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Draped Front Dress In Gorgeous Crepe Jersey

Hello everybody, I am Camelia from @ calcedoniasewing and today I would like to share with you my latest project using this gorgeous Lady McElroy Crepe Jersey.

I fell in love with the beautiful bird print on the teal background, so beautiful. I ordered it without a pattern in my head, I knew it was going to be a dress but I had to feel it before deciding on the pattern. 

As usual, the fabric arrived very fast and it is gorgeous! Very soft and drapey but also quite delicate and not completely opaque. I knew that if it was to be made into a dress with a close body fit I would have to make a slip to wear underneath. 

I prewashed the fabric in the washing machine and hung it to dry. 

After much thinking, I decided on this Burdastyle pattern 114 from issue 2/2013. The drape in the front asks for a drapey fabric but also not too thick as you need to gather quite some fabric there. 

I traced a size 38 for the shoulders and armholes and 40 for the rest. After a bit of measuring, I also made a 1.2cm swayback adjustment using the slide and pivot method as described in Nancy Zieman`s book, Pattern Fitting with confidence. Also, I was afraid that the neckline would be too wide and my bra straps would show so I added 1cm at the neck/shoulder seam, I think that was a good decision. I also serged clear elastic on my shoulder seams.

In the magazine, the dress is sleeveless but I wanted it with sleeves so I used the ones from the top pattern and made them shorter by 20cm. 

The pattern is designed with the back cut on the fold, but from previous experiences, I knew that the chance to get a perfect fit would be very small. So I added a seam allowance at the CB and also I scooped the back a bit at the waist level and then I added the same amount at the side seam. I love how the back fits! 

I cut the pieces using pattern weights for the pattern pieces and my rotary cutter as this fabric is so stretchy and soft. Much easier than pinning and cutting with scissors.

The dress is sewn mostly on the serger and a few bits on the sewing machine. For the hem, I used my coverstitch machine, which gave me a really hard time with skipped stitches and all that, making me want to throw it in the garbage.. the machine, not the dress :), but then I remembered that sometimes using stretch thread for the looper will help, like this one . And it did, so happy with it!

Don't be scared! I will explain what happened here :)! The neckline is finished with facings, and that is what I used too, but when I tried on the dress, it was pulling at the armholes and feeling uncomfortable and at first I was thinking it was too small, but this fabric is so stretchy it was not possible to be so uncomfortable! And then I realized my mistake!! I had used stretch interfacing for my facings but I didn`t pay attention to cut it with the stretch in the same direction as the facings/dress so my facing were rigid, so no stretching with the dress! I had my sleeves all serged and the neckline trimmed and understitched and the fabric is so delicate I didn`t want to take risks to take it all out and cut new facings. So , my solution to this was to cut off the facings, with Pinking Shears (I love my Fiskars pinking shears!) Very carefully, I cut around the armholes and the neckline and then I topstitched around the neckline to be sure that that facing...well what was left of the facing, will stay to the inside. And now it is PERFECT!!

I look happy as I am happy! I love the fit of the dress now! Before I forget, I did make a slip dress to wear underneath, using the pattern from McCalls 6696, but because I made it out of stretch lining (similar to this) fabric I cut it on the straight of grain and not on the bias as per the pattern.

 As usual, I made a small modeling video for you to see how gorgeous this fabric is!

Happy sewing! @calcedoniasewing


Tropical Dream Ruffle Midi Dress

Often my dressmaking process starts with a shape or pattern and then I find a fabric to fit with it. But when I saw this Kern Palms Viscose Dobby by Lady McElroy, nothing on my plans list seemed right. I’m not usually one for pattern hacking, but I felt that this beautiful print on this lovely textured fabric demanded something special. I knew I wanted something feminine but still soft and comfortable. The Heidi Day Dress by The Wearable Studio was a perfect jumping off point for me to create my tropical dream ruffle midi dress.

Pattern & Modifications

The Heidi Day Dress comes as a free pattern with an email subscription to The Wearable Studio, a fairly new pattern company based in Australia. It’s a simple, strappy shift dress with bust darts and back pleats that conceal waist ties.The best part? It’s drafted for a C cup! No FBA this time! 

