McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
Sewing Projects

Maxi & Relaxi All Cool // McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern

I am one of the many sewists who got wrapped up in the maxi madness this summer. Seeing so many Mission Maxis turned out by SO many talented ladies made me long for one the way your friend’s Facebook vacation photos make you start calculating if you can squeeze out a flight somewhere on your (maxed, ha) credit card.

I stumbled on this really great, soft, striped jersey at a thrift store. It has a nice weight and thickness that I thought would stand up well to some maxi action. However, I did not use the Mission pattern here. During the insane fugue state I entered during the last McCalls/Vogue pattern sale (when the 18 arrived I couldn’t remember or justify most of them) I found McCalls 6559. Great lines and only 2 pattern pieces!

McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns

This marked my second foray into bias tape. The pattern recommended turning the neckline and armholes in twice but I thought the finish wouldn’t look as professional so I cut some 2.5” strips and made double fold bias tape; I love the way the striped tape emphasizes the openings. I cut a 12 but took in quite a bit at the bust. I should have  lengthened the pattern pieces by an inch or 2. It’s the perfect length now and since jersey doesn’t fray I’m leaving it unhemmed at the moment. I’m worried hemming it will make it too short…. Also, I am lazy.

McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns

McCalls 6559 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns

The bias tape was  bit of an adventure… took some trial and error to get the perfect amount of stretch to avoid gaping at the armholes. As a result, this dress took quite a bit longer than I anticipated but I could probably knock it off in a few hours if I did it again. I tried my best to match the stripes on the seams but it got away from me. The walking foot is not infallible.

The only change I would make is cutting more of a racerback shape – it didn’t turn out as pronounced as I would have liked and I was too tired of seam ripping when I noticed to do anything about it (see above: lazy).

Needless to say, this is the most comfortable dress I’ve made yet. I’m going up to a rented cottage for a week on Sunday (no internet, no cell phones, just lake floating, bbq, the September Issue and palpable relief) and I don’t think I’m going to take it off!

Now for a question to the wise:

I just cut a high-waisted bikini bottom from the vintage swimsuit pattern I made last month but I am having a dickens of a time getting my bobbin thread to catch. Skipped stitches all over the place. I didn’t really have this problem with the first suit or any of the jersey I’ve seen with before, but this matte tricot is quite slippy and stretchy. I’m using new ballpoint needles, I played with the tension, I sewed it with tracing paper beneath….. I’m lucky if I can get a stitch to catch every 2 inches. I’m planning on serging all the seams but I need to gather the sides and would rather not hand baste all that fabric. Anyone have any advice for me? I’d love to have a new bikini for the cottage!

  • Carolyn

    I’ve always found that a small zig-zag stich works better than a straight stitch on stretchy fabrics. You can’t really gather a zig-zag stitch, but if you do the zig-zag over a thick thread (like jeans topstitching thread) or over waxed dental floss, you can pull on the thread/floss and it will gather up the stitches. You usually have to leave the zig-zag stitches in, but you can pull the floss out after you stitch up the gathers. This also works really well for heavy upholstery-type fabrics where ordinary gathering stitches would be too weak to pull up.

  • Sassy T

    The maxi is the BUSINESS!! Sorry can’t help re bikini am only a beginner lol

  • Kerry

    It’s lovely – can’t beat stripes for classic style. I love how you accessorised it too.

  • sallieforrer

    You are so freaking hot!! I love this dress on you – and oh my god those shoes! The whole look is so awesome – your hair and accessories… perfect! Nice go with the bias binding. It does look super neat! I can’t really help with the swimsuit issue though… thats a head scratcher! Good luck, and have fun at the cabin!

  • love. your. dress. and those yella accessories!

    on the bathing suit, you might need a stretch needle rather than a ballpoint. schmetz makes both… I tried their topstitching pack once, and since then I’ve bought every variety they have.

  • Cirque Du Bebe

    You and dress look fab. Love the stripes and what a thrift store find. I had the same issue with my first mission maxi that remains unblogged, it needed about 3 inches added to the bottom so I left it unhemmed.

  • Val

    If a stretch needle doesn’t work try a fine universal needle because it sounds like your needle is bouncing rather than piercing the material. Check your bobbin area for collected lint too. A cheater’s tip about gathering – run a large loose line of serging along the very edge of the material you want to gather then pull the two straight lines. This can all be cut off later as it is within the seam allowance.
    Nice dress!

  • SO MANY GREAT TIPS!! I’m gonna try my new stretch needles… if that fails the fine uni… if that fails, serger.

  • Thank you! I almost cried when I found this fabric. I think it was pricey for someone…

  • I think I was buying the schmetz while you were typing the above. Gonna give it a go… now.

  • Thank you my love! Those shoes are from Payless of all places and still give me toe blisters after 2 months of constant wear but I don’t effing care because I love them.

  • Danke!

  • Thanks Sass!

  • Zig zag wasn’t working either but I’m going to try again with my fancy new stretch needles. Thanks Carolyn!

  • Lovely dress, and you look cool and sophisticated in it!

    I sometimes find a longer stitch length helps with skipped stitches, but if you’re gathering I guess you have it pretty long to start with!

  • Beautiful dress! I love your styling, too. Those sunnies are fabulous. The bias bindings were a good idea – I think they make a big difference! Also, I think matte jersey might require stretch needles. Try those next!

  • LOVE this dress and love the styling! You look fab! Hope you have a great vacation!!

  • I need this pattern! I have seen so many variations on the blogs. I love the stripes. The fit looks great.

  • Tiffany McGuire

    LOVELY job! I just worked up the same pattern and pretty much had the same points (wish it had more of a racerback–should have added a couple inches). GREAT shape on it though and you can’t beat 2 pieces! 🙂

    You’re bias binding is fabulous!