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Dia & Co

Sewing
McCall's 6754 Rocker Dress

The Rocker Dress

Are you ready to rock?!

After one abominably large house-wearable muslin of McCall’s 6754 (also known as the “Rocker Dress,” per Professor Pincushion), I have completed the real thing. This is make #2 of my summer sewing plans, and I love it!

McCall's 6754 Rocker Dress

McCall’s 6754 Rocker Dress

Note #1: Sorry for the wonky lack of contrast. My good camera is on loan to a friend.

Note #2: I suffer from Bitchy Resting Face.

I swear, it feels like I’m smiling when I take these photos!

Anyhooo, back to the dress. I made view B of the dress, which as modeled has a lace/semi-sheer main fabric with a tricot underlining. For my version, the main fabric is a red/blue/multi mini floral burnout polyester blend jersey knit from Fabric Mart. (Note – it’s on sale right now for $2.80/yd). It’s lovely and I would buy more if I didn’t just double my stash through the 50% off sale they had the other day. (I’m drowning in fabric… send help!) The lining is a 40 denier light blue nylon tricot from Fabric.com. It’s silky like lingerie and feels so lovely!

This pattern is listed as intended only for 2-way stretch knits. I mentioned my abominably large muslin – the envelope sizing on this pattern is WAY off for knits! This was my first McCall’s pattern ever, so maybe that’s just how they run, but here’s how my experience went. My measurements right now are 42 high bust, 46 full bust, 42 high waist. The size XL is 42-44 bust and 34-37 waist. The size XXL is 46-48 bust, 39-41 1/2 waist. When I cut by my full bust measurement, it is almost always too big in my neck/shoulders, so I cut the top as XL and graded out to XXL at the waist (figuring in knits that the 41 1/2″ would be close enough to my measurements to work). I started sewing it up, and when I tried on the bodice, it was just hanging off of me. I took at least 2 inches off of each side seam, and at least an inch from the shoulder seam. The dress was just huge, but I made it work well enough to add a lounge-around dress to my closet.

To adjust the pattern for round 2, I compared the bodice and skirt pieces to my known-to-fit Colette Moneta pattern pieces. Holy crikey! No doubt, the McCall’s pattern was enormous. I was feeling too lazy to re-trace the pattern, so I just adjusted the side seams to match the width of my Moneta pieces and hoped for the best. It worked!

McCall's 6754 Rocker Dress

McCall’s 6754 Rocker Dress

Once I finished this version, I dug out the original pattern pieces to compare to my modified ones, just to see what size I really ended up with. It was just a smidge over a Large (16-18) – not even XL. That’s pretty wild, considering I could’ve easily cut a straight XXL, based on the measurements on the pattern envelope. This pattern runs BIG.

I had a heck of a time cutting out the fabric. The tricot was slipping and sliding and stretching like nobody’s business, and I didn’t have quite enough width to get the full circle skirt out of my back piece (so there’s a wedge of a half inch by a couple inches of selvedge showing on the back seam, womp womp). I must have stretched the tricot while cutting it, because it was a good inch shorter than my main fabric when I went to sew it all together. As a result, I had to shorten the length a bit and will in all likelihood wear this dress with leggings, so as to avoid flashing strangers and friends. Because I care. Speaking of, what the hell – my knees have gotten ugly in my old age. I wonder if running did that. Hmm. They feel fine, so I suppose that is what really matters.

To assemble this dress, I finally tried out my sewing machine’s walking foot <insert round of applause>. Wow – it made a phenomenal difference. I am now kicking myself for not finding it in time for my Bombshell swim suit assembly. You can bet it will get a ton of use from here on out. It’s a little clackity-clacky, but the noise is beyond worth it. If you’ve never tried a walking foot, it’s got feed dogs that move fabric from the top, in conjunction with the feed dogs that are on your machine, under the fabric. It attaches to the needle arm, so with every stitch, both the top and bottom feed dogs are working their magic to keep slippery fabrics from moving around as you sew.

That said, I’m still quite glitchy when it comes to things like finishing necklines and hems. It’s OK, though. I’m getting better at it.

The instructions (and Professor Pincushion’s tutorial) both recommend a straight stitch for this dress, but that did not make sense to me, since it is sewn with stretchy knit fabric. Wouldn’t the threads pop more easily? I went with a zigzag stitch.

I also skipped the elastic waistband, as it really doesn’t seem to need it if you cut the bodice to fit properly.

Random side note: pinning and hemming a full circle skirt is its own special kind of hell.

This dress will likely make a rockin’ debut at a Dave Matthews Band concert next weekend. Woohoo! Another successful addition to my Secret Pajama dress collection.

McCall’s 6754 Summary: 

Time to complete: if doing a lined version, 5 hours. Basting the lining took an eternity, as did removing all of the basting stitches. It’s more of a 2-3 hour dress if done up in an opaque/unlined jersey knit.

Fabric/Notions: 2 yards main fabric, 2 yards tricot lining.

Size cut: just a smidge over Large. This pattern runs 1-2 sizes big!

Adjustments: skipped the elastic waistband.

Things I’d change next time: lengthen the skirt a couple inches.

Are you rocking out this summer? Or just rocking in? Either way, it’s all good!

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