I have a subscription to Love Sewing magazine and have started making some of the patterns. You always get 2 paper patterns, one of which is McCalls, but there are also 2 or 3 others which are PDF only from the website https://www.lovesewingmag.co.uk/ with the instructions being in the magazine.
Anyone can use the PDF’s for the price of your email address, and sewists with some experience could work out how to put them together without the instructions so I urge you to check them out.
This one from the recent issue 70 looked like my kind of style and I bought this cotton fabric from a local shop. The recommended fabric was linen. Stated requirements were 2.4m which was about right.
A medium weight cotton with spider webs – it was on sale and I suspect originally meant for some kind of childrens’ halloween costume. The actual colour is purple although it looks more like blue here.
The point of this dress is ‘learn a new skill, fabric covered buttons’. The button placket is not functional as there is a zip all the way down the back of the dress.
I printed out the 30+ pages of pattern and stuck them together. This was a big job in itself but using another tip from Love Sewing I held the pieces of paper up to a window and matched up the lines of the pattern pieces rather than cut off the edges of all the sheets. The accuracy of the sticking seemed to be improved using this method.
The sleeve is a batwing/dolman/grown on type, not sure of the correct term ie there are no separate sleeve pieces. The bodice has waist and bust darts. The bust darts didn’t print out properly but it was obvious by the shape of the pattern pieces and extra length on the front bodice that they were meant to be there.
I also find its a really good idea to take a close look at the fit on the model in the picture. The model will usually be slimmer and taller than myself so any fit issues I can spot on her will be the same on me plus some.
Areas to especially look hard at are the shoulders do they look dropped? ( I don’t like dropped shoulders), the how tight are the arms, how low is the neck, in this case I thought the bodice looked a bit long on the model and removed 1cm from the length of the pattern accordingly, I also made the neck a little lower.
Whilst knowing that making a toile is a good idea and have made them for some projects in the past, I mostly can’t be bothered. I do however want a good fit as much as the next person so my answer to this dilemma is to cut pattern pieces, erring on the side of big , machine tack them together, try on, and consider any appropriate fitting adjustments from the tacked garment before sewing together properly. In this instance I was able to take a further 1cm off the bodice length and move the bust darts points to the right place.
The garment construction was fairly quick easy and straight forward. I like the welt pockets and general style. The covered buttons were easy to make but they tend to blend in so if I hadn’t already made them I would have used a different contrast button instead.
As the buttons are purely a design feature I didn’t take any chances making potentially dodgy button holes and merely hand sewed the 2 placket sides together behind each button to make it look as if the buttons were securing it. I doubt if many people would notice the lack of actual button holes.
I am quite pleased with this dress, the cotton fabric means it can be worn in warm weather but as its fairly thick it will be trans seasonal as well.
This is my first ‘pattern review’ and I believe its customary to include some Q & A so here goes.
What did you like about the pattern? – Semi-fitted style, welt pockets, easy batwing sleeve which eliminate sleeve fitting issues, only a few pattern pieces, would work with a variety of fabrics and seasons.
What didn’t you like? – bust darts didn’t print out, no notches, sketchy instructions compared to independents.
What size did you make? – Bust 16, waist 18, hips 14
Fabric used : bought 2.5 m medium weight cotton, 22 in zip, fabric button backs
Modifications: Shortened bodice, lowered neck, didn’t make button holes
Would you make it again/recommend: I normally like to try something different but would recommend, I’ve worn it a few times and feel good doing so.
Bonus feature : Tailor’s ham
I bought a t-shirt for £1 from a charity shop but once home it looked a bit shabby to make anything from. However I did fancy owning a tailor’s ham so I used the t-shirt to cut out some ham shaped pieces and stuffed them with the rest of the t-shirt fabric cut into small pieces.
It works well, job done.