Friday, January 22, 2021

The High Rise Dress, or, McCalls 8960

I sewed up a very unseasonable project this week, but I saw this fabric from my stash alongside this 80s pattern from my stash (McCalls 8960 c.1984) and they came together like peanut butter and chocolate. I was obsessed and had to make it immediately! 

I had pulled out this fabric because I was looking for anything in my stash that resembled this year's Pantone colours. I've had it for a long time -- picked it up on the ends table as "unknown fibres". But it feels like a rayon twill to me. It's a little too lightweight and cool to wear at this time of year, despite the subdued colours. But the fabric is so soft and smooth and feels great to wear. It also reminds me of lit-up windows in a high-rise as viewed at it's now known as the High Rise dress. 

This was a pretty easy project, aside from the shiftiness of the fabric. It's a typical 80s pattern, full bodice with dolman sleeve, elastic waist and straight skirt. I like the way it fits although I might take a little bit of the fullness out of the bodice if I make it again. As it is, the only changes I made were to cut the sleeves in between the lengths of both views so they're a bit longer than the above-elbow of View B, and then to shorten the skirt  by 2". I didn't like the original length, which falls right in the frump zone. Not knee length or midi length - ugh! So I shortened it to knee length. (of course I am 5'2" so shorten most things anyhow). 

The only pattern matching mishap I had was on the centre back seam; I got the fabric shifted slightly when cutting out, so the yellow squares aren't exactly matched across the seam, but once the skirt was gathered you can hardly notice. 

The flaws in the pattern were few. The back walking slit was hugely long and would have been way too high for my short legs. I don't even think it's that necessary in the shortened length, but I did leave about a 2" slit there. The other flaw was that there were no side seam pockets included! What! Thankfully that's easy to remedy with my favourite pocket template. I sewed them right at the top edge of the skirt so that they'd be attached to the waist seam and stay put. The only thing to note about pockets like this with a gathered skirt is to be sure to gather the skirt first and then pin the tops of the pocket bags to the waist seam over the gathering before sewing them together. You don't want to gather your pockets. 

Narrow hems on both sleeve and skirt, a quick rectangular sash sewn and pressed, and the dress was done. I needed to press it carefully as it is heat sensitive and quite wrinkle-prone (yes, pretty sure it's rayon!) 

But I love the final effect. It feels quite subdued and quiet to me, like a rainy day. I feel calm in it! Unfortunately I'll have to put it aside until the weather warms up, but it was just one of those projects that I had to make immediately upon envisioning it. Now on to more seasonal wear...


  1. This dress looks GREAT on you,

  2. Oh I don't know - how about a black or grey high neck (polo in the UK) sweater underneath and some thick tights? Very nice. I'm contemplating knitting a grey and yellow sweater this year.

    1. I do like to wear summery dresses with turtlenecks and tights but have a feeling this one would stick to anything under it in a really annoying way! I'll have to try it out and see if I can wear it sooner than spring, though ;)


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