Wednesday 22 November 2017

McCall's 7381 Dress

Thank you for the lovely comments on my formal dress and also on my wedding anniversary.   Now back to more regular stuff!  The weather here in Hong Kong is finally starting to cool down enough to think about long sleeve dresses so I tried out a recent pattern purchase.

McCall's 7381 is a pretty versatile dress pattern, having 2 bodice, 3 sleeve and 2 skirt variations.  I actually made a version that isn't shown, view C knotted bodice with the shorter skirt and long sleeves.

I cut a size M and folded a bit out of the circumference of the hem sleeve only so that I could fit it onto my 2 yards of fabric.  I also found that I could fit it on over my head quite easily so I left off the snap fastenings on the front bodice overlap and just edge stitched it closed.

If I made the long sleeve version again I'd be tempted to put the sleeve band on before sewing the sleeve seam.  It's not as neat a finish, but the sleeve opening is quite small and would not fit onto the free arm of my sewing machine so it was a bit fiddly to do in the round.

The bodice is lined and the front facings are interfaced so the pleats on the outside stay in place nicely.

The fabric is a poly print featuring colourful parrots - the nature print obsession continues! - admittedly this one is a bit more twee than I'd usually pick, but I think the black background helps make it look a bit more grown up!

I really like the finished dress on the dress form, but I am less keen on it on me although I am hoping I can fix it as I'd definitely like to make it again.  It looks alright in the photos, but I feel uncomfortable and am constantly fiddling with it.  The problems I have are :
  • I find the skirt to be quite short even though I took the tiniest hem allowance that I could.  I planned to wear this with tights and boots, but even so I feel a bit exposed.
  • It's slightly empire line and I think I'd prefer it with a longer bodice so that the waist of the dress hits closer to mine.
  • The fabric in the skirt, which is unlined unlike the bodice, is quite static-y and floaty.
I can make these changes for next time, but to try and save this one I'm thinking of adding a border at the hem in some heavy black crepe I have to both lengthen and weigh down the skirt a bit.  I'm also thinking about whether I can add a skirt lining to the waist seam without having to unpick anything.   

I figure I have nothing to lose, but please do let me know what you think or if you have any other ideas.


  1. It's a lovely dress but I understand how wearing it doesn't feel just right. I hope you can find a way to fix it and if not that the next version will be more like you want!

  2. I love the dress and it looks really cute on you. I don't think it is too short, but if you are uncomfortable, you are uncomfortable. A black crepe border would probably be fine, or maybe even a matching border with a trim or satin strip in between, if you want to go in a Anna Sui kind of direction.

  3. I think the length looks perfect. Perhaps it feels uncomfortable if it is clingy? I'd try hand stitching (if you can't machine sew) a lining to the skirt.

  4. I really love the neckline and the overall style totally works. I bypassed this pattern because of the shorter waist positioning. But it is cute on you!

    I agree that you could likely hand sew a lining to the waist seam or just make a slip.

  5. I love this. And I understand how something can look right and feel all wrong. Hopefully the crepe band at the hemline will alleviate some of the issues!

  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

  7. I can understand why you aren't quite comfortable wearing this dress and hope you have been able to find the solutions.