Transforming this wardrobe basic into a swishy, romantic dream dress was easier than I thought. I added a tie strap detail by simply cutting 4 instead of 2 strap pieces. I stitched one end closed on each piece, and attached the pieces as instructed. It actually made it a bit easier. Since the tie straps are adjustable, it eliminated a fitting step.

For the ruffle, I cut two pieces 25 centimeters in length by 145 centimeters wide. For the width measurement, I simply doubled the width of the hem, which happened to be the width of the fabric. I removed about 8 centimeters from the original hem, then gathered the two rectangles and hemmed the dressed using a narrow roll foot.  I only regret not cutting the piece a bit longer. I would have loved the proportions of the bodice above the waist ties and the ruffle to be a bit more similar, but I’m still very happy with it overall. 


This fabric is a dream to wear. It’s so light and beautiful. It’s also very delicate. Despite using a microtex needle, I still experienced quite a bit of snagging. I would also recommend stabilizing the edges. When the cut edges stretched it caused threads to run up the fabric, distorting the print. Aside from those issues, it sewed up beautifully. It wasn’t too shifty or slippery but I starched the fabric beforehand and used my walking foot for extra stability. The texture is so lovely, but I’m sad that it catches on everything.  

Make Breakdown

Pattern: The Wearable Studio Heidi Day Dress (FREE in email subscription!)

Size: 16

Fabric & Notions: 2.5 Meters Lady McElroy Leaf Viscose Dobby.

Fabric Notes: Lightweight, steady, beautiful textured weave. Easy to work with, but snags easily. 

Design Modifications: Lengthen straps for ties, added hem ruffle.

Fit Alterations: Contoured dart tips for better fit.

Difficulty: Confident Beginner

Future Plans: Yes! I’d love to try one in a more structured linen.

I love wearing this dress! I feel so sassy, yet still very comfortable. The colors and print of the fabric combined with the feminine details of the pattern make this such a beautifully versatile dress! Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Brianna @astitchacrossthesea


A Tale Of Two (Stripey) Dresses

Hello everyone! Good to be back on the blog with an M6886 hack bonanza! OK, not quite a bonanza, more a two-nanza. Yes, that’s a thing… cough.

I’m a big fan of the M6886 - so many possibilities on the envelope and then, if you like to hack, so many ways to go off-piste.

This Textured Jersey Fabric by Lady McElroy triggered an instant vision of a monochrome stripe M6886. It’s a fairly weighty knit, so I reckoned on an autumnal affair: midi length with long sleeves.

For extra cosiness, and because stripes beg you to play with their direction, I added a contrast neckband and cuffs.

When adding the cuffs, I took away only a small amount from the sleeve hem for super-long sleeves and super-snuggly arms.

It’s a simple pattern which needs little explanation but, at the risk of telling a grandma how to suck eggs, I’ll give a few brief details on working with the fabric and adding the bands.

First up, I did spend extra time on pattern matching here. I’m not usually that obsessive about pattern matching (shock horror!), but hey, this is the Minerva blog! So I upped my game and put the hours in. 

To pattern match with these thin white stripes you really do need to pin literally every stripe as it can slip out of place easily. I used ball point pins for jersey, which are so thin you can (whispers) sew over them - gently - to ensure nothing moves. If this is sewing heresy then, as Luther Ingram once said, I don’t wanna be right.

For the neck band (the pattern offers only a folded edge) I measured the edges of the neckline, took away about 15-20% and then cut a strip of fabric that length (plus seam allowances) about 2 inches wide. A half inch seam allowance then gives a half inch wide neckband - just the ticket. Making a neckband to fit depends on a fabric’s stretch and is an art I won’t claim to have mastered; initially my band stood up a little bit, so I unpicked it and removed a little more length to ensure the band would lay flat.

The finished dress is like a great big slouchy hug and for me that is always a win! 

M6886 redux

I thought I’d have enough jersey left over for a top, but when I looked at the remnant, I had a flutter of inspiration: a short flared dress with pockets, much like one I’d seen in the Boden catalogue, but with a simpler construction around the waistline.

I wanted something that would straddle the cooler days of the summer as well as autumn, so I did a quick sketch and then mobilised resources.

