Sunday, April 30, 2017

McCalls 7542 as a Dress

I always saw the sleeves from this pattern on a dress. The top on the pattern is too short for my comfort level but those sleeve variations are what drew me to it and finally made me buy the pattern. Which is probably why it's one of the most bought and sewn patterns in the sewing community now!

I chose the sleeves from View B because I loved the drama of them. Also, I loved them on the top that Candice from Sew-My-Time made.

After purchasing and checking out the finished measurements on the pattern pieces, I knew that I would have to do extensive alterations to make it fit me. Honestly, if I was a fit master or enjoyed fitting puzzles, I would have started from scratch.

Materials ~
3 yards of embroidered cotton from Fabric Mart
3.5 yards of Bemberg Rayon from Elegance Fabric in NYC

Notions ~
22" invisible zipper 

Pattern Alterations ~
Since I knew I wanted a dress, I used my TNT dress pattern as the basis of my pattern sandwich to make the following alterations to the neckline, shoulder and sleeves.


They were:
1. On the front piece, I shortened the shoulder seam.

2. Even though this pattern has bust cup sized pattern fronts, the D cup size made my dart too low for my bustline. So I used the bust dart from my TNT dress pattern instead.

3. The shoulder seam on the back piece has a back dart so I widened the back dart so that the shoulder seam would match the dress front shoulder.

4. The changes to the sleeve are in the prior post, however, I did use the sleeve cap from my TNT pattern and NOT the higher sleeve cap on the pattern.

5. Otherwise the only other change was to lengthen the pattern pieces.

I've read several reviews by sewists I admire who have worked on the pattern. Sewists whose bodies don't fit the pattern right out of the envelope also so I would know some of the challenges that were in store for me. Even armed with that knowledge I ran into some setbacks.

Construction ~
First, I've gained back 10 lbs since the last time I made my TNT dress...*sigh* so of course it's a little tighter than I want it to be. I got it basted together and realized that I needed to do something about this cause it was tight in my abdomen area...and I hate the belly hug. I hung the dress up and walked away from it for a minute. After a few horrific train rides to work with loads of times to work out the fitting puzzle, I decided to add a side gusset to the dress.

I'm sure you're thinking ~ WHAT?  And why didn't she just make a muslin before she cut out her fashion fabric? My first response is you know me right? You know I hate making muslins. My second response is there is almost always a way to fix something, I just needed to come up with a solution...and my final response is I honestly didn't think about the extra 10 when I laid the pattern out.

Side Gussets for the Win:
To add the side gusset, I cut a strip of fabric 2" wide and 36" long. I inserted it into the dress' side seam using 1/2" seam allowance for the body of the dress and 7/8" seam allowances at the underarm seam.

A picture of the gusset in the dress ~

Unless you're looking for that gusset, you wouldn't even know it was there!

I'd always planned on lining my dress. One reason was because the fashion fabric is cotton and will cling to my Spanx. Yes, I wear Spanx in the summer because I need something on my thighs to keep them from rubbing together ~ "Fat Girl Problems." 

A lining will allow the dress to slide over my Spanx. I also hate facings and a lining let's me omit them. Finally, I'm hoping the lining will help the cotton fabric from creasing too much

I also added an invisible zipper because I hate those little button & loop closures. They never feel secure enough to me and since it's a dress, a zipper.

The Sleeves ~
This was the drawing point for me. I love the drama of that sleeve. However, the pattern calls for the wrong side of the fabric to show on the finished sleeve. Since I'm using an embroidered fabric where the wrong side is just not as pretty as the front, I decided to line my sleeves.  Can we say more challenges!
  • To accomplish adding the lining, I cut the sleeve pattern from the lining fabric and stitched it to the fashion fabric, turned and pressed.
  • Then basted the two pieces together near the cut out line for inserting them to the main sleeve. 
  • This cut edge was then serge finished and attached to the sleeve hem.
  • Of course the first one went in with no problems. I had to put the second one in three times before it was correct...and to get it in correctly, my daughter had to pin it in for me.
  • The seam between the lower sleeve and the short sleeve was pressed towards the sleeve and then topstitched down. This prevented the seam from showing when I raised my arms.
  • And a tip, make all changes and sew all seams while the sleeves aren't in the dress - cause it's a lot of dress & fabric to move through your sewing maching - ask me how I know! *LOL*


But it was worth it because the sleeves are everything I thought they would be!

