Sunday, 27 September 2015

Last of the Summer Sewing: McCalls 7185

Well this is my last summer weight dress for this year, and it's been quite a successful one.  I first saw this dress on Laura-Mae's blog and loved it and when I found it was one of their multi-cup patterns I was a no-brainer.

The fabric is from Wayne Hemmingway's collection in duck egg blue (my favourite) I bought it a while ago and I don't think it's available any more.  It's quite crisp, rather more like a quilting cotton weight, which I think worked quite well with this dress giving the skirt more body.

I cut my usual size 14 with a C cup grading in at the waist to a 12.  I didn't have enough of the fabric to cut the pattern as given, there is a lot of fabric in the skirt and I had to take 10" out of the front and back skirt.  As you can see there is still plenty in the skirt and I think I might prefer the reduced gathering.

What I really didn't like was the sleeve.  You can see below the right sleeve is very puffy and just not my style.  I felt quite silly.  So I recut new sleeves based on McCalls 6696 as you can see on the left and I much prefer it.

I have never tried piping before and I wanted to have a go, so I used preprepared piping around the neck and I think it adds a real pop.  It also seemed to make the facing stay tucked in nicely.  I had wanted to include more piping around the waist, but I just couldn't work out what to do with all the ends, so I didn't risk it.  I replaced one of the poppers with a vintage button and I think that gives a nice touch.

Overall I think the dress has a great fit and it's pretty straightforward to make.  It's comfortable and the neck is just the right depth, quite decent and the wrap-over feels really secure, no chance of unexpected flashing.


Pattern McCalls 7185 size 14C bust to 12 at waist
Raised waist by 6/8"
Reduced shoulder width by 5/8"
Added 1/2" to sleeve width
Reduced skirt width by 10" front and back
Add 1" to length

I would make this one again, maybe next year!

If the fabric above enhanced this pattern I've just had an example of a fabric which spoilt one.  I was really lucky to be sent a pattern by the lovely Jeanette at the Lazy Seamstress.  The pattern is the Maude skirt.  I imagined the skirt in a lovely waffle cotton from the Cloth House (quite expensive!) with wool crepe pockets.  When the fabric came it looked lovely, although I was a bit worried it might be too thick, anyway as it was cotton I washed it .... big mistake ... it went all sort of floppy.  But I'd invested quite a bit so went ahead anyway.

This was how it looked.  Sort of shapeless and uneven and just not nice at all.   I didn't carry on from this stage.  I love the pattern (especially the pockets)  and will have another go with the right fabric.  Didn't want you to think everything I make is successful .... far from it! 


  1. Oh, Mags, I think that dress might be one of the nicest things you've made. The piping just lifts the whole look and makes it more polished. Your choice of sleeves was much better than the puffed ones, and it's such a flattering shape. Beautiful. xx

  2. Thank you so much Gillian, I am enjoying wearing it, comfy and stylish and my favourite colour. Xx

  3. I love your dress and I think you made a good choice of fabric to create it. Too bad you didn’t like the original sleeves; I thought it looked really cute! Do you think the dress will work well if the fabric is not too crisp like the one you used? By the way, I loved reading your post (like Kayla Green’s!).

  4. That's so kind Kristine and thanks for introducing me to Kayla's blog. I think the top would work fine in a less crisp fabric and I think the skirt would work if you had all the fullness in as the increased gathering would provide more rigidity. My fabric was more like a lightish quilting cotton, it would work in a chambray or most cottons.