I used three patterns to create the dress: the bodice and short sleeves of the M6886, scaled down a size for a snug fit, a vintage skirt pattern, and the Cotton and Chalk Jenna jumpsuit for pocket placement (I wanted the pockets inlaid at the front rather than in the side seam).

In the end there wasn’t enough fabric left for the full vintage skirt, so I folded the pattern back and ended up with a nice a-line shape.

To draft the new pattern pieces, I lay all three patterns on top of each other, roughly jiggled them into position, and then traced over with plain pattern paper. Jiggling, eh? It’s technical stuff this!

I added a neckband again (stripes running horizontal this time, to give a nice neat single stripe all around the neck), and sewed the lot together.

There was a bit of a muddle around pattern matching the skirt to the bodice with the pockets, but I don’t think the slight misalignment is too noticeable at the waist join, and at the pockets it looks kind of accidental-on-purpose and that’s good enough for me.

After all the practice pattern matching with the first dress, this one came together really quickly - especially the sleeves, which I’d had to unpick and realign first time round. I love it when you can literally witness the learning!

I’m not sure why, but this M6886 mash-up has delivered real joy. It was so much fun seeing a dress I liked and then recreating a rough approximation. It was also an unexpected bonus; I’ve come away with not only two easy-to-wear frocks, but also a pattern I’d love to make more dresses with.

The fabric is lovely and warm, and these dresses will see me into winter with tights and a big coat. I don’t want to see the back of the summer, but these secret pyjamas will definitely soften the blow.

Thanks for reading

Ruth @grinlowsews


The Joni Dress in Viscose Geo Jersey

This is my third blog post for Minerva, and I was really happy to try this lovely drapey mint green, medium weight Jersey Fabric. I decided straight away what I would make, the Joni dress from the Tilly and the Buttons Stretch book. 

I have made this dress twice before so was confident to make it again. Interestingly each dress has turned out really different and this one is probably the nicest as it is so nice to wear! 

The fabric is very comfortable and soft to touch.

The fabric is a light weight jersey, and is a lovely mint green and brown colour with a nice retro style pattern. I always like a retro pattern!! The fabric is really stylish as well as comfortable, I can highly recommend it and reasonably priced. I washed the fabric and didn’t notice any shrinkage and it dried very quickly and only creases a little bit, but they drop out when worn. As the fabric is jersey it is slippery to cut but not too difficult. I cut with scissors, just use plenty of pins as the bodice needs to be cut accurately. It doesn’t fray at all but I did sew completely using my over locker, which saved a lot of time. A dress with nice finished seams always looks professional. I finished the hem with a double needle, which worked really well and gave a nice professional finish.

The skirt of the dress is cut on the bias so creates a nice floaty shape and this fabric helps this a lot. For this pattern you need three metres in total and this is mainly for the skirt and for me I wanted it a bit longer, I am 5ft 10inches. You might be able to get away with 2.5 metres if you want a shorter version. The only tricky bit about this pattern is putting in the Clear Elastic but if you take it slow and don’t use pins it is fine, just hold the elastic on the fabric and guide it through your sewing machine. You have to use the sewing machine for this and a zig zag stitch is best. The good thing about the clear elastic is nice as it doesn’t show on the inside. The twist at the front of the dress is very flattering and quite easy to do. 

The instructions are very easy to follow and look much more complicated than it actually is. The sleeves have been drafted from a different pattern but as the fabric is jersey it was really easy to ease them into the dress.

The Sewing Pattern used for the sleeves was View C. If I was to say what the very most difficult part of sewing this dress was, is the neckband, you need to space out the band and stretch until it fits. It looks really nice when finished and worth it. The dress took me 3 hours to make and that includes cutting the fabric.

I have worn this dress a lot as it is easy to wear and looks effortlessly nice. I have had a lot of complements. 

Happy sewing everyone, make the Joni dress in this amazing fabric!

Fabric Final Verdict (out of 10) 

Fabric usability: 9

Pattern applicability: 9

Value for Money: 10 

Vintage-ness: 9 (with a modern twist)

Tracey @tracey_sews


Rico Cotton Jersey Succulents

Hi, it’s Amanda from Derivingmommyhood here on the Minerva Blog again!! I can’t wait to brighten your day with these outfits.

