Sunday, March 08, 2009

McCalls 5574

Yesterday, Lu & I went shopping for sundress patterns & fabric for her. She's as spring crazy as me right now! The first pattern we chose to make is M5574:

I like both bodice views, and I like that the pattern has a "maxi" length version of the skirt. Lu wanted View A (short skirt) and chose a really cute floral white eyelet. She loves florals, and she loves glittery things, so this eyelet was perfect choice. You can't tell in the pictures, but the fabric also has tiny glittery dots in silver.

My gorgeous girl in her finished sundress:

This has a teeny-tiny hem because Lu is 5'3, and most of that is legs! I almost lengthened a little, but sometimes I wonder if I'm being too conservative. She is almost 12 after all, and this is a cute length on her, yet still age-appropriate. So I left it, but used a very small hem (serged edge, then turned and stitched--about 1/4").

Since this was an eyelet, I chose to line the bodice in white Kona cotton, and I added an underskirt of Kona cotton too. I could have used self-fabric for the bodice (as per the pattern) but with the eyelet holes, and the eyelt being fairly lightweight, I went with the slightly heavier Kona instead. The lined bodice has no show-through now.

Note when she moves around (like when she's looking down at yellow cat in this photo) the bodice does pull a little at the V, and stands a bit away from the neck. She has plenty of room (and the dress has an elastic back), so it's not a fit issue. I think it's just an issue with this style of halter that ties behind the neck. It bothers me a tiny bit, but not alot. No one will notice but me!

I topstitched the entire bodice, including the ties, because I think it looks more "finished". The instructions don't show any topstitching. The V turned out very nice, and not too low. I did raise the "dot" (3/8") where you are supposed to "pivot" at the deepest point. I also "walked" one stitch across at that point rather than put the needle down and pivot. You get a nice smooth turn that way without puckers.

This sundress has a double skirt, once in eyelet and once in Kona for the underskirt. Again, this was to prevent showthrough. I trimmed 3/4" off the hem of the Kona so that it doesn't show, even when she moves around. The underskirt is not hemmed, just 3-thread serged on the hem edge. When I attached the skirts, I attached the eyelet skirt first, then the Kona so that they both hang free.

There are no closures, just a tie at the neckline and an elastic back. I didn't use the elastic pattern piece (I never do! They're always too big.) But just cut a piece of elastic 2/3 to 3/4 the width of the pattern piece. This includes about 1/2 inch of overlap on each end for stitching & trimming. Note that it fits perfectly in back now!

The pattern directions were simple & straightforward, and this was an easy dress to make. There is a pattern error though. The back waist piece has the notches in the wrong place (the notches do not match up with those on the front waist/bodice combo). Here is the front bodice & the back waist piece, lined up as you would stitch them. The notches are WAY off.

But as you can see below, if you flip the back pattern piece over, notice that the notches line up perfectly. Except the waist would be UPSIDE DOWN! (That horizontal line at the bottom of the back waist shows the casing stitching.) I'm assuming its a printing error.

The other issue I had with the back waist piece is that it doesn't fit the bodice/front waist piece when they are stitched together! Now, the back waist IS cut on the bias so it has a bit of stretch (so is the front waist) but there is still no way to adequately attach these without some serious ease stitching (to the point of gathering). There's a bit over an inch of extra length on the front pieces:

I fixed this by taking a deeper seam allowance at the waist/front bodice seam, effectively shortening the front by about 1/4". I still had to ease the back to front, but it was much easier and steamed out just fine. I then only took 1/2" seams when attaching the skirt to the waist, to add a tiny bit back to the waistband.

The only complaint I would have for the pattern instructions (for beginners) is that they never tell you to press seams! In a couple of places they say to "turn" seams one way or the other, but a beginner may not know to press. And for the side seams on the bodice (which is lined) it says nothing at all about the seams, although later diagrams show them pressed open. Just something to be aware of if you're a beginner sewist, because this is a great project!

And that's it! Super fast project. It took 2 hours to stitch, minus hand-stitching the bodice lining over the waist seams, but including my extra topstitching! I recommend it for the tween girls in your house!

One more shot of the cutest girl I know...


  1. SUPER CUTE! I love the fabric and fit. What a perfect dress for spring/summer.

  2. 12 year olds are the best. I taught 6th graders for years. Love them!! She may be a 7th grader though. Still love em. The dress is perfect for her age!! She looks like a wonderful kid!!!

  3. Adorable...bring on the sun!

  4. That is such a cute dress, and I love her green shoes!!

  5. The dress looks great and she's so beautiful in it! Great job! And thanks for the heads-up about the pattern issues. You'd never know it from looking at the finished dress- it looks perfect!

  6. What a gorgeous dress on a gorgeous girl. I love that it is open and looks cool to wear, but is perfectly age appropriate. I want this pattern!

  7. The dress and girl are super cute!! It definitely looks like spring is coming!

  8. That dress turned out great. I love it. g

  9. Anonymous8:48 PM

    Cute, cute, cute! And with the warm weather we've been having lately, it's perfect to wear now!

  10. Great dress, thanks for all the finishing details! Super jealous that your weather is warm enough for sundresses! We had so much rain this weekend, I thought we might need to build an ark...

  11. Anonymous11:31 PM

    Great job, and she's rocking those green shoes!

  12. Wao, you got a gorgeous model in a beautiful sundress. I love the fabric and the style on her

  13. Adorable dress and daughter.

  14. That's really cute and I love her shoes!!!!

  15. That is such a cute dress! Your pattern notes are so valuable too. Pattern errors can be such a drag.


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