Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Seeing Stripes

I finished another dress!  

The fabric is from my vintage stash that I was so generously given.  I used the pattern below, which I have used once before.  I used pattern A this time.  Previously, I used pattern B.  The only difference is the sleeves.

McCall's M5804:

Hilary Duff better take it easy because, personally, this is not my idea of an "easy" pattern.  It wasn't that it is too hard to make, it's just that it is very time consuming.  The dress is fully lined inside, so it is like making two dresses.  I spent a lot of time working the fit to be just right.  When lining is involved it is best to make sure everything fits perfect before finishing any seams.  I learned that the hard way the first time around (you'll see!).

Here is how it came out!

I had to use a shorter zipper than it called for because it was all I had on hand, so I literally have to slither into it, but it fits very nicely and is super comfortable on.  I still don't know what kind of fabric this is.  It is the same type of fabric I used to make the matching dresses and pants for me and my kids.  It's pretty heavy fabric, but I like it a lot.  I used a little of the vintage turquoise corduroy that I used to make the matching peace skirts for the midriff panel.  Even the lining (grey silk blend) was from the free vintage stash.  This dress probably only cost me about $5.  It took me 2 full days of sewing (not including cutting the fabric) to construct it.

Overall, this is a good pattern.  It fits pretty true to the sizing on the back.  It is a solid dress with the lining and all.  Definitely not one you can easily undo or alter, though.  I'm not sure I will make more dresses with this pattern because of that.  Although, the addict in me could be tempted to try the alternate bodice with this pattern.  Pattern C.  I think it is the pleating and gathering "bubble" look on the tops of pattern A and B that turn me off.

I made the other style dress from this pattern, with the sleeves and the same bodice, a while ago.  Since, I have dropped sizes and I want to take it in, but I can't.  I added a bunch of fancy stitch embellishing around it, so now I cannot find a way to do it without destroying it.  Here, see for yourself:

I love the how the little stitch accents came out, but I am regretting it a little bit.  If I could get in and adjust the gathers somehow or take it in at the sides, but I just don't see that as being possible.  The embroidery stitching is solid.  If I would have top stitched around the midriff panels with a regular straight stitch, the way the pattern calls for, it still would have been a lot of work trying to get back in through the lining and outer fabric to adjust anything on the top.  You pretty much better make sure the bodice fits perfect before you add the midriff panel.  I think I did a much better job with the bodice on my most recent sleeveless dress.

Even when I was the right size for this fun, picnic-y, red and white dress, it never fit to well in the front bodice.  It was a little dumpy and empty looking.  Even Victoria Secret couldn't help me fill this baby out.  I was new to sewing at the time and I didn't know how to alter a pattern to fit as well as I do now.  This photo of me in the dress was taken two years ago (2010).  You can see the sloppy fit on the top:

The dress itself still fits pretty well in all other areas, but now that I have reduced in size the top is even more frumpy. I wish I knew a good way to take it in the front bodice without undoing any stitching.  I still really like the dress and would love to get some more wear out of it.

Maybe someone out there can help me solve my problem on the frumpy front?

Anyone have any ideas?  Please feel free to share if you do!


  1. What an adorable dress!! I got your email, will get back to you soon with ideas!

  2. Hi!
    I just LOVE, LOVE. LOVE the red dress! So vintage!
    I have a sugestion for the top area: why don't you do darts under the bust? I think it would help!
    Kisses from Portugal!