There’s no shortage of cute cotton lycra prints out there in the fabric world. I’ve become increasingly picky when shopping for them. With such a flooded market, it’s sometimes hard to stand out…..but when I saw these Rico Cotton Jersey Succulents, I absolutely had to have them. Neon pink, mint, petrol….plus the cutest little potted cacti on earth?? It is perfect.

I love a print that can work easily for any of my four children, and this certainly doesn’t disappoint there,either. My middle children both love it just as much as me so I decided to sew for them. I chose a coordinating print that is like a hand sketched grid in shades of light and dark mint to piece in with the succulents (it’s listed as gray, but I’d say it feels more mint). I really love how both are geometric yet they do not compete with each other. There is also a knit with some pink triangles that I think would make a great match too!

Speaking of it, if you choose to order them keep in mind that the print is directional and behaves like a stripe, so you may want to order a bit extra to match those stripes and since you don’t want any upside-down plants. Or maybe you do, but just so you know.

I started off with a Bayside Romper from New Horizons for my daughter. The succulents seem so fun and summery that I thought it would be a great match. The grid was used for the bindings, and then I thought about using the succulents for the shorts too, and the weight is a medium so it would have certainly worked….but white background, and a kid that LOVES to climb and play, I decided a solid would be best.

There are so many shades of bluish green in this print that you cannot go wrong choosing a solid. I actually used a scrap of luxury viscose jersey in dark petrol I had leftover from these outfits for the shorts and love how flowy it looks with it, plus it’s lightweight enough that it doesn’t add any bulk on the slant pockets. I used eyelets and a scrap of neon crepe jersey I had for the faux drawstring. I love how it can be a great play outfit that is easy for her to choose (all in one!) and works as a swim cover on holidays as well.

My younger son is very adventurous with his fashion and loved the cactus a lot, so I went with a muscle tee for him using the Swiss Army Tee. I love that it has the colorblocked side panels and shoulders so that I could mix in the grid print. I went ahead and made him some neon shorts (Lindens from Sew a Little Seam) to really bring out the neon on the cactus. Have I mentioned how great the color is in this print?!

Even if it is a bit dreary where I live, it’s nice to have a bright touch of summer and happiness everytime I see them in these looks!

