a blog about my adventures in dressmaking, crochet, knitting and anything else i try to make.

McCalls 7381

hello readers, are you still there? haha.  it has been a long flipping while since i blogged any sewing, especially something new or different from my usual comfortable/relaxed/slouching around style!

i have a dress which i’d hoped would be a wearable toile to show you today, but i think i’m going to call it a successful finished garment rather than a toile, because i’m really pleased with it.

it’s a mccalls pattern; 7381 which is free with this month’s issue of love sewing magazine.  after seeing amy’s version, then heather’s jersey version, i really needed this dress in my life.  i definitely don’t need an excuse to make a nice dress but as my mom’s 60th birthday is next weekend, i thought it would be a good thing to aim for.

talking of amy’s version, i’m really glad i read her blog before i cut my fabric out.  the envelope measurements suggested i should cut a medium for my bust, grading into a large for my waist and hips.  i actually just cut a straight small and i’m really happy with the fit.  for reference, my measurements are 36-32-42.

for those who are blind like me, the finished measurements are written on the paper pattern pieces, not the envelope!  i was staring at it for ages trying to see where amy might have found them, haha.  that’s what happens when you don’t use big 4 patterns often eh!

because i was cutting the small i was really nervous throughout the whole process that the dress wouldn’t fit me, especially the arm holes.  it turns out that they’re perfect and now i know all my worry was unnecessary.

the fabric i used is a viscose from adam ross fabrics.  i won a voucher for their shop last year at sew brum and this was one of the fabrics i chose.  i was feeling really unconfident sewing with viscose the entire time i was making this dress, and i think i was distracted by this uneasiness when i was cutting out too, because i only cut one back bodice instead of two.  that means that the inside of my dress now looks like this:

i had to use a different viscose that i bought from the rag market last year.  it doesn’t match, but it doesn’t show through either (i checked before i cut it out!) so that’s that.  interesting insides make for an interesting story, right?  or in this case, maybe my un-enthusiasm for cutting out, haha.

as with any dress with lovely design features, there’s lots of markings to transfer.  this was a real faff if i’m honest, but mainly because of how much my fabric was moving around.  i had problems when i was trying to do the shoulder pleats, and in the end i decided to cut my losses and sew the pleats to the inside, because i just couldn’t get a nice straight line even with my walking foot.  i don’t think it matters and i really like the directions of the folds on the bodice.

the actual sewing of the dress wasn’t difficult, but the fabric made things harder than it needed to be just because it is so slinky.  there was a few times i unpicked things, but that isn’t an unusual occurrence for me, my seam ripper is my best friend, haha.

i like the faux ties, and the poppers make me feel like there’s no risk of accidental flashing which is why i veer away from v-neck styles.

it’s worth mentioning that you really need to be careful with the bottom of the ties.  i would even recommend interfacing the bits that need reinforcing (the pattern tells you where).  i have put a few hand stitches in mine, i am overly worried it will start fraying.

after over analysing these pictures, part of me wonders whether this dress makes me look a bit preggers.  i can assure you, there’s no baby, just a bit too much extra food if i’m really honest haha!

i would definitely make this dress again as i really love it!  i think that i would take an inch off the length of the back bodice next time as i think it’s a bit too baggy.

i’ve not felt like making much for myself in the last few weeks, and forcing myself to do this was a really big thing in my mind.  i felt rubbish because of the shifty fabric and i did a little cry because i made it such a massive deal in my head.  i really didn’t need to and now i can’t wait to get started on my next project.  something nice and easy though this time, like a cardigan.

a big old thumbs up for my new dress (and my sew-jo returning!)

i’m also doing a little swish here, damn my necklace being out of line.

14 Discussions on
“McCalls 7381”
    • thanks amy! i think i might try that next time i sew with it, especially if it’s got pleats in again. hoping to find some pretty fabric to make a second one with at the sewing show on friday!

  • This looks really cute on you! The tie front reminds me a bit of the Vogue 1395 – definitely one worth looking into if you’re keen on this style 🙂 x

  • Gorgeous dress, I love the style and those ties are fab, I used this fabric to make a Cheyenne tunic and it hard but love the drape it has. Yay for your mojo too!

    • thanks lynsey! it’s worth sticking with the hard fabrics for those reasons right? the finished garment is always so beautiful but they are a real test of patience!!

  • Hi Rachel,

    Just found your review on McCalls 7381. I love your dress and choice of fabric, it looks really gorgeous on you. I have some crepe de chine to make this dress, which will probably be challenging fabric. Do you think it could be made without the press studs, ie: the front bodice sown as a seam as pattern has plenty of ease? Would I still be able to get it on?

    • hi linda, thank you for your kind words! i think you could get it on and off without the poppers, but you’d need to put some kind of fastening there as the bodice pieces are separate, unless you draft something different, otherwise you’ll be flashing everyone, hehe!

      • Hi Rachel,
        Thank you for your comments. I was thinking of drafting the front differently without the poppers.But was concerned I go to all the effort and not be able to get the dress on, your comment was helpful.

  • You’ve prompted me to make up my (free) pattern too and I’m pleased with mine as well! One question – have you sewn down the neck and skirt pleats a bit? it looks like you may have from the photos and I’ve removed the basting on mine but I wonder if I should have stitched them down a bit….?

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