I don’t know about you, but my life has been rather hectic of late! My sister and I finally found a townhouse to move in to and we’ve been back and forth the past few days trying to get everything sorted. I was convinced that I had another whole week before I had to turn in my July project for MCBN. Imagine my consternation when I realized it was Friday, the project and blog post were due that day, and I hadn’t even started sewing anything!! I rushed home from work and in three hours managed to stitch up one of my all time favorite dresses in this beautiful Viscose Challis Fabric.

Parts of this dress might look familiar considering it is a modified Mccalls 7116 which I used a couple of months ago. To transform the pattern, I used just the bodice portion and about 6 inches of the skirt. I traced off the midriff piece from the skirt by eyeballing how long I wanted the midriff portion to be and then cutting straight across. I followed the pattern instructions except I used a 3/8” seam allowance everywhere and left out the zipper. 

I did add elastic all around the sleeve edge instead of just at the bottom like the original pattern. I think it looks much better. It has that peasant top vibe which I absolutely love. I also recommend sewing the elastic channel at the neckline, threading the elastic through, finish sewing most of the dress, try it on, and then you can pull the elastic until it is the perfect snugness. That way you won’t have to deal with the sleeves constantly slipping off of your shoulders.

If you haven’t tried out shirring with Elastic Thread, let me tell you it is absolutely amazing! Yes it can be fiddly, yes you have to hand wind the bobbin, yes you have to adjust the sewing machine settings, but the final result is more than worth it. I sewed lines of stitching about ¼  inches apart around and around the midriff portion of the dress until I liked how it looked. I used just over one bobbins worth of elastic thread and I only had my sewing machine act up once. It just needed to be re-threaded and then it was good to go. One thing to note, I did sew the bodice/midriff and skirt/midriff seams with elastic thread in the bobbin as well. That way I could make sure those seams stretched slightly so I wouldn’t have the stitches popping.

I used a half circle skirt that is about 30-31 inches long. I can’t quite remember which length I ended up going with. I was originally planning to let the dress hang a couple days and then even out and hem the skirt. Now that I’ve worn it, I realized that I actually like the gentle fraying around the hem. I will still need to even out the skirt since the bias will stretch like crazy. But then I am planning to either just leave it to do it’s thing or possibly sew a line of stitches half an inch up the hem to prevent it from fraying too far. I’m worried that if I do sew around the hem it will pull the skirt in slightly and I really don’t want it to do that. I’ll probably just wait and see how much it actually frays. I know bias cuts don’t fray nearly as much as straight cuts.

-Emily