Amanda @derivingmommyhood


Closet Case Cielo Top Hack

One of my favourite things to participate in the sewing community is pattern testing. It’s such a privilege to go behind the scenes a bit and get a glimpse of a pattern designer’s unique inspiration as well as process. So imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to be part of Closet Case's tester team for their new Rome Collection. Just the name already filled me with joy: Rome! And a mini-wardrobe collection!! Inspired by Heather Lou's Italy trip! The anticipation was real. 
And it surely did not disappoint. The Rome collection has three coordinating patterns: Cielo top/dress, Pietra Pants/Shorts and Fiore Skirt. All three are easy to sew and wear summer pieces. Each versatile on their own, and together mix/match perfectly. I was a tester for the Pietra and it was love at first wear with my linen Pietra shorts. So far this summer it was either on me or in the laundry. 
While I'm sure I will be sewing my way through the whole collection some time soon, ever since the launch of the collection my first priority was to make a Cielo top to go with my dark berry coloured Pietra shorts. I wanted a fun print with a pop of red in a light and airy summer fabric. The search was on for a while until I saw this Cloud 9 Double Cotton Gauze - a perfect match in every way! 
From the Garden Ramble collection by Sarah York, this double gauze features whimsical all over florals on ivory background. I love the hand drawn / block printed feel, like a modern rendition of a retro print. The light and airy weave of the double gauze paired with the boxy design would mean the breeziest top for summer heat waves!
I am also delighted to find out that the entire Garden Ramble collection is organic certified, which is definitely a plus for the sustainability minded sewists. Considering many uses of cotton gauze are for the little ones, I'm glad Cloud 9 offers this organic collection for the peace of mind. 
On top of that, the gauze itself is silky soft with a lovely sheen, similar to those of Japanese double gauze imports. It went through a regular cycle pre-wash and line dried almost without wrinkles, ready for cutting and sewing. One word on pre-washing double gauze - it does fray more than your regular cotton. If that concerns you, serging the cut edge before washing definitely helps. It also helps during construction to either serge or French seam your seams. I did a combination of the two on my top to make it durable through wash and wear. 
So back to the Cielo pattern - At first glance it's a simple boxy top with set in sleeves, but then there's the details that make it stand out for me. First is the slightly wider armscye, which pairs so well with the cropped length and the cuffed sleeves. Second is the little angled yoke detail on the back shoulder, which echos the the Pietra pants' slanted pockets. Closet Case's attention to details is second to none and I think it really shines especially in a simpler design. 
The whole Rome collection is designed with beginner sewists in mind and the instructions reflect that teaching mindset which I loved to see. The simple yet effective style lines of the collection also make it perfect for more experienced sewists to put in their own spin. 
I couldn't resist a few little hacks on my Cielo. I love the fun little yoke detail on the back shoulder and wanted to accentuate it with some lace detail. I thought about making the whole yoke piece in lace but didn't have anything opaque enough on hand to cover bra straps. In the creative urge to finish my Cielo in one setting, I opted for a piece of lace ribbon for just the lower edge of the yoke. I actually really like the result, as it really makes that slanted seam stand out. 
Not a crop top kind of person usually, I lengthened my Cielo top slightly and added a split hi-lo hem detail. Overall the front still has the cropped look but the back now has just that little more coverage. It pairs perfectly with the high waisted Pietra and I like how the lower back hem covers just enough of the elastic waistband. 
My double gauze Cielo is such a dream for a hot summer day. It’s so light and airy that it feels barely there, living up to the name Cielo which means Sky in Italian. Gauze is not a fabric you see too often in ready to wear and I have not sewn much with it in the past either. I’m pleasantly surprised how easy it is to handle and the end result it simply delicious. I now want a whole summer wardrobe of double gauze garments! Minerva has a wide selection of double gauze on offer and truly, sky is the limit ;-)
Until next time, Chloe

Strawberry Twirly Dress

Hello Lovely Sewing Friends!
Isn't this strawberry Cotton Poplin Fabric from Minerva so much fun?! The hardest part for me when deciding on this fabric was deciding what color to choose! I debated between the white and the navy background for awhile, but ended up with the navy.  I think either fabric would have ended beautifully, because the strawberry motif on this fabric is so fun and playful. It makes me feel like a kid again! 
I also love the look and feel of this fabric. It's a 100% cotton woven with no stretch, so it's got a bit of a heavier, sturdier drape, which I thought was fun for the ruffles on this dress to give them a bit more body and fullness. Plus, cutting and sewing this fabric was so nice! I got really nice crisp lines and I love that. Nothing makes me happier than a fabric that makes my cutting life a little easier.
When I received the fabric in the mail, I knew immediately I wanted to create a dress that would be full and fun to spin and twirl in. The new McCall's #7925 Pattern was the perfect fit. I loved the button front placket and the ruffles on the bottom of the dress. I also loved the different sleeve options this pattern offers.  
As I started assembling the dress, I noticed I had some red piping and pom-pom trim that happened to be sitting next to my sewing machine. I think it was meant to be, so I made an executive decision and added the piping to the waistband and the trim to both of the ruffle layers.  I love the little pop of color and texture it adds!  I also picked some fun striped navy and white buttons to add a little something extra as well.  
I didn't change anything about the pattern, except I made View C with the sleeves from View B. The only thing I wish I would have changed was grading the waist out a little, as it is a bit snug in the waist. ;) And the way the waistband is constructed makes it tricky to go back in and let out the seams a bit in the waist. Just keep that in mind if you make this pattern, the waistband is fitted, so make sure you grade out if needed! 
The pattern was a fairly straight-froward construction, although I got a little caught up on the collar for some reason! I have done a million collars, but this one was throwing me for a loop. I ended up ditching the facing altogether and improvising a different approach.  It all worked out in the end! 
This was a fairly quick sew as well, considering all the ruffles and the button placket and waistband and collar. I had it done in just 2 solid sewing sessions! Which is pretty quick for a dress as involved as this one.  
I love how much fun this dress is to wear! It's the perfect twirly dress and it will carry me through the rest of Summer and even Fall. I think it would be really cute styled with the right cardigan or jacket.  
I want to thank Minerva for the opportunity to use this beautiful fabric! This dress will be in regular rotation in my closet.  
Thank you for reading!

