What makes this dress fancy are few things. The fabric is this beautiful wool blend. If I remember correctly, I was told at the store that the fabric was by Prada. In that case, well, I guess I will be wearing Prada then! 🙂 Prada or not, the fabric is very soft and absolutely gorgeous. Another reason for the dress to be fancy is rich burgundy lining and meticulous inside finish. I have probably never put so much effort and skill into finishing the inside of the dress with such precision and attention to detail.
I absolutely love this dress! Have worn it already, right after I made it. It wears very well, the fit is perfect and I am rather proud of this project! The dress features beautiful skirt flounce and three quarter sleeves. I also installed the pockets, although they were not part of the original pattern. Every dress deserves to have pockets!
I bought this fabric at my local fabric store probably two months ago, preparing for the upcoming autumn and winter season. I am usually cold in winter regardless of what I wear. That is why majority of the fabrics I have bought for winter sewing are wool types. I had seen this fabric at the store during one of my earlier visits, and since it was rather expensive, I did not buy it right away. So when I eventually came to purchase it, there were only 1.50 meters of the fabric left. At first I got upset, but then figured that I should be able to find a pattern for it anyway, and ended up purchasing the last remaining piece.
For this gorgeous print I chose the pattern that I had already used once – McCall’s M7994. I took few key building blocks from it for my Light autumn dress.
Although this pattern came with only few pattern pieces, that was not a straightforward make. The first and quite unexpected challenge was caused by the fact that I chose contrasting lining for this dress. The final result is absolutely gorgeous, however it meant that I had to change the thread on the sewing machine multiple times. For the dress I used teal thread, whereas for the lining I used burgundy thread. I ran out of bobbin thread multiple times. All in all, thread situation added quite a bit of a mess to this project.
Fitting meant another set of challenges. I have to admit that I had not expected this to turn into the maths contest worth of fitting and calculating exercise. Initially I cut size 8 for the shoulders and then gradually changed to size 12 at the waist. When the bodice was joined with the skirt, it became clear, that size 12 is too large and I probably would need size 10 instead. And that’s with all the darts already being made and all. So I unpicked side and back seams and took in more by making seam allowances a little bit wider than standard 1.5 cm. This clearly was meant to derail further process with the lining, as I deviated from the initial pattern quite a bit at the very start.
Then I had quite a bit of joy with skirt flounce. It was supposed to be lined before getting attached to the skirt, which presented another kind of a challenge – an exposed seam where the flounce is attached to the skirt. That was when I decided to use bias tape to finish all exposed seams – flounce seam and later sleeves seams.
When the lining got installed, it became clear, that the skirt of the lining is a tiny bit too narrow, and this happened because I had trimmed my paper pattern pieces and reduced the waist and hip size from 12 to 10. So again, I had to unpick all of the lining skirt seams, reduce the seam allowances to the absolute minimum and make the lining skirt a little bit wider.
Installing the zipper was also not quite a joyride. I already knew from the Light autumn dress, that the bodice shape of this pattern is probably not quite meant for me. Size 8 is ok for the shoulders and bust, size 10 is just barely ok for the waist (I probably need something in between 10 and 12), however all of this transition between sizes leaves too much fabric at the back, that is why installing the zipper can be quite a puzzle.
When I basted the zipper in and tried the dress on, the back was practically hanging loose and was not fitted at all. I unpicked the basting and started playing with different seam allowance width along the length of the zipper (as seen in the left picture below). Finally, when I was happy with the result and attached the lining to the zipper, it became clear that the ends of the lining waist seam do not meet each other across the zipper, and quite badly, by 1 cm. So I had to unpick that seam either and try once again.
It appears to me now that every seam of this dress has been unpicked at least once, few of them – more than once. Interestingly enough, I somehow did not loose the patience and did not get irritated by the lack of success. Instead, I continued unpicking seams and stitching once again, until, finally, I was absolutely happy with the fit. Then I finished the remaining exposed seams with the bias tape that I made myself from the remainder of the lining. And the last thing was to hem the sleeves.
In the original pattern the sleeves also feature a flounce, just exactly as the skirt. For this dress I simply did not have enough fabric for sleeves flounces. And that’s probably even for good, because it is enough of one flounce in this dress. The print is busy, fabric colors are vibrant, so additional flounces would have turned the dress into a fully blown masterpiece of modern art. It would probably have been too much.
At first I cut long sleeves, but ended up shortening them to get three quarter sleeves. Since the dress did not have any top stitching, I decided to also use bias tape to finish the sleeves, which I ended up slip-stitching.
I used McCall’s pattern M7994 for this dress and chose to make view C. The fabric is this gorgeous wool blend in teal color, and I chose burgundy viscose lining for more fancy look. I made this dress of only 1.50 meters of fabric. Other notions were thread in two colors and an invisible 60 cm zipper. This dress cost me 73 Eur. It was made in November 2020.
This dress is an elaborate make indeed. I am actually very proud of it. It sits on me and fits very well, however to achieve that, I needed to put in a lot of work and effort. I absolutely love my new fancy dress and will continue feeling warm and cozy in it during upcoming winter months!
Let’s all stay healthy!