A few pictures of the dress in action ~





Conclusion ~
I'm glad that I took this sewing journey because I love the resulting dress and "The Sleeve Swag". Although after attaching the first sleeve, I did wonder if it was too much of the embroidered blue fabric. Then the second sleeve was inserted and I saw how the light blue lining fabric added some dimension to the fashion fabric, so I was good.

As I stated before, I will never make the top because it's too short for me. I may revisit this as a tunic. However, expect to see several of the sleeve variations from the pattern on future garments, because I already have a few ideas percolating. 

One final thing, we photographed this dress like I will wear it to church even though I originally planned to wear it to work. Even with sneakers it's a little too fancy for work.

BTW, I have another dress on the cutting table because it's finally getting warmer outside and spring/summer means dresses!

...as always more later!




33 comments:

  1. Your dress is very pretty, love the lining on the sleeves

    ReplyDelete
  2. Another winner! The sleeves are everything!!! It looks great on you! Thanks for the helpful hints!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. DBrez - glad the post was helpful! Thanks for admiring the dress.

      Delete
  3. Love this! I thought the sleeves were too overwhelming for a top. I really like the proportions with a dress. You're a genius!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm still on the fence about the sleeves with a top but there are a lot of amazing makes being shared on Instagram right now...so maybe?!

      Delete
  4. The dress is wonderful. I made the top with the other ruffle sleeve but I really wanted this one. Now it's on my list too. Thanks for all of your help.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You rocked this dress, Carolyn! And you're right, no one would be wiser concerning the gussets unless you told them. Although you mentioned it, I still had to really look. Thanks also for the shout out!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love the sleeves - very dramatic!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Just love this on you and now of course I am thinking I need to make these sleeves. Love your fabric too and you can't see the gusset at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm sure it helps that I used a very busy print so it makes the gusset barely noticeable.

      Delete
  8. Lovely ! The sleeves really do have a life of their own. I do hope you can find lots of places to wear it - perhaps a tunic style you have planned will fit into your work place better.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Oh my! This dress is a keeper. The sleeves are fantastic, and the lining adds such polish. The side gussets are invisible and a great idea. Very flattering look on you.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, Carolyn, this dress is so lovely and fashion forward! I love how you give your readers so many inside tips on the decisions you make in sewing garments...fitting and design decisions that are so helpful to us. Again, I so look forward to your posts. Karen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Karen - thanks for that! I always wonder if I'm just droning on and no one cares about the reasons why or the details...that they just want me to get to the pretty pictures!

      Delete
  11. And that gusset is why I LOVE your blog! You are my sewing hero!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I bought this pattern mostly for the same reason (those sleeve options!) and I'm now using the circle to attach to the J. Stern blouse (fitted by the cupful) but I never thought about lining those pieces which is a brilliant inspiration - thank you for this! It would also add some nice weight and drape to that piece. Your dress is gorgeous! Love the fabrics and the creativity :)

    ReplyDelete
  13. love that sleeve drama - so pretty and lovely fabric and color on you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. That fabric is so pretty and the color too. I just read the other day that wearing voluminous sleeves can make your body look thinner, so there you go a reason for sleeve drama.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sleeves for the win! And I totally would have lined the sleeves too. They look great - worth the effort!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Loving those (lined sleeves)!!! I've been seeing versions of flounced sleeves on FB and on blogs and I must say you made a great executive decision to line them. They would look great on a tunic as well. ...And if you hadn't mentioned gussets...who knew?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh Carolyn, I really love what you did with this pattern. Lining the sleeves was a great idea and I totally understand preferring linings to facings. The sleeves are dreamy! Love them so much! Your fabric is absolutely gorgeous, and yes, I had to search for that gusset, even after you told me it was there. The back view with the sleeves draping, OMGosh! I LOVE this dress. That color looks so fantastic on you! Great job! All your hard work definitely paid off.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anita! When my daughter took the back shots she ooohhhed and aahhed at the sleeves too. They really are the star of the dress!

      Delete
  18. Perfect for you. The lined sleeves are a beautiful detail.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love this!! I made a mock up of this pattern and didn't love it but like you...love the sleeve variations. I think this looks awesome as a dress! Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh Margo you have to try it again as a dress. I'm sure it will look amazing on you!

      Delete
  20. This is one of the best versions of this pattern I've seen . I love how you made it yours with great changes !

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow!! Those sleeves! Stunning!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Meg - have you made this pattern yet? Is it because it's so hard to get a Big 4 pattern in Bangkok?

      Delete
  22. Carolyn, I really love this dress. The fabric is so beautiful and you used it so creatively. It looks great on you. Enjoy wearing it!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Fabulous dress, I love the sleeves , you are a very clever lady.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated.

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails