A Labor of Love

Posted on | August 3, 2015 | 10 Comments


I finished the last stitch on my Liberty print McCalls 6696 on Saturday and I’m in love! I feel so silly for delaying this project for so long, it was a very hassle free project.

This is actually the second time I’ve made this dress. I stitched up a wearable muslin version at the end of April, in addition to an actual muslin sans collar. I wasn’t taking any chances with my precious Liberty print! The fit on my solid black version was pretty spot on and the dress was so comfortable to wear. This time around, I reduced the height of the collar band and the collar. Since the top button is supposed to be worn open, the original collar just felt a little too overwhelming in a 70’s way on me. I did notice that once sewn, the shortened collar didn’t want to stay down in the back to cover the band seam, so I just used a catch stitch at the center back to invisibly secure the collar down.


I pulled out all the stops for the construction of this dress. First, since the Liberty Tana Lawn is a bit on the sheer side in white, the dress got a full underlining in cotton voile. The underlining not only helps with the sheerness, but also helps stabilize the main fabric. The underlining was basted to the main fabric entirely by hand, it was a lot of work but not as bad as it first seemed. The only piece that skipped this treatment was the second yoke piece. Three layers was enough in that area. The collar, waistband and button band were all interfaced with silk organza. Again, all basted in by hand.


Seams and darts were all properly pressed on a seam roll or tailors ham with all loose ends hand sewn back into the seam by hand. In couture sewing, back stitching is not used since it adds bulk to the seam. The seams were then finished with a hand overcast stitch. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it actually does stop the fabric from fraying. I stitched up all the seam edges while chatting on the phone and it went pretty quickly.


The hem is bound with a 1/4″ double fold purchased bias tape and secured with a blind catch stitch which only catches the underlining. Nothing shows on the outside. Can we just stop a minute and admire this beautiful hem? I’m so in love.


The armholes are finished with a purchased 1/2″ single fold bias tape. Daytona didn’t have what I needed, so I just purchased the double fold 1/4″ and ironed out the center fold. Worked perfectly!


It’s hard to see because it’s clear, but I also added an extra button on the inside of the button band just below the waist seam. This helps keep the placket from pulling in that area. I had this problem with the first version and I think I’m going to go back and add a clear button to that dress as well.


The final verdict? Love, love, love, love, love! This is by far the most work I’ve put into any sewn garment I’ve ever made and the end result really shows. I felt total invested in every part of the process and I learned so much. I’m a total convert to couture techniques and hand sewing. Not all of my makes will get this special treatment, but throwing in a hand stitch or two will certainly never hurt anyone, let alone a one of kind piece made just for me.




P.S. This is my 500th post! This dress is the perfect way to celebrate.



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  • Laura Chau

    It’s so gorgeous M! Perfect use of Liberty!

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Thanks Laura!

  • http://craftsanctuary.com/ Craft Sanctuary

    This is so beautiful! I love the colors! They’re so delicate and summery. THAT HEM IS GOLDEN too :)

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Thank you so much! I just wish I hadn’t delayed this project so long, it could have enjoyed a longer summer of wear. Oh well, there will be another summer next year!

  • http://craftsanctuary.com/ Craft Sanctuary

    Kind of how I feel! I’ve been so busy all summer, I’m just sitting down to sew my summer stuff now. There’s always tights and cardigans, though!

  • Grace

    It’s magnificent! Great job! It looks so comfortable and cool too. I have to try this pattern.

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Thank you! It’s a great pattern, apparently it’s really made the rounds in the sewing world. You should definitely give it a try.

  • http://piecesandlove.blogspot.co.uk/ caroline GJ

    So beautiful! Perfect to the details.

  • http://neoknits.com Melissa Wehrle

    Thank you Caroline!

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