Monday, January 27, 2014

McCalls 8107 -- Polka Dot Dress

I am allowing myself to sew winter things through February, but my daughter is sick of the cold weather and has moved on to sewing spring and summer things.  She purchased some white cotton fabric with black polka dots (the polka dots are very slightly raised) from Joann Fabrics and she rummaged through my pattern stash for a style she thought would work, settling on McCalls 8107, a basic princess-seamed but now out-of-print pattern.

Because her fabric was white it needed a lining, and for that she used a nice white broadcloth from Hobby Lobby.  She was afraid it would make the dress too heavy, but actually the weight of the lining feels good, and both fabrics are all cotton so the dress should be comfortable even in the summer.

The directions for sewing princess seams must have been good.  I was expecting to help with that part, but she already had them sewn and had done a great job before I even knew she had started.

However, the directions for the rest of the dress were terrible.  She used the directions of view I, because that view has a lining. The lining was attached with bias tape at the neckline and sleeves (she used black for contrast).  BUT -- and this was the terrible part -- the zipper was put in last, after the dress was sewn together.  And instead of sandwiching the zipper between the lining and the dress, at that point the lining and dress were treated as one.  The zipper was very difficult to put in with the rest of the dress sewn up.  I put the zipper in for her, and I had to redo it several times to get it to be acceptable.  Not fun!  I DO NOT recommend this method ever.

The dress by itself is a little plain, so she added a patent leather belt for waist definition.  After driving around to at least five different stores in a fruitless attempt to find one, I finally ordered one from Ebay (under $10 for a real patent leather belt - plus it is delivered right to your door!).
My daughter added 1 inch to the hem length which left very little room for an actual hem.  I'm trying to get her to add 3 inches to patterns (she is 5'9"), but for this dress we used hem tape to make a narrow hem.  The lining was hemmed an inch or two shorter.

Here is a close-up of the fabric and the bias trim:

We almost gave up on this dress, but I'm glad we didn't.  My daughter looks lovely in it, and she has gotten to wear it already during one of our warmer weekends.  It also looks cute with a black cardigan.  

20 comments:

  1. This looks so pretty and fresh!

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    1. Thanks! I hope she gets lots of wear out of it.

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  2. The dress is adorable. And the belt enhances it!

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    1. Thanks! I recommend ebay if you are looking for a similar belt:)

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  3. It looks classic and lovely. She's going to get a lot of mileage out of this one! the zipper sounds like a challenge. Glad that she had your help. She looks marvelous!

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  4. This looks very pretty makes me long for spring. McCalls has some great patterns, but their instructions often leave me scratching my head!

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    1. I agree. It seems to me that the worst directions are often on the Easy patterns. They try to simplify it too much and end up making it more complicated.

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  5. Such a pretty dress! I am a fan of polka dots and of black and white. I am sorry there were so many challenges. I hate when instructions are poor...it can mean all the difference in a successful or unsuccessful project. She is to be applauded for pushing through. (And you are to be applauded for coming to her aid.)

    Your daughter looks beautiful!

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  6. That is absolutely fabulous! I'm so glad you two didn't give up on the dress. It looks great on her! She's a lovely size, and elegant with her height. That dress is perfect for her -- doesn't she look like she stepped straight out of "Call the Midwife" or something? Charming! You could probably write notes into her pattern, telling how to do the zipper differently, and when she uses it again in 5 years, it will be easier for her. I must say, it is so comforting to me to see young women sewing. I'm so afraid that simple clothes sewing is becoming a lost art, and so few women seem to do it anymore. Congrats on a great daughter/mother project!

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  7. anything polka dot & I love it already lol! the dress turned out to be well worth the effort, love it!
    Helen

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  8. Gorgeous dress and it looks perfect on your daughter. I love polka dots and the black trim and belt set it off beautifully. She's inherited your styling talent as well as your sewing skills. x

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  9. That's a very pretty dress. I like the trim on the sleeves and the little belt. It must be fun to sew with your daughter.

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  10. Such a chic little polka dot dress! Love the details.

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    1. Thanks! It was not fun to make, but hopefully will be fun to wear:)

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  11. This is sooooooooooooo cute!! Go girl!! I love seeing it. She did such a great job. Reminds me of when I sewed at her age. You both should be so proud of yourselves and your sewing. Each creation is just wonderful!!

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  12. Despite the "learning opportunities" she faced in making this dress, your daughter ended up with a gorgeous and very versatile garment. She is very lucky to have you as her patient sewing teacher and problem solver! Although my mom used to sew beautifully, neither of us would have enjoyed her teaching me to sew--and therefore she didn't!

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    1. LOL! My mom was the same way. She sews beautifully, but is not a patient teacher either. It was too easy to just do it herself. So mostly I have learned on my own:)

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  13. I am glad you and your daughter didn't give up on this dress, Angela, you both did a beautiful job, The slender patin leatherbelt just adds the final touch! I am also with your daughter about spring and summer, we have had a very cold winter and spring is so looking good about now! I think it is so precious that you both sew together, I was at my Moms Monday and saw a abook about quilting, she is thinking about trying this this year, I have already asked her to take me on. ~smile~ Thanks for sharing.
    Blessings,
    Sue

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  14. I think this dress is fantastic! It looks so professional and neatly made, you'd never guess you both had problems with the pattern. I am in awe of your sewing abilities! It's a lovely fabric for that style of dress and your daughter looks beautiful in it. x

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