crafts · finished objects · Sewing

McCall’s 6559: maxi tank dress

Pattern: McCall’s 6559

Fabric: ITY knit from (sold out)

Notions: twill tape for shoulders, contasting knit for binding


Apparently I’m a big fan of crazy prints.  I bought this print from last year, and upon receiving it I loved it – but I also knew that it had to be made into a dress without seams.  This print deserved to be seen as a whole!  I thought about a tank dress, but I worried that I wouldn’t like it – I generally prefer my dresses to have a waist seam, because it makes it easy to fit.

I decided on this pattern because it was so simple. There are only two pieces to cut.  The pattern calls for turning under and sewing the neckline and armholes, but I felt it needed a more finished edge.  I ended up sacrificing an old knit dress and using the fabric for the binding.  I’ve done that several times – every garment in my Goodwill pile gets scrutinized for other uses first!

I used the back piece from the other view because I prefer the slight racer back.   This isn’t much of a racerback, as I was able to wear a normal (if slightly close set) bra.  The only other alteration I made was in the shaping – I ended up cutting a size 8, blending to a 10 at the hips.  After basting I realized that I needed to take in the top by several inches to get the fit I had in mind (I wanted negative ease, but there was nothing wrong with the way it was drafted.)

I constructed the entire thing by serger.  I only used my machine to top stitch the binding!  That’s one of my resolutions – to use my serger for actual construction, not just for finishing edges.  I’ll admit that it’s a little terrifying to cut as I sew, but it’s so much faster!

I highly recommend this pattern.  One of my more fashionable friends saw it today and said “Did you make that?  I think it’s my favorite thing you’ve made!” Another friend said “I totally thought that had to come from a store.”  While storebought isn’t my aim all the time, I appreciate that it doesn’t  look badly homemade!  I would suggest making your own binding, as I don’t think a turned edge would look nearly as nice.  Just cut a strip of knit fabric (doesn’t have to be on the bias for knits) and sew (or serge) it in place, right sides together.  My piece was about 2 inches wide.   Then trim your seam down to however wide you want your binding (or just use the serged edge, that’s what I did.)  Press over, so that the seam is enclosed by the binding and top stitch.  Trim close to the stitching on the wrong side.  You could make real binding with turned under edges, but I didn’t bother since this is a knit and won’t fray.

I have not hemmed it yet – I’m waiting to see if it stretches!  This afternoon I wore it with a sweater for teaching:

I’m pretty much failing at me-made-May this time around, so this will do.  I had good intentions, but I have had so much to do this month.  There are some exciting things going on, and I’ll be sure to post about them as soon as things settle down.  I have two weddings to sing this weekend – must be June!