Tuesday, July 18, 2017

McCalls Bright Blooms Dress

My latest project for Fabricville is one I'm really loving. I saw this gorgeous linen-rayon blend ages ago and was  thrilled to be able to get a length of it along with the newish McCalls 7597 for my new experiment... (incidentally there is a fantastic sale on this fabric right now).

To celebrate 200 Years of Jane Austen today, I had to go take some photos of my new dress in a place I like to call "the Jane Austen Wood", since every time I walk by I picture Regency ladies strolling in this park-like setting, all dolled up with bonnets and parasols. Since I'm probably not making a Regency dress any time soon, I took the chance to set today's photos there instead!

This was a fairly easy make - no closures, just an over-the-head tunic design, cinched with a stitched-on tie belt. The various views give you the opportunity to do some pattern blocking with the front panels, yoke, contrast band and so on, as well having different sleeve and shirt lengths to choose from. For my dress, I decided on View B, a simple one with no colour blocking at all, short sleeves and a standing collar.

I thought this would work best with my oversize floral. I was a bit dubious when I started cutting, thinking that perhaps I'd chosen a fabric print which was a bit too large for this style, but once I got sewing it started looking pretty good to me, and as it turns out, I *love* this dress!

The linen-rayon fabric is a crisp one, with some body, and it stands up to the lines of this design well. Thankfully I also discovered when taking photos that it is not at all transparent. Yay! Due to the hand of the fabric, my gathers at the back yoke are not even, rather they look a little like pleats. But they are fine, and aren't noticeably terrible which is really all I ask for ;)


The front gathers are fine, although I did have a little trouble with the techniques required to make nice neat corners at the bottom of the front panels. I had to do some hand stitching on those corners to get everything inside and enclosed where they were supposed to be. In fact, this pattern does require quite a lot of interior hand stitching to fasten down facings, collar etc. so if you hate hand work, be aware.

Luckily for me the interesting belt covers most of the seam line at the bottom of that front panel anyhow! It's a narrow tie belt, and for this view, it is simply attached by stitching a straight line down the centre, on top of the centre seam between the panels. Easy as pie! I'm not usually a huge fan of butt bows but this one really works, I think -- the dress is too full not to have a belt, and tying it loosely and with a knot instead of a bow, reduces the sweet factor. Also, I don't think you'd be able to tie much of a bow unless you fastened it a lot more closely than I did, so if you are thinking of making this I'd recommend lengthening the ties if you want a bow.

I made a couple of minor adjustments. I shortened the bodice between shoulder and bust just a smidge, and I also raised the stitching line of the front pieces up by an inch so there would be no unfortunate gaping. Lucky for me I didn't raise it any higher, as when I was putting it on I realized that if the neckline was much smaller I would have had some trouble getting it over my gargantuan cranium!

Of course, I also had to add some side seam pockets. With the fullish skirt, I couldn't see a reason not to. I did insert a little lower than optimal but then I couldn't quite assess where the waist would fall. They are still just about right, and very functional, so yay for pockets!

This makes me think of the funniest tweet I've seen in a while which I will now share with you:

Too true.

The only thing I'm not 100% sure about is the collar. It seems really high on the neck, at least with my short little neck, and I may still remove it and just bind the round neck with some bias at some point in the future. I'll wear it a bit first and see if it bothers me.

In any case, I love this beautiful Fabricville project - the colours in the fabric are bright and crisp, and it sewed up very neatly. There was a little a bit of smudgy edges in some of the print but thankfully those spots were nearly all along the selvage and easily avoided.

Hurrah for Jane Austen on Jane Austen Day, whose immortal words resonate with me, especially these ones:

There's Nothing like Staying at Home for True Comfort. 

Well said, Jane.

And look, I even found my Mr. Darcy! :)


  1. I love it! I've been eying this fabric too! <3

    1. Watch for the print smudging after washing - otherwise it's a lovely hand and perfect for a dress with just a bit of structure. Soft wearing as well -- and I love the vintagey feel of the colours.

  2. Love the dresses!! you have such a talent. I also really like the collar that dips down into a V-shape.. suits you. Happy you have found your Mr. Darcy- another lovely photo. Hoping I can locate mine soon ;)


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