Tuesday, October 15, 2019

McCalls 7992, or, the Millions of Cats dress

Now on the Fabricville blog, my latest Fabricville blogger's project is the cat's meow! I used this Laura Ashley pattern (McCalls 7992)  from a recent McCalls release:
And added this spectacular cat print quilting cotton:

Which turned into this:

The very best dress of all! And it matches in all ways with my favourite book of all time, Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag! This charming book, full of woodcut illustrations, is also the oldest American picture book still in print. If you don't know it, go find a copy right away.

As you can see, black and white matches with all my coloured tights ;)
But now for more on the dress itself. This is made with quilting cotton, which is very usable for clothing as long as you pay attention to the properties of it. For example, it really doesn't drape. So don't use it for flowy or highly gathered makes. But for this dress, all in one piece with an elastic casing sewn in afterwards, it works fine.  I really like this fabric -- it is a lightweight cotton which manages to hold its shape but also be flexible enough to wear in dress form.

The crispness of the fabric also holds the shape of the pussy bow nicely. (so many cat puns here). The neckline was one detail which really caught my attention when I first saw this pattern. The print makes it a little hard to see clearly, but it is a flat bow.

I also loved the little bit of sleeve ruching on View A

This dress is a lot of fun. From a distance it's hard to tell it is made up of cat faces. I love how the little odd white faces pop out and almost sparkle against the background.

It's also really fun to see how people stop talking to me in mid-conversation and stare more closely as they realize that the print is allover cats!

It's an easy sew; the collar is the only slightly unusual piece of the process. It's just a folded band sewn on with a facing, and then the ends are tied. Really not hard! The sleeve ruching is so easy -- just stitch on a stretched 2" piece of narrow elastic and it gathers up nicely when you are done. The body is cut as one piece -- front and back both cut from shoulder to hem, and an elastic casing added to the inside. I had to make mine colourful, since I had a vintage wide bias binding sitting right next to my table while I was sewing!

I did add a few inches to the length -- I think 2". And I am very short! So watch the skirt length if you are making it, to make sure you're comfortable with the finished fit.

Overall this was a quick and enjoyable make. I'll definitely make this one again, maybe in a softer fabric next time -- I can imagine it in a flannel for the fall, too! But I love, love, love the quality of this cotton, and the print is unbeatable. I've already worn this twice since I finished it last week -- and I have a large variety of coloured tights so I only see more fun outfits in my future ;) I'm going to enjoy wearing this one. I just won't hang it next to an earlier Fabricville project, McCalls 7534, in my closet, to avoid any trouble ;)


  1. Replies
    1. Fun indeed! I know I'm going to get lots of wear out of it :)

  2. It is beautiful. Very interesting - I had always been told you can't use quilting cotton for garments, and yet it is so lovely and forgiving to sew with.
    And as for the book - I remember the cover.

    1. I've been told that too but I say to that -- pshaw! ;) I love using quilting cotton, as long as you pay attention to how it can be used, it works. I'm not making heirloom clothing so it doesn't matter greatly. It works well with structured clothing with straight lines and not too much need for gathering or drape.

  3. I have been watching your sewing for a while. Today I had to comment because Millions of Cats is my all time favourite children's book. I loved it as a child- I am 66 now- and love it as an adult. I ordered it for my children and now my grandchildren. Love this Laura Ashley pattern and what you have done with it too. Thank you for this post.

    1. So glad to hear this! I love this book so much :) I can almost recite the whole thing from memory after all this time. I hope all your children and grandchildren enjoy it too!

  4. So that is so cool. I love that fabric and the dress. Perfect for the book and Halloween. I am only half way through the book! But I had planned to use some of my kimono fabric, just to use some of it up. I don't know what with though. This probably was the worst time in my life to join this, but wanted to because I liked the book, like to sew, and it is an inspiration. I also wasn't getting the posts from you, so I have to figured that out. But I love your dress. And thank you for the other pattern suggestions.

    1. I hope you are thinking of something to make for the LSC and are able to find the time for it, too!


Share your comments, ideas or suggestions here -- I am always interested in hearing from readers. It's nice to have a conversation!