Sigh. Can you believe that spring has finally decided to grace us with her presence?? I can’t. I am ridiculously excited to enjoy some warmer weather. Spring/Summer are definitely my favorite seasons to sew for. As the weather gets nicer, I find the sewing bug is getting stronger too! For the first time in nearly six months I am actually excited to whip up a few dresses.

McCalls 7116 is a simple, empire waist dress with a bias cut skirt and elastic gathered neckline. When this pattern was originally released I loved it but didn’t think I would ever attempt it. I was quite convinced that the empire style didn’t work on me. And I used to be so intimidated by fitted skirts. But look at me now! I made New Look 6000 last month and now McCalls 7116.

I must say, this Fabric is absolutely PERFECT for this pattern. It is drapey, soft, and has such a cute print. It also may look familiar because I stitched up a hacked Sew Over It Doris dress a few months out of the red colorway. There is also a green colorway which I must admit to being very tempted to getting. I love this viscose challis. I haven’t used this type of fabric much but, after two such successful makes, I am definitely interested in using it more.

I sewed a size 14 everywhere except in the skirt. I graded from size 14 at the waist to size 16 from the hips down. I also did a FBA on the bodice. I didn’t exactly know how to do a proper FBA since the front bodice is not only raglan but also has that higher empire waist. I did a basic FBA (google FBA tutorial and a bazillion different ones will pop up) and then added an additional 1 ½ inches of length to the center front by slashing from the CF to the side seam but leaving a hinge.

It worked far better than I expected it to. I think I could do with about half an inch more length in the bodice in any future versions. I knew that I would need that extra room over the fullest part of the bust especially with the high waistline. Nobody wants a seam line cutting right across the bust!

I definitely recommend trying on the bodice after you get the elastic threaded into the channel around the neckline. I used the included elastic guide to know how much to cut and then once it was in the channel I just pulled the excess out before stitching everything closed. It made sure that I wouldn’t end up with any awkward gaping. Now the neckline stays in place but isn’t too tight or bunchy.

Also, I didn’t end up needing a side zipper! This dress slips on like a dream so I didn’t even have to fiddle about with closures. Believe me, I was beyond thrilled when I realized this. It makes this dress about a million times better than it already was.

This dress feels amazing to wear. The bias skirt skims over my hips perfectly. The neckline reminds me of peasant style blouses/dresses. That yellow is bright and cheery and just makes me want to smile. I definitely count this as a sewing success!!


-Emily