mccalls 6552

Pattern: McCall’s 6552
Fabric: Linen/cotton print from Joann’s (clearance section!)
Size: Small

Location: Ogunquit Beach, Ogunquit, ME

mccalls 6552

The impracticality of this pattern for everyday wear did not dawn on me until I sat down at my computer to order fabric for the dress.  It should have been pretty obvious to me immediately, considering that the picture of the model shows the neckline of this pattern plunging down past where one’s bra band would be (of course, she is clearly not wearing a bra in the picture).  I pushed this pattern to the end of my pattern queue until recently, when I decided I wanted to make a new cover-up for the beach to take on vacation to Maine…hmm…perfect!  Who cares about a low-low neckline when you have a swimsuit on?

mccalls 6552

Following the measurements on the envelope and picking the size that corresponded to me the closest, I cut out a size Small.  In actuality I could have made an Extra Small to get a fit that wasn’t so billowy since there is a lot of ease, but it worked out ok in the end and I didn’t really mind the extra gathered fabric around the waist.  I shortened the length of the pattern by quite a lot and toyed with the idea of shortening the sleeves, but I left them as is.

What’s cool about this pattern is that it’s made up of three major pieces: the skirt front, skirt back, and then the bodice piece, which folds over the shoulders and connects at the waist.  The construction was super quick to stitch together and could have gone together in one night if I didn’t have to get up so early for work the following day.  The casing for the drawstring is sewn in a way I like the best: the seam allowance of the skirt/bodice is pressed up towards the bodice and stitched down in place.  This pattern was also a good refresher of my button-hole skills since it’s been a long time since I’ve sewn some!

mccalls 6552

It was perfect to wear to the beach during the week, especially on cooler, windy days when I didn’t want to wear my sleeveless cover-up, but it also was just as comfortable on some of the hotter days on the beach thanks to the linen fabric.  I’d make another one of these next year for beach season, maybe with the short sleeves or sleeveless in a knit fabric.  If you’re looking to make a cover-up like this but want more coverage, check out Coco’s adaptation of the bodice piece – I love how she redrafted it to be more modest and practical.

The only other thing I can think of making out of this pattern is a swanky dressing gown to go over a nightie, and maybe sashaying around my apartment wearing it with a wine glass in hand.  Hmm, not a shabby idea…


You can knit at the beach!

I was told that knitting at the beach was “impossible” and “icky” because of the sand, sunblock, and surf spray.  Being that I’m stubborn by nature, I was determined to prove everyone wrong!  Here’s my tips, based on my recent vacation to Maine, on how to knit at the beach:

1. Knit with something “non-wooly” – Cotton, hemp, or linen are great choices for beach knitting.  They’re perfect summer fibers and won’t stick to your sunscreen or skin in the heat.  I used some Rowan Cotton Glace I had leftover from a previous knitting project (hey hey, stash busting!).

2. Pick something small, portable, and simple – Since my project wasn’t going to be large like a sweater, I threw a small Ravelry project bag in my beach tote that held my yarn, needles, and a zipper pouch with scissors and a tape measure.  Even though my knitting project was a mesh lace bag, it was easy to remember a four row repeat and not have to fuss with instructions blowing all over the place.

3. Sand and sunblock will get in your project – That’s why I chose to knit something that wouldn’t matter to me if sand and sunblock got in/on my project, such as a reusable mesh tote bag.  I found it helpful to use hand sanitizer to clean my hands and make them less slimy and slippery when I knitted.  I didn’t notice sand sticking to my cotton yarn that much, but I’m sure it’s there.  Not a big deal to me.

4. Use something to hold your yarn in place – The cup holder on a beach chair was quite handy to keep my yarn from tumbling out of my lap and rolling down the beach.  It was also pretty windy most of the days we were out on the beach, so I was grateful that my yarn was kept snug and in place at my side.  A yarn bra or yarn keeper would be nice alternatives if your beach chair doesn’t have cup holders.

5. Leave your Addi Turbos at home – My cheap Boye needles were exposed to salt water, sunblock, and were lost in the sand several times.  I would never want that to happen to my expensive Addis!  The same goes with other treasured knitting notions (or yarn) that you wouldn’t want harmed.

Have you ever knit at the beach?


Crashing waves - Ogunquit, ME

Rocky rocks - Ogunquit, ME

Walking along the Marginal Way - Ogunquit, ME

I was lucky enough to escape to Ogunquit, ME this week for a two day mini-vacation with my boyfriend’s family, who rent a beach house for two weeks at the end of August every year. I visited Maine about eight years ago with my family during a car trip up to Price Edward Island and we were very underwhelmed; we thought that the coast of Maine would be more stunning and dramatic than what we saw. Clearly we should have visited Ogunquit! So beautiful and picturesque, calm and tranquil, and a whole bunch of other adjectives that describe this town. The beach was neat and clean and not at all rocky/gravely as I expected, but the water was on the cold side both days I was there (plus we got rained out one of the days and stayed inside playing games all afternoon). It was sad leaving Friday to come back to work, it was like leaving the last bit of summer behind. I know I can’t wait to go back and visit again next year.

And of course, I used the opportunity to take some pictures of a dress I finished during my last vacation in July. Here’s a sneak peek:

Simplicity 2657 blog sneak peek

More pictures and details to come next week, that is, if I still have power after Irene hits New England. Bracing for the weekend ahead…