McCalls 7534 Faux Wrap Dress in Buttery Ecru Viscose Poplin
Its finally Spring in the PNW and I have been dreaming of the perfect flowy maxi dress with all the Christy Dawn vibes to wear in the upcoming hot months of summer, day dreaming of frolicking on the mountain side picking wildflowers, while my hair is blowing in the warm breeze, all while wearing my new faux wrap dress and lace up boots. Unfortunately for me, this dress did not quit live up to my Christy Dawn expectations, and my free spirit dreams feel a bit crushed. Nor do I have the lace up boots to match. Ahhh well, I still love the dress but find it more suitable for a date night out with the hubs or wearing to a special event such as a ballet or performance at the Paramount Theater. Maybe the lace up boots will change that! I really really want all the free spirit dresses in my life, maybe its a matter of getting used to wearing casually, I am such a two piece pants person, its challenging to embrace a dress as causal even though its a huge trend that is not looking to leave.
Despite my best efforts, I am still not 100 percent certain I made the best decision with the fabric choice and pattern, I also had a difficult time deciding if this dress required lining or not. I purchased this pattern months ago after seeing the beautiful Riva Rivaladiva.com wearing her leopard print make on her trip to London! She nailed the look ( as usual I absolutely adore her and everything she creates!) and made it look effortless and chic. I realllllly loveee the long sleeve version and the maxi length, but just did not have enough fabric to make it work, improvising once again! When it comes down to maxi length plus anything long and full sleeve, 4 plus yards of 54” width fabric really will be the only thing that works, possibly even more for fuller volume skirts or added ruffle panel. Take my word for it, you simply can not make it work with less fabric no matter how you slice it.
I will continue to discuss with you a few things!
-Pattern and Construction
I cut a straight size 14 based off my measurements, no grading or mods needed with the pattern itself. I am a height of 5ft 7 ish I normally fall into the base height for all pattern ( I know lucky me!) so the bodice and skirt or pant usually hit right where they need too. I was able to cut out all my pieces as instructed EXCEPT for the sleeve. This is where you need that extra fabric for making a wide full body sleeve. I did have enough to cut the sleeve ( using piece D- there are 2 sleeve options for this pattern or sleeveless, I wanted full billowy sleeve) right at the shorten line. This is where I made my first mistake. I had the idea of creating the elastic casing just as I would have with the long sleeve, but as a shorten sleeve, still creating the full volume look. I failed to add more width grading the seam wider at the hem. Next time that is a very easy mod, if you want to shorten you sleeve. I will explain my sleeve mod in more detail later in the post.
Be sure to mark all your dots on this pattern! I used a fabric pen so it would be visible. There is one pleat at each side of the neckline, I love the look it gives the garment, be sure to fold on the INSIDE not on the outside. Which I mixed up and had to seam rip out several times, before it clicked. I also lined the entire bodice with white light weight cotton I had in my stash for years ( umm hello you are suppose to be made into quilt squares) there are instructions for basting your lining in this pattern. All the instructions were very clear and straight forward, As usual there are no instructions for finishing your seams, but I went ahead and used my overlock and used french seams on both the skirt and skirt liner. The belt is attached and not loose, be sure to follow the exact steps , I accidentally attached the belt incorrectly and had to rip it out, good thing I caught that! The neck facing is fused and under stitched, there is some hand basting on the neckline which secures the facing in place.
After you attach your bodice to your skirt ( you have made a skirt outer and liner at this point basting them together) be sure to flip the RIGHT side of the bodice to RIGHT side of the skirt stitching your seam allowance ( after you have neaten the seam) of the bodice and skirt together to create a space for the elastic to go through. Be sure to move your belt straps out of the way! This is designed to create the casing inside the garment as opposed to traditional casings that are on the outside. However I did the outside casing first and didn’t mind the look, but fixed my mistake.
Now the capped sleeve. I struggled here only because the sleeve didn’t turn out the way I wanted form the get go. As mentioned above, I cut the original sleeve piece on the shorten line but failed to add in extra width to create a full volume sleeve. I went ahead and created a casing for elastic and tried it anyway. It ended up becoming to tight and didn’t give the look I wanted. So I took that all apart… and made a simple band for the sleeve. I kind of winged it here, I cut the band 4 inches in width and 2 inches shorter than the original sleeve hem. I measured the band around my arm, making sure it wasn’t to loose or to tight before stitching the ends together, then folded the band wrong sides together and gave it a good press. I continued to gather the sleeves and evenly distributed the gathers attaching the band to the sleeve right sides together raw edges lining up. I then finished my raw edge with the overlock. This was a little lazy on my end, I could have hand basted the raw edge of the sleeve in the sleeve band enclosing the raw edge, but after several sleeve attempts , I just wanted it done- I am sure you can relate!!
The ecru viscose poplin fabric is the real winner of this story, purchased from Blackbird Fabrics months ago ( no longer in stock) , I waited for the right opportunity to sew a dress out of it. I purchased this fabric out of want vs need and did not have a pattern chosen to work with but was leaning toward the Named Solina Dress or the Paper Cut Patterns Meridan Dress. Either pattern would have turned out amazing, for whatever reason the McCalls maxi dress was on my mind once again. The fabric ended up being more sheer than anticipated, reluctantly I decided to line the bodice, which lead to lining the skirt too. I use a light weight white cotton, it ended up making the viscose easier to work with, less slipping around, and it help to created a nice structure that I wouldn’t have other wise. I went back on forth to line or not to line, if I could go back, I would have left the dress unlined and made a camisole slip dress to wear separately underneath, but do love the layer of structure it provides. The two skirt pieces are not attached ( only to the bodice), so there is a lovely drape and flow happening.
Overall the pattern and fabric worked well together, the fit is spot on, but a little challenging pulling all that fabric on and off overhead. It is a sophisticated dress but I am going to embrace wearing it more casually with sneakers or flats for the summer and get out of my two piece comfort zone. I do anticipate to make this dress pattern again with a full sleeve., maybe play with sheers again like organza, or go for a different look and use double gauze or a fun plaid print! Despite all my sewing mistakes, that were all faults of my own I do love this dress.
What would you make with this pattern? Would you embrace the sheer or go more bold with a print or structured fabric? Do you like to play with dresses and wear them more casually or reserve them for formal occasions? I would love for your to share your thoughts or comments below! Thank you for visiting my blog!
Pattern- Mcalls 7534
Fabric- Viscose Ecru BlackBird Fabrics