December 8, 2015

I had a winter wedding to go to recently for a good friend so I decided to make up another version of McCalls 6886 because I liked my last one so much. It really is a great pattern with a lot of room for modifications and both easy and fast to sew up. After seeing some ready to wear dresses that I liked with long sleeves and exposed zippers I decided to give it a try. I knew that the zipper going the whole length down the back was risky – could either go high end or trashy depending on little details and fit – but what fun is sewing if you don’t try new things every once in awhile right?

The fabric is a wool/poyester knit blend that I bought at Mood fabrics in NYC. I liked the busy, abstract print because I thought it would be more forgiving and hide body imperfections more than a solid would. It is really soft and thick and not itchy at all which I was worried about since it has wool in it. I bought the zippers all from SIL in the garment district. They are all gold metal zippers on black.

I obviously made quite a few changes to the pattern to achieve what I was going for. I raised the neckline to be a closer fit and also added a facing instead of turning it under and stitching, just because I thought it would look a little more high end. I also made the dress quite a bit more fitted than the original pattern. To do this I just put it on inside out and pinned it until the fit was right. Most of the width was taken out of the sleeves, waistline, and below the hips.

For the exposed zippers I used this tutorial which I had used on my last version as well. The zippers at each wrist were pretty straight forward and easy to put in, but the back zipper proved to be tougher. If you decide to do anything similar I suggest two things. First, be very sure that the fit is spot on before adding the zipper. I thought that my fit was good, but the knit fabric can conceal some issues. After putting in the zipper it was obvious that I needed to take a bit of length out of the back above my waist and the zipper just made it worse. There wasn’t much I could do at this point so I did end up with a little ripple in the zipper right around my back bra strap. The other tip I have is use fusible interfacing to stabilize the hell out of that back seam. I fused long strips of 1 inch wide interfacing along both edges before sewing and that made all of the difference. If you don’t do this then your fabric will stretch slightly as you sew and you will end up with a very wavy zipper. In the end it wasn’t perfect, but it was as close as I could get without recutting the back.

The dress was perfect for the wedding and I am glad that I have another winter dress in my closet that is easy to wear with either heels or black boots.

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  • Reply Carolyn December 8, 2015 at 8:36 AM

    This is stunning on you! I’m definitely copying this for a dress for my daughter. Hope you had a good time at the wedding wearing that amazing dress!

  • Reply Emma December 8, 2015 at 9:11 AM

    Va-va-VOOM! You look so fantastic in this and I love the exposed zipper!

    • Reply Testosterone December 12, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      Zippers, and legs for days!!!

      Va-va-VOOM, indeed!

  • Reply Amanda December 8, 2015 at 9:26 AM

    Agreed, you look stunning in this dress! And I love your backdrop. I have stretch woven fabric from Metro that I want to use with this pattern and was contemplating a similar silhouette. Hope yours gets lots of wear!

  • Reply oonaballoona December 8, 2015 at 9:31 AM

    HELLO NURSE! you’re a knockout! so beautifully done, kelli!

  • Reply Clio December 8, 2015 at 11:06 AM

    Gorgeous! You know, I think this is one of those patterns that is a real winner, but gets overlooked because the envelope photos/drawings doesn’t really sell it.

  • Reply crab&bee December 8, 2015 at 1:50 PM

    I am loving black and blue together these days! And with the gold zips, wow! Love the fit, too.

  • Reply Tasha December 8, 2015 at 3:40 PM

    So beautiful! The fabric sets it off. I love it.

  • Reply sallie December 9, 2015 at 7:54 AM

    You look so gorgeous! This color and style suits you perfectly, and I love the addition of the long zip!

  • Reply Sara in Stitches December 9, 2015 at 11:32 PM

    Dude, I love this. The wrist zips are awesome. I can think of a lot of my patterns that would suddenly be a lot less “homemade” looking with that detail! Great fit, and with the color and lines of this dress, the back zip doesn’t come off tacky in the slightest. Worth the risk!

  • Reply Fabric Tragic December 10, 2015 at 5:41 AM

    Lovely! I love a slinky long sleeve knit dress!

  • Reply Camilla December 11, 2015 at 5:11 AM

    Stunner of a dress. I love the addition of the zips, it really makes the dress. Great choice of fabric too. You look amazing.

  • Reply Lauren December 16, 2015 at 3:56 AM

    Oh wow I love it. Weird question: is it awkward to sit down….in other words does the zipper rub your butt? Sorry I didn’t know how else to write it. 🙂

    • Reply True Bias December 18, 2015 at 7:17 PM

      haha, i didn’t notice anything. maybe if you are in in scant underwear, but i have some serious spanx on 🙂

  • Reply Kathie Jones December 19, 2015 at 9:14 PM

    That is one well made, well fitted, well drafted and heck-of-a-gorgeous and classily-sexy dress.
    Very well done. <3

  • Reply Gail December 20, 2015 at 11:46 PM

    Stunning dress. Love the back line.

  • Reply M6886: The “FINALLY!” Dress « Ginger Makes… December 28, 2015 at 3:45 PM

    […] then I just couldn’t seem to make the time for one! Then, a few weeks ago, Kelli posted her smokin’ hot version, so when I got invited to Man Friend’s work party, I knew just what to […]

  • Reply Danvillegirl December 28, 2015 at 6:30 PM

    One, I love this pattern. Two, but I really like your version with the zippers. I am going to consider this for my next version. A great looking dress!!!

  • Reply kristin December 28, 2015 at 11:17 PM

    Smokes, lady, this is really amazing! Fit is perfection, you look great.

  • Reply Abu Saeed January 29, 2016 at 1:46 PM

    I really like this colour on you. Great dress. I really like the styling here too. Very cute color.

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