It's always reassuring when you get invited back to something: someone's house, a party, and in this case a blog tour! McCall's is back once again for the renegade master raising awareness and funds for the Eve Appeal - an incredible charity striving for better detection and prevention of women’s cancers. This year the theme is Cocktail Hour and they've even come up with their own cocktail recipe to go with it! You can get involved by sewