McCalls 7243 and Vogue 1359: DIY Velvet Dresses: Or When You Make 2 Dresses and Dislike Both
The Festive Season is upon us and I wanted a quick fix make: a dressy dress that would also be comfortable to wear. You know how it goes: christmas day is spent eating and lounging around on the floor, playing games, opening presents etc. And before christmas day are the inevitable meals out/ drinks etc. Velvet is very on trend at the moment and as I had some stretch velvet in my stash I just need the inspiration.
This is my version – and I am going to say it right upfront. I DISLIKE IT. So much so that I am only going to post one picture of it. (Forgive the opaque tights: these pictures were taken one very cold afternoon before rushing off to the school nativity play).
I don’t think it is the patterns fault as such. I have seen a couple of decent versions of this pattern sewn up. I think my issue is the proportions of the collar on my significant bust! It just doesn’t look right. I would have probably preferred for the neck to be a bit deeper too. Furthermore, I took the decision to self line the collar because I didn’t want to have to deal with a potentially messy hem with the velvet, and I don’t think the self lining was such a great idea. The collar just won’t sit quite right.
Anyway, this dress is sadly a wadder for me. I did actually end up wearing it out to the nativity with a cardigan over the top, and then we went out for dinner afterwards. But nope, it will probably be donated. Apart from a little bit of time I haven’t lost much. Review below.
But then! I decided I HAD to have a velvet dress so I purchased 2 metres of another stretch velvet in a deep bottle green (much nicer colour wise IRL than in these photos). This second velvet was heavier than the black. hmmmm….
I used Vogue 1359 (now OOP) which I have made previously with great success (see here for details). I assumed there would be no fit issues and ploughed on, eager to get finished. The only changes made were that this velvet version is unlined (the neckline is finished with a facing) and the hem was eventually finished with a bias facing because it ended up being too short….see below.
So, the issue with this green dress is that the waistline is far to high: about 1 – 2 inches too high. I am guessing (?) it is to do with the bulkiness of the front knot causing the waistline to ride up? I ended up having to stitch the knot into place because the opening was pulling open. Ergh! I am NOT happy with the fit even though it doesn’t look that bad in the photographs, I am disappointed.
Pattern Review McCalls 7243
Close-fitting, pullover top and dresses have collar, and stitched hems. Narrow hem finish on collar, and armholes A.
4 – 20
I sized down on the bust and graded out over the waist/ hips.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
For the most part yes. The way the collar is finished is something like a flat fell finish? Little tricky but doable.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I do not like this dress on me at all. It’s not the fault of the pattern: I have seen decent versions on other sewists. I think my major issue is the proportion of the collar on my significant bust! It just doesn’t look right. I would have probably preferred for the neck to be a bit deeper too. Furthermore, I took the decision to self line the collar because I didn’t want to have to deal with a potentially messy hem with the velvet, and I don’t think the self lining was such a great idea. The collar just won’t sit quite right.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I did cut the outer curve of the collar at the largest size because I did have a feeling the collar would be proportionally small, but to no avail.
I did a 1″ sway back adjustment.
I added 3 inches to the length (yep, this dress is short. I am 5’3″ FYI).
I decided to self line the collar to avoid hemming the velvet….mistake. I think the velvet against velvet is part of the problem of the collar not sitting right.
I used a walking foot to sew.
I stabilised the shoulders with clear elastic.
I staystitched the neckline (not mentioned in instructions).
I used fusible hemming tape to hem…
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Nope. Yep I would recommend if you like the look (i.e. are smaller in the bust).
You win some, you lose some. Sadly this dress is not for me and will probably be donated.
In conclusion, I daresay the green dress will be worn over christmas (maybe…maybe not). I still wanted to share these dresses with you because, hey life throws us a few wadders sometimes…until soon.