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.

Thursday 9 November 2017

BurdaStyle Ballgown

I don't often go to very formal parties, but when I do I love to make something new.  I had no idea what I wanted so I just went fabric shopping and let that provide the inspiration.

The fabric I chose was a bold floral polyester brocade that I purchased in China.  While I was working on it I was amazed to see that Goodbye Valentino was working on a dress in the exact fabric.  So for once you can actually currently find this fabric at Mood!! - Brocade fabric from Mood.

This is a mix of 2 patterns, both of which are too old to still feature on the BurdaStyle website unfortunately.  I found the images on the Russian site for reference.

Bodice - 03/2008 - 119

Skirt - 07/2004 - 134 .  Previously made here and once again I left off the chiffon side godet pieces. Also, thank you earlier me for labelling that old blog post so I could find the pattern #.

I really procrastinated about whether to do the full skirt from the bodice pattern I had chosen, but in the end decided that it might be a bit too much going on with the floral fabric.  I think in a strapless style though, a full skirt would look amazing.

As usual I didn't leave myself a ton of time to make this so I haven't made many notes or taken many photos of the dress during construction, but let's see what I can remember.....

I interfaced the entire bodice, straightening out the waist seam and moved the darts on the skirt so that they would line up with the princess seams on the bodice.

With this type of dress I like to finish the whole of the outer dress, then make the lining and attach that by hand.  I didn't use the neckline facings, instead just reinforcing the neckline edge with some bias tape and then turning to the inside and hand stitching down.  To get a nice point on the centre of the front neckline, I used a small remnant of lining fabric, stitched the shape of the point, clipped, understitched and then turned and pressed to the inside.  I did the exact same thing on the lining fabric, without the bias tape and remembered to take a few photos which hopefully show better what I am talking about.

Lining remnant stitched right side together at v neckline & clipped at point


View from right side after turning and pressing

View from wrong side

This is how the finished dress looked on the inside before the lining was sewn in.  If you make this I recommend cutting the sleeves with a bit extra seam allowance.  I am sure that they are intended to be self lined, but mine did not quite meet up in the middle leaving some exposed edges.  It didn't matter since I covered this with lining, but still it was a bit annoying!

Finally some more photos taken on the night of the party, these are all phone photos that I had to email to myself (thanks to broken cable connection and probably general tech incompetence) so they are a bit blurry, but hopefully you get the idea!  Overall I was really happy in my dress, maybe next time I go to a ball I will wear this again rather than make another one!

The night of the ball also happened to coincide with our 17th wedding anniversary!  We had a black tie wedding so my husband is wearing the exact outfit he wore back then, actually the bodice of mine was red with a similar neckline now I think about it, wonder if that was subconsciously in my mind all along!