Sunday, January 21, 2018

Pretty in Pink, McCalls M7561

My daughter was invited to a destination wedding in the Dominican Republic for close friends of hers.  I love sewing for my girls, and offered to make her dress for her.  She picked out a few inspiration photos from Pinterest of dresses with fitted tops and floaty skirts.

Inspiration from Pinterest for bodice of dress
Inspiration from Pinterest for skirt of dress

I had some sparkly pink stretch lace fabric in my stash (I have no idea where I purchased it from or how long I've had it) that was just waiting for a special occasion dress.  I found McCalls M7561, which is a knit dress pattern to accommodate the stretch lace, and I went with a mash-up of views.  I used the front and back necklines of View B, but went without sleeves to match the inspiration photo.  The pattern uses the same front and back pieces for both the sleeveless and the sleeved version so I didn't have to make any adjustments at the armscythe while cutting out.  We also decided on the shorter length of View B to match the second inspiration photo.
Photo credit:
I headed to my local Fabricland to search for some fabrics in order to create the rest of the dress.  I was absolutely lucky to find a very soft rayon/lycra jersey that matched the pink of the lace.  I was even luckier to find it on clearance for $3/meter!  This became the base of the dress, as underlining for the lace and as the bottom layer of the skirt.  It's so soft and will keep her very cool.  It took some playing to get the rest of the fabrics skirt right as I couldn't find just the right colour chiffon for the floaty skirt.  The staff at Fabricland were excellent with their help and came up with the suggestion of layering a peachy colour chiffon under a dusty rose colour chiffon.  The peach was too bright on its own and the dusty rose was too muddy on its own, but layered together, they coordinated almost perfectly!  I was a bit hesitant to use a chiffon over the very stretchy jersey in a knit pattern, but I figured with all of the gathering at the waist, it would support the waist seam without being be too stretchy.

Concept drawing and playing with fabrics in my Sewing Journal
I constructed the underlining and the lace bodices as separate units at the shoulder and side seams, then basted them together at the neckline, armholes, and centre back before continuing with the bodice as one unit.  I stitched the side and back seams of the skirt layers separately, using French seams for the chiffon layers, and the serger for the jersey layer.  I based all three layers together at the waist seam and gathered them as one unit before stitching them to the bodice.

Another variation I made from the pattern was to add a centre back invisible zipper to ensure that the waist seam wouldn't have to stretch to get the dress on and off.  This also offered another area I could use to ensure the fit would be spot on.  I used a tricot interfacing on the seam allowance area near the zipper to keep it from puckering or stretching out.  I've adapted this method for almost ALL of my zippers no matter the fabric type, and am much happier when I do.  I hand basted the zipper in before sewing it in by machine.

During our first (and only due to weather, holiday, and travel time constraints!!) fitting, we decided to narrow the shoulder seams to make more of a cut in shoulder/tank style top. I narrowed them from the armscythe side as opposed to the neckline side, making more of a cut away shoulder line, tapering to the original underarm height as drafted.  The straps are still wide enough to cover her bra strap, but don't cover the entire shoulder.    And finally, the last change was to use 2-1/2" wide cross-cut strips of the rayon/lycra jersey to finish the armhole edges and the neckline, folded in half, then stitched on the right side of the bodice like you would on a tee shirt.  I then folded the binding completely to the inside and hand stitched to keep them from showing on the outside.  I think that simply binding the edges would have been too casual considering the rest of the dress.

I found a 1-1/2" wide silky look ribbon of an extremely close blush pink colour to add a finishing touch to the waist.  I think it turned out beautifully, and my daughter couldn't be happier.

She has promised me pictures of her wearing it on the day of the wedding, and I'll post them when I've got them from her!

1 comment:

  1. What a great dress and I'm sure your daughter is thrilled that you made it for her!