Monday, April 25, 2011

Vintage McCalls 6179: The Alterations & the Verdict

As you may have guessed, the general silhouette of clothing (and thereby, women) was different in 1962. This pattern's bust measurement matched my own, but the other measurements were a different story completely.

The waist measurement is 25" (mine is 28) and the hip measurement is 34, while mine comes in at 37".  To determine how much ease the pattern has, I compared the flat pattern measurements to those printed on the pattern envelope. The results:

Bust: 1.5" of ease
Waist: 2"
Hips: 2"

Which meant that I needed the pattern's final measurements to be 1.5-2" larger than my actual measurements to allow me some breathing room. :)  In total, I needed to add 2" to the waist & hips. Which amounts to 1/2" at each side seam. Just for good measure, I added 1" seam allowances. Just in case. 

I sewed up my muslin, and it looked pretty good, but I was concerned that there would be too much strain on the zipper in the waist area. I let out the waist a smidge (5/8" per side seam). Then I put the zipper in. (I'm so proud of myself, I put it in by hand-using Tasia's tutorial) Once I put the dress on, I realized it looked a little...frumpy.  After consulting with Austin (my husband/fashion consultant) he stated a few things:

"The fabric is...pretty boring" This is just my muslin, picture it as hot pink with white polka dots.
"It looks unfinished" It is unfinished, honey. This is the practice version. Use your imagination.
"It seems too long" I agree. I'll take the hem up a bit. 
"I don't know, It just doesn't show any curves."  

Bingo!! Now, I consider us some-what conservative. That & my clothes need to be comfortable. I'm chasing after 1 (if not two) children at all times, it seems. I don't do skimpy. Or skin-tight. But, that being said, I was envisioning this dress to be a little more...Joan (just a little!!). So, I put the waist seamline back where it originally was & shortened the hem line. By 2 inches.

And it is better. But it is not quite what I have in mind. The very design detail that I first fell in love with, the yoke, is it's down fall. And the sleeves aren't helping any, either.  I've done a lot of thinking about this & I just don't know that I would grab this dress out of my closet. There's just something about it.  Maybe it just isn't "me".

As sad as I am to see that this particular dress won't work for me, there were a lot of good things that came from the time & energy I put into the muslin.

I no longer fear vintage patterns. In fact, I found this pattern's instructions to be very straight forward & easy to follow. Also, it was easy to add inches where they needed to be.

I did my first hand-picked zipper & it turned out wonderfully. I also have a new outlook on muslins. This cheap, boring fabric saved me from cutting into (and ultimately, wasting) my chosen fashion fabric. 

All this talk & not a single picture of my muslin. Consider it a favor ;)  I do have quite a few smaller projects in my que, so there should be some finished objects real soon.


  1. It's a shame that you ultimately decided against it, but you are definitely right - that's what muslins are for! I hope your next project is more successful.

  2. Your muslin saved the day! Sorry to hear about things not working out as you intended, but glad you learned a lot in the process.


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