Memory Test

How do you decide what to sew next? Jumpsuits, playsuits and overalls seem to pop up on my Instagram feed with increasing regulatory, but that's not why I chose this pattern for my second Minerva Makers Blog post! I'm trying to be a more environmentally aware and sustainable maker (and person), sewing things I love, will wear and that have passed my "memory test". With only a few exceptions I see a pattern, save it and then wait, usually for a couple of months. I revisit it and if it's still love, I make it. The Jean-Paul Boiler Suit by Ready to Sew was one of those patterns and by total coincidence its pretty on trend right now too! I purchased the Jean Paul pattern and the Expansion Pack and chose to make the version with a drawstring and hidden button placket because my buttonholes are just not consistent enough to show off and I felt like I needed some definition around the waistline! 
I received 3 metres of lovely Brushed Cotton Fabric from Minerva for this project. This turned out to be just enough to make the suit, but without the drawstring! I found an old sarong in the same colour and chopped that up for the drawstring, well needs must. The brushed cotton had more drape and was slightly lighter weight than I expected (next time I'll watch the handy little videos that Minerva includes in their fabric descriptions!). With a history of underestimating how much structure a fabric gains just from being cut into small pieces and being sewn back together again, particularly in a garment like this which also has six large pockets, I decided to go for it. The fabric is brushed only on one side, with that side close to my skin and the "flat'" side out, it really is like wearing secret pyjamas. 
At first glance this pattern seemed daunting. The sheer number of pieces (28 to be precise) was a little off putting, but honestly, once I'd figured out which pieces I needed for the version I wanted to make, I didn't find it a difficult pattern to sew. There are a number of techniques, buttonholes, a hidden button placket, a standing collar, patch pockets, a fly and a whole lot of topstitching but these are all well explained. There is also a sew along online if you get stuck, which I didn't need. Choosing a forgiving fabric was also a big help! 
The pattern is designed for someone between 162cm and 168cm. I'm 172cm so I added 4.5cm, 1.5 cm to the body and 3cm to the legs, this split was just my gut feeling, based on previous experience making trousers and thankfully it's just right. There is no indication in the pattern as to how to lengthen/ shorten but there is a useful tutorial on the Ready To Sew website. I graded between a 39 on top to a 41 in the pants, again information on how to do this can be found on their website. 
Prior to starting I had ideas about topstitching in a different colour, playing with the colours/ design of the pockets and adding buttoned cuffs but given that I wanted to get it finished in reasonable time and that I hadn't made a toile it seemed too risky to put all that work into something that I may not manage to achieve a great finish on or that, ultimately, may not fit, so those ideas went by the wayside, saved for next time. 
Overall this project has been a real pleasure, making a garment of this nature can seem daunting, but the satisfaction of completing it is immense. Today a mum at school drop off asked where I got my jumpsuit. "I made it" I said. She laughed... I don't think she believed me! 
Thanks for reading,

Mint Asymmetric Top

Hello everyone, I’m bringing you another delicious project for Minerva. Summer has final come to Wisconsin and I’m eating up every second of the heat minus the tornado warnings! Can you guess how excited I am to showcase this mint beauty? I’m very excited, so excited that I used the word delicious and eating up as if this is a food blog!

I know, I know, I may sound like a broken record when it comes to saying “From the moment I saw this I knew exactly what it would be”. But it’s quite true of this fabric. The skinny striped pattern was screaming make me into that darn awesome BurdaStyle Top 6/2028 #108.

But first, let’s take a look at this Jersey Fabric. When you plan to make a top with knit or jersey or anything that has stretch for that matter, you want a fabric that reclaims its shape. Otherwise it just stretches out, looks loose and unattractive. This fabric has the ideal weight for tees, jersey and fancy knit tops. Especially those that require structure and good recovery. Finding the right knit fabric can be a challenge and after handling this striped mint fabric, you won’t be wasting your coins.

