I confess, I may be slightly infatuated with this pattern. I was happy when I made it. I feel happy when I wear it.
Front view. The buttons finish mid thigh.
Meet McCalls 7242
. I immediately fell in love with this pattern. It has a gracious swooshiness (technical term). I pictured it in a vivid blue fabric.
When I was in Melbourne for Frocktails, Busy Lizzie gave me a page from a magazine of a ‘celebrity’ wearing a striped maxi shirt dress (very much like this one), telling me ‘I can see you in this’. She knows me well! I confess I’ve been a little obsessed since. When I spotted this McCalls pattern it seemed like a good place to start a maxi shirtdress kick. Next up I’m looking for something with a buttonband – I may simply convert an existing ‘stash’ pattern.
Aussie road block: it’s a Laura Ashley design and McCalls only ship Laura Ashley patterns to USA and Canada! I know, I know, virtual mailboxes, other websites such as sewingpatterns.com (which didn’t have it at the time, I’m an impatient person!), eBay… however we have an international network of enablers… I’m most grateful to Suzanne of Beau baby for helping me out! Thank you!
The Pattern – McCalls 7242
This pattern is described as: Loose-fitting dresses have collar, blouson bodice, back pleated into self-lined yoke, elasticised waist, side pockets, and narrow hem. A: Pockets and side slits. B: Ruffle. C: Bias armhole facings. B and D: Elasticised lower edge of sleeves.
I was immediately drawn to the sleeveless maxi dress – View C.
This is a lovely design, elegant in its simplicity.
The skirt is gently flared. I like the lack of volume combined with the length of the skirt. I’m 5 foot 4 and I feel slender and tall(ish) in this style.
Back view: McCalls 7242. A rather wet hem… see photo below! The perils of beachside living.
The neckline is simple V-neck with a mandarin/band collar. As far as collars go – this is nowhere near as fiddly as a collar and band to attach.
I like the centre back pleat and how the back is gently gathered at the waist with elastic. I’m not always a fan of elastic at the waist… in fact I never seem to have any in my stash. However it is very comfortable for eating/wearing and I’d always wear a belt with this to break up the expanse of fabric and define my waist.
I cut the back yoke on the bias. The back features a pleat and the waist is gathered in with elastic.
The finish is generally neat. I opted to French seam the side seams of the bodice & skirt. The yoke is self-lined, finished burrito style (I cut the outer yoke on the bias – barely noticeable but I know). The armholes are finished with self bias binding.
The fit across the upper bust reminds me of the Grainline Alder (which I made here, here and here!). The back is fuller than the Alder with a centre back pleat and the fullness being gathered in gently at the waist with elastic. Note: There are no bodice darts for shaping.
The only overlocking is along the inner edge of front facings.
I managed to have a slight ‘idiot’ moment sewing on the facings in a completely stupid fashion late in the afternoon of the first day – I knew I should stop… but I didn’t… the blessing is I didn’t go past ‘the point of no return’ and some unpicking and patience figured up my mistake. Lisa of Notes from a Mad Housewife sent me the instructions via Instagram (mine were beside my machine, locked away in the sewing room for the night… I’m sure I’m not the only person who can’t go to sleep until I figure out a mistake!). Funnily enough she was just finishing up her long-sleeved shorter version of the same dress – perhaps more inspirational for those of you heading into fall!
Of course I managed to ‘wreck the dress’ during photos, getting caught by the slightly bigger wave wash than anticipated! You will notice some of these photos have a slightly drenched hemline!
Honestly I can’t find much critical to say about this pattern. It went together easily and I like its silhouette, ‘vibe’ (that’s a thing right?) and design elements.
The elastic finishes shy of the centre on each side. I find it does want to pull the centre front apart a little at the waistline. I think my elastic needs to be looser – I confess I didn’t measure the elastic using the pattern guide (I never do). I may use a button or snap to hold it neatly closed (see this post by the Vintage Ink Fairy)… although I will probably always wear a belt with this to define my waist and break up the expanse of fabric.
The front opening doesn’t have a button placket. It is finished with long, long, long front facings. The maxi length of the skirt combined with the buttons stopping above the knee means that the facing wants to flap out a little as I walk. I might try some invisible hem stitches to catch it to the inside of the dress skirt.
McCalls 7242, you can just see the front facings poking out here. That sort of thing bugs me – minor but I notice it
I love it – perhaps one of my favourite creations of 2015.
To the girls who came from Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Parkes and Frederickton to sew in Port Macquarie last weekend. I was exhausted after two days of non-stop sewing (and talking!). Included in this lovely bunch was Kat of House of Lane (crikey she can sew fast!), Maria of How Good Is That?, Michelle of My Sparkling Machine, Colette of Colette’s Sewing and Stuff, Loanne from the Gold Coast, Lee-anne from Parkes, Bianca from Brisbane, Kylie from Frederickton and Jenny from Lincraft.
We had breakfast and dinner together (I’m not sure you can count picking up takeaway and stuffing it down our throats mid-sewing as ‘lunch’) and spent two days talking and sewing non-stop. It was lots of fun and something I haven’t done before. Sewing can be such a solitary process, it was interesting to sew with company… it was also interesting to see how focussed we all are! I loved that people bought their families and partners along with them – and we all had dinner together. It was noisy and fun. We were joined at dinner by June, who happened to spot us on Instagram and was holidaying in Port with her daughter.
I managed to start and finish this dress over those two days (thank you for rescuing me from a ‘derp’ moment Maria LOL). I even managed to scare away a hoard of rampaging squirrels and stayed focused until I reached the finish line. Thank you to Bianca who provided the final bit of white thread as I ran out about 20cm from the end of the hem! Argh! Typical.
There were quite a few who couldn’t make it – life happens! I think there may be another in 2016… maybe with a workshop or two, we might need a bigger room… hopefully the weather is as perfectly fabulous as it was last week.
Sorry not many photos of the actual weekend’s activities… I get distracted and just enjoy the moment sometimes… camera/iPhone free. Nothing to apologise for!
Pattern: McCalls 7242, size 6-8
Fabric: Woven rayon from Spotlight, Port Macquarie. I used approximately 3 metres (plenty of leftovers). I purchased it on special for $9.95 a metre.
A girl and her dog. I do love a maxi that can be a little saucy when required.
It was a warm spring weekend – we spotted a pod of whales breaching and flipping their tails about. Like spotting koalas ‘in the wild’, it’s hard to tire of the magic moments that nature provides free of charge.
Whales frolicking off the beach in the afternoon heat
This post first appeared on http://www.sewbusylizzy.com