floral neoprene dress | M6754

I snagged this digital print neoprene from a local fabric shop for a few dollars a yard. I had no idea what I was going to do with it at the time—impulse buy if there ever was one. Not long after I was digging through my pattern stash and pulled out McCalls 6754. A quick consult on IG as to whether or not it was too loud (haha nobody ever says “no!”) and I was off and running.

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This pattern was fairly popular a while back, so I had a handful of reviews to check out. Most people gave it the usual “too big” review, and many complained of the straps being too wide set. Usually McCalls has finished measurements on the tissue, but not this one. I didn’t want the bodice to end up too tight (neoprene is stretchy, but not crazy stretchy) so I aimed for about zero ease. My measurements put me in a Medium in the bust, and a Large at the waist/hip.

McCalls 6754

After measuring the pattern pieces, I went with a Small , but added about a half inch to each side seam, and cut a Medium in the skirt. The bodice has a fairly large waist dart, so I reduced the dart, then removed the same amount from the side seam. I should have just done a standard SBA, but I guess I was feeling lazy. To fix the wide strap issue I simply nudged the strap in by a 1/4″, blending into the original neckline and armhole. I also raised the back neckline by 1″, and the front by 1.5″. One inch in the front probably would have been sufficient, but I wanted to keep it at a comfortable height. The back bodice is drafted with a CB seam, but since there was no back shaping I cut it on the fold (same with the skirt). Lastly, I raised the armhole by 3/8″ and blended into the original seam line.

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I’m not big on the “turn and stitch” method for knit necklines, so I trimmed the seam allowances down to 1/4″, and used strips of knit fabric to do a bias facing type finish. Then, I topstitched all the bindings on my coverstitch.

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I constructed the bodice on my sewing machine and serged the seams after. Since there is only width-wise stretch, there was no point in using the serger for vertical seams. Plus, I wanted to be able to adjust the side seams if necessary. I did use the serger to attach the skirt; there is no zipper in this dress, so I needed to keep the waistline stretchy.

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I did a simple rolled hem on the serger to finish the hemline. I didn’t see any point in fighting with the fabric and trying to press and top stitch a hem—this stuff can’t hold a crease. (Okay, I say it can’t hold a crease, but after cutting I noticed there were some wrinkles in the fabric I couldn’t press out. Probably why I found it in my discount fabric shop to begin with!) While cutting, I added an extra inch to the length just to be on the safe side. Coupled with my lack of hem, the skirt is basically lengthened by 1 5/8″.

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I am completely in love with how the dress came out. It’s so bright, and spring-like, and fun! Initially I was worried that the skirt would end up too sticky-outtie in the neoprene, but it ended up with just the perfect amount of body. This pattern is definitely made for heavier knits like ponte, doubleknit, and neoprene. I wouldn’t bother with any fabric lighter than those.

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obligatory.

As far as the sizing, my alterations did the trick and I’m happy with the fit. I still have maybe 1″ of ease at the waist, but I’m okay with that. One thing that would have saved me some trouble would have been doing a petite adjustment above the bust. I haven’t quite figured out how much I need to remove (somewhere around 3/8-1/2″) but I think it’s time to add that to my standard list of adjustments. That will save me some of the neckline, bust dart, and armhole raising I’m always doing. And I’ll probably go back and do a real SBA instead of my cheater one. I can definitely see myself coming back to this pattern—it’s super quick to make and I like using the heavier fabrics since it’s less clingy over the lumpy bits. 🙂

—lisa g.

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51 thoughts on “floral neoprene dress | M6754

  1. Nicole Morgan says:

    That fabric is so lovely, and the fit looks really good! And honestly, it’s so busy nobody will probably notice the wrinkles that won’t press out, so I say it was still a good buy. 🙂

  2. Carolyn says:

    Super cute! Great job pairing pattern and fabric here. I still haven’t tried sewing with neoprene, but I’ve been seeing so many great projects lately! Great tip on finishing the neckline and armhole edges on knits – I’ll have to try this.

