discovered that they meant to catch the triangular point on the skirt where the slash is, but I had no way to know that, since it said we were attaching the button panel to the bodice…but didn’t say we were attaching it to the skirt as well.

Next I’m inserting the sleeves. The sleeve has a slight gather, so I’ve sewn a gathering stitch along the sleeve cap. The directions indicate that I should stitch the sleeve around the shoulder, then sew the sleeve shut. I couldn’t stand it, and I’m not sure why. I had to sew the sleeve shut first, then insert it into the shoulder and pin. I’ve always done it that way, but maybe I’m kind of a weirdo. I also add a little ruffle when I insert the elastic to finish the sleeve.

Now that my dress is coming together, I realize that my small pieces of the floral fabric are getting lost in the design, it has a bigger print so we are losing the floral details. I decide to add an apron before attaching the skirt.

Can I mention again how annoying it was figuring out how to pin and sew the skirt to the bodice while keeping the button panel in front and open? And is everyone also understanding that its because of a lack of clear instructions? I just wanted to make sure :) I wish I could be a pattern tester. I’m pretty sure a lot of people using commercial patterns get turned off by this.

I have another problem to sort out too. How do I finish this mess inside? I like clean serged seams inside my garment. I ended up having to tack this in by hand. Not fun.

Well, let me hem the skirt off, finish the inside, install the collar, and put together the booties and diaper cover….

Im all finished now. I must report, there were more poorly written instructions for the collar. Will I use this pattern again? I will probably suffer through it again, only because Sofie looks so cute. But, if it were the first commercial pattern I used, I’d have never tried another one.

Look at this baby! She looks like the little girl from Hansel & Gretel! Oh, she’s just such a sweetie.

Of coarse she won’t sit still, but I’m doing my best!

The big kids are home from school…all hope is lost for our photo shoot! See you later this week!

About The Author

Amy Mayen

Hello. I'm Amy and I'm addicted to sewing. I borderline-hoard fabric, buttons, & patterns. Sometimes I wish I could pile my fabric up on the floor and just roll in it!

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