Hey everyone! 

I’m Simona and this month I return to the Minerva’s Blogger Network with a dress. This month is my birthday and I’ve just turned 40 (no idea when that happened!). As sewing is a big part of my life, I wanted to mark the occasion with a sewing project. I gave myself permission to go for something that is not necessary wearable in normal conditions but that I just wanted to have. Therefore I’ve gone for a red carpet kinda look, although I’ve never been to such an event (you never know, better be prepared).

For me, the pattern that fit the bill is the McCall’s 7927, a designer pattern by David Tutera. Although, I love the sample on the pattern envelope, it reminds me of a wedding dress too much, I chose to make my dress in a fun  printed Satin Fabric and matching black Antistatic Taffeta Dress Lining.

Usually, I do not make any test garments, I just power through and hope for the best. However with this project the whole affair started with me making a quick muslin of View A. My main issues are around the bodice and waist. With the McCall’s patterns my normal changes are to shorten the bodice above the bust by 1 cm and do a sway back adjustment of 1.5 cm at the centre back. Once this was out of the way, I quickly made a test garment to check the fit. I left open one of the side seams rather than waste a zipper for the centre back.

Once I tried out the muslin, it became apparent that I needed to make further adjustments. To make sure that these will translate well into my finished dress, I made the necessary adjustments and did a wearable toile to check that the adjustments were ok. For this I used fabric from my stash.  Once I was happy that all the adjustments worked for me, the long journey (not so long actually) of making my birthday dress started. 

Originally, after checking the tissue pattern for length for the skirt, I decided to shorten the skirt all around by 20 cm and cut the lining  pieces first. Then when I was about to cut the front skirt lining pieces, it occurred to me that the front is much shorter than the centre back and taking out 20 cm might be too much. I was right. So, the front was cut with the original length. Phew! Disaster averted.

The problems started when I was cutting the pieces for the main/outer fabric. The main fabric has directional print, which means I had to make sure all the pieces were cut in the same direction. When cutting the lining out I was able to play around. I cut the front skirt on the gross grain, however this was not possible on the outer layer. In the end, the only solution was to order more fabric partly because I was a bit careless in the first place and cut part of the fabric off. This meant that I had to take more off the back skirt pieces to make sure I can fit it in the length stipulated on the pattern envelope. I took an extra 15 cm on the centre back and blended the lines to match the front skirt.

In the end I took off the length an extra 4 cm of the hem. I used a basting stitch to mark the 5 cm from the edge and then cut that off on my serger when I finished the edges before finishing the hem. I then used my sewing machine to mark the hem line as it’s easier to press into position, especially for fabrics that have a tendency to move a lot.

This is definitely a fantasy dress for me. I mean, there aren’t many places I can go wearing this one, even with the smaller train. But, it’s my birthday and I can make whatever dress I want. I am pleased with the shorter train, which means my little accident at the beginning while cutting the skirt pieces, ended up with a better result than what I had in mind in the first place. I love it when I get a better result in spite of my mistakes.

I am not sure what it is about this pattern (especially the long skirt version) that makes me love it, even though with this one it was actually the fabric used for the sample on the pattern envelope that turned my attention to it. Should I get married again, I’ll make this dress for sure!

I wore this dress on my birthday a few days ago just because I could. After all, I am calling it my birthday dress! Most of the time (especially when walking around) I’ve had the train held up to keep the fabric from touching the floor and collecting the stuff on the ground.

It was a little difficult to take pictures of the dress showing the centre slit. I messed about trying to emphasise it. To be fair, I do tend to mess about when taking pictures for the blog as sometimes I get some good ones.

Sewing Summary:

Pattern:    McCall’s 7929 – David Tutera - Fitted lined dresses have deep plunge V front with or without inset, gathered forward shoulder, and invisible back zipper, with length, sleeve and fabric variations. A, D: Semi-fitted skirt. B, D: Full trumpet skirt with front slit and train. Wrong side of fabric will show. A, C: Contrast overlay.

Sizing:  US AX5(4-6-8-10-12), D5(12-14-16-18-20) – for my dress I made size 12 (this is one size down – my body measurements put me in size 14)

Fabric:   5m of printed satin fabric and 5 m of black premium antistatic taffeta dress lining

Notions:  One 22" (56 cm) Invisible Zipper (black), Hook & Eye (I did not use one in my dress though).

Modifications: I made views A (wearable toile) and view C (final dress) with the modesty panel. First I shortened bodice above bust 1 cm and did 1.5 cm sway back adjustment. Then following the muslin test, I shortened the bodice further (front and back) at the waist by 1.5 cm. After making the wearable toile I decided that the modesty panel in the V neckline needs to go 1.5 cm lower in the final dress. I modified the skirt by taking about 39 cm from the back panels, which I blended to the front to take only 4 out. The longer back would make it impracticable.

Fit:  with the adjustments made it’s perfect. (see previous point)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?:  yes

Watch out for:   construction is a little complicated, but the instructions are quite good to guide you through it.

Make Again?: yes, I’ll be making the shorter version again as a cocktail dress and if I ever get married again I’ll use this pattern for my wedding dress.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog post. And please do share your makes on Instagram/Twitter by tagging @Minervadotcom and/or using the hashtag #MinervaMakes. I’d love to see what you create.

Simona @ Sewing Adventures in the Attick