    • lisa g says:

      It’s a really fun fabric! Since it’s thick and doesn’t ravel you have extra freedom to try different finishes. Oh, and the facing finish works great on the more stable knits like cotton/lycra. Looks dressier than a banded neckline!

  3. Katherine says:

    This looks great. You are always so honest in your reviews, that I was hoping you would tell us what neoprene is like to wear. It looks so good made up, but I have been wondering what it feels like…is it hot and sticky?

    • lisa g says:

      Ah, well we haven’t had a hot day yet! But I suspect I won’t be as keen to wear it if it’s too warm. In my neck of the woods, we can have jacket weather in the middle of August, so I’ll still have plenty of opportunities to wear it through the summer!

  4. Noelle says:

    Nice combo of pattern & fabric. Neoprene looks like a good substitute for ponte knits. Must be very satisfying to apply your standard adjustments and have it turn out nearly perfect! I’ve had some luck pressing out wrinkles in various heavy knits using a damp cloth & pressing at low heat until it is completely dry – sometimes I have to repeat a few times. Not sure if this will work on neoprene. 😉

    • lisa g says:

      Thanks for the tip! It reminded me that you can use a diluted white vinegar solution to help release really stubborn wrinkles. I’ll need to test on scraps, but that just might do the trick! And yes, it is nice to know my baseline adjustments… it spares me from needing to muslin all the time!

  5. CraftedbyCarrie says:

    It turned out wonderfully! I saw this fabric (At Sewfisticated) as well but talked myself out of it. I just can’t figure out what to make with neoprene…it confuses me! I think I need to follow your lead and go with a simple dress 🙂 I love the twirly skirt by the way!

    • lisa g says:

      I hear ya! I almost walked away from it, but I figured for under $10 worth of fabric I could take the risk. I think neoprene would also be great for Sewaholic’s new dress, or something similar. Anyways, it’s a fun fabric to play with, because it’s sooo easy to work with!

  6. Miss Lulu says:

    Lovely silhoutte. So feminine and pretty. Perfect drape of fabric on the skirt too. I’m gonna have to try neoprene soon but I’ll probably have to wait for Texas winter to wear it. Something tells me neoprene in a Texas summer would be a new torture method:)

    • lisa g says:

      Haha yeah, I don’t think this would work in a TX summer! It was fun fabric to work with though, I’m sure you’d make something amazing with it!

  7. kristin says:

    super pretty and i had no idea neoprene twirled like that! i haven’t come across it very much in fabric stores, but it’s got my curiosity piqued now that it’s popping up everywhere. might have to try it out on a kid dress to experiment. 🙂

    your fitting skillz are so impressive!

    • lisa g says:

      You should give it a try if you find some! I did initially think I’d use it on one of the kids, but none of them jumped at it when I brought it home, so I added it to mommy’s pile. I think it would also be great as a pencil or mini skirt. And thanks, I’m just happy my fit adjustments worked out!

    • lisa g says:

      Thank you! And yes, I’ve done the rolled hem on lightweight knits. Usually I turn the differential to stretch and get a wavy lettuce edging, however if you fiddle with the settings and keep the stitches less dense, you can get a flat edge.

  8. crab&bee says:

    Twirls! So pretty. I too love the idea of a thicker knit(ish? not sure if neoprene is even a knit!) fabric for dresses because the lumps and bumps factor on them always seems high.

  9. dokucug says:

    Super cute, but of course, being a floral swirly dress, how could it not be? 😉 I have to confess though – I’m completely baffled by the neoprene trend. Is it comfortable? Does it breathe? It sounds so stiff and sweaty to me!

    • lisa g says:

      Yeah, I get being a little stumped about what to do with the neoprene. I think it’s better suited to fall for the breathability factor–haven’t taken it out in the heat yet, so I don’t know for certain. My fabric is similar to a ponte in terms of thickness and stretch, so it would work great for more structured knit patterns.

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