I have a fun dress to share with you today! This dress is all about volume, which makes it a joy to wear. Today’s pattern is McCall’s 7948, View D, a very popular style that is showing up in lots of stores and sewing patterns.
I bought this pattern last year with the thought of making it in eyelet, just like the cover photo, but with a fun colored slip underneath.
I made a few slips, and then finally made the dress. This was supposed to be my Easter dress, but time got away from me, (or I just plan more sewing projects than I can actually sew), and this didn’t get started until May. Part of what held me up was trying to decide what trim to use on the dress, but in the end (and after looking at examples online), I decided to go trim-less and just make the dress in green.
I traced a straight size 20, and just barely eked it out with the yardage I had. This green cotton eyelet was from last spring at Joann’s, and I got it on sale this year when it was almost gone. I managed to find 1 2/3 yards in one store and another piece that was three inches short of two yards in a different store. The fabric is 50/51″ wide, but 8-9″ of that is plain green cotton without the eyelet embroidery on the edges. I had to do a bit of pattern Tetris to get it all figured out, but it worked in the end. I had wanted to include pockets, but I realized that you would probably be able to see them through the eyelet, and I didn’t have enough fabric anyway, so I left them off.
One really nice thing about the style of this dress is that I didn’t have to do too many adjustments–no grading between sizes, no broad back adjustment. All I did was to add some width at the top of the sleeves and lower the front neckline by 1/2″ based on Martha’s review on the Buried Diamond blog. I used The Perfect Fit, my favorite basic fitting book for directions for these things. It said not to lower the neckline beyond 1/2″ in this size because it would affect other aspects of the pattern, but the one thing I would consider doing if I make this again is to see if I could lower the neckline a bit more. It’s mostly fine when standing and walking around, but the dress does slide a bit toward the back occasionally and it can sometimes be a problem when sitting. My husband’s idea was to weight the front hem. What do you think? What would you do?
That very minor adjustment and issue aside, I LOVE how this dress feels to wear. It’s my ideal summer dress as far as feel–loose, flowy, breezy thanks to the eyelet, perfectly comfortable. The slip worked out great–I didn’t even notice it, which is the goal (no one wants an uncomfortable slip). I couldn’t see its color as much as I would have liked, but that is due to the very small holes in this eyelet. You can see it at the points where the dress touches your body, but not much more. Regardless, it provides the opacity I wanted when the light shines through the dress. Now here is a weird conundrum–do you make your clothes to feel good or look “flattering” (whatever your definition of that word is)? I don’t think this dress makes me look like any ideal vision I might have of myself, but other than that, it feels great, covers me in all the areas I want covered, and brings me joy…but I don’t think it makes me look amazing. When you can’t always have both, which do you choose? In general, I come down on the side of comfort and feel, but I admit that it is sometimes a mental struggle for me. I could make uncomfortable clothes that I think look good on me, or I can make comfortable clothes that may or may not look good, but that feel good. Comfort wins for me, but if I’m honest, I really want both in most cases.
The other thing I changed on this dress was the facings. I did manage to cut them out, but realized that the interfacing I was supposed to use was going to show through, and I didn’t have any fabric I could use as sew-in interfacing that was close to this color. In the end, I decided to finish the neckline and back slit with bias tape, because I had a lot of it that was close to this color. It took a bit of thinking, but I managed to figure out how to do the back slit, and I’m pretty happy with the result and definitely happy not to have used facings or interfacing that would show through around the neckline and back.
I used some single fold bias to finish the hems of the sleeves and skirt and a pretty vintage button on the back of the dress.
As far as finishing my seams, my machine did not love zigzagging on this fabric, so I sewed a straight stitch in each seam allowance and then pinked the seam allowances. The dress is in the wash now, so we’ll see if there is much fraying or not. Even if there is, the straight stitch in the seam allowance will stop it. I’m not really worried.
When gathering the skirt and arm ruffles, I used a technique I learned from Megan Nielsen, where you do a large zigzag over a piece of string in your seam allowance. I used baker’s twine. (You know that cute red and white twine they use to tie up boxes in bakeries? Lots of people use it for crafts as well.) Once you have gone all the way around, you cinch up the fabric using the string, pin it in place, pull out the string and go on with your sewing. It’s a lot faster and easier on a fabric like this with ruffles this big than it is to sew two rows of basting stitches and gather them.
This was a fun dress to sew and not too difficult. If you can get this pattern on sale, it’s a great deal for a pattern that is very on trend and VERY fun to wear. I wore this on a walk in the woods with my family and while I’m sure that other people we saw thought I was crazy for wearing a dress on the trails, I felt awesome in it.