When it comes to summer tops, this is the perfect design to keep you cool when it heats up. Its such a breathtaking top that will get you a lot of stares. A few features which I appreciate is the gathers throughout the design, the cold shoulder and peplum details. This top will always be a winner in my book. It exudes a Grecian feel and would look marvelous as the dress version.

As much as I hate to say it, this was a slight challenge to sew. Mainly because the gathered pieces have minuscule differences. I would highly recommend labeling all your pieces and noting front and back. Too late during the construction process, I realized my fabric was either the wrong piece, size or flipped the wrong direction.

The hem ripper quickly became my best pal. However! repetition produces perfection and if I had to sew again, the process would go smoother.

Initially, I wanted to style this as a fun Saturday look probably with shorts, sandals and a tote, which looks and feel comfortable. But the more I looked at it, all I could see was a garden party or dinner date. With that in mind, I opted for the 7/8 white striped trouser and pointed toe heel for a sleeker look. Can you see the directional play on stripes? At first I was a bit nervous of the vertical stripes on the trousers verses the horizontal of the top. The asymmetrical design of the top as well as the color seems to balance the varying direction of stripes.

Yes, this is a winning design and I appreciate the opportunity to showcase this amazing outfit and fabric!

Renata @


M7971 in Lady McElroy Lawn

I’m writing this at the end of July, and it’s the point of the summer where two things are happening:

  1. It’s HOT! It’s hot as heck! It’s hovering around 80-90 degrees every day.

  2. It’s almost back to school time. I’m a middle school teacher, and I can feel the subtle shift in the energies of the universe when the Target trucks, full of composition books and highlighters and backpacks, start rolling in to deliver their untimely wares. Believe me, it’s not a great super power.

At this liminal point in the year, my sewing priorities begin to change. From June 6 (the last day of school!) ‘til mid-July, I am sewing saucy, sassy, steamy body-baring tops and skirts, to maximize tanning opportunities (I know, I know, but I bathe in SPF, it’s fine!) AND keep cool while keeping cool (see what I did there?). But after that point? It’s time to start getting practical.

My school has expanded in the past ten years. This isn’t necessarily a good thing - we now have approximately 200 more students than we have space for. As such, we have a suite of semi-permanent portable classrooms clustered together in a community called The Country Club (because they were built on the school’s tennis courts, ha ha ha). The Country Club classrooms, god love ‘em, do not have great air conditioning. They’re noisy. They’re old. They’re not efficient. They’re prone to mischief and nonsense (one day, during my second year at this school, my best pal turned on the AC, and dozens of dead bees spewed out).

I work in The Country Club.

It gets HOT.

All of my focus during this time of year goes toward sewing light, airy, comfortable hot weather clothes that are still teacher-appropriate, which is sometimes a challenge. No shorts (but skirts are fine), no tank tops or thin straps, no loose old tee shirts worn as dresses because it’s too warm to cope otherwise. And generally speaking, for the majority of the year, I am NOT a dress person, but the heat causes an alchemical reaction that makes me crave loose, crisp gowns that skim the body, not touching or grabbing or binding or holding anything in. McCall’s 7971 in Lady McElroy Lawn fits that bill perfectly.

McCall’s 7971 is a knee, midi, or tea length dress with a lined, fitted bodice with hook and eye closures, center back invisible zipper and sleeve variations. It’s got a paneled skirt (with a cute, optional slit), and an open back. I made view D with no sleeve ruffle, and I LIKE IT.

To get it out of the way, first off, I have to say: the back doesn’t fit great. There’s a bit of bunching and gaping if I stand or move a certain way. I think that must be because it’s so open (there isn’t a lot of shaping), and I have a deep sway back. But that’s really the only thing “wrong” with this dress! It’s otherwise delightful, and it has pockets! The skirt fits like a dream straight out of the package, and in this Lady McElroy lawn it’s crisp and cool and light, while still maintaining a bit of structure and shape. I cut a size 10 bust and waist, and graded to a 12 hip.

I love the slight swish that this fabric gives this dress, and I love how the supple hand to the fabric holds its shape, accentuating the A-line shape of the skirt. I love how it looks “put together,” but feels so cool and light. I can’t wait to wear it to school (I’m drafting a little removable triangle wedge with snaps for the back to make it more modest AND bra-friendly), and be the coolest kid in The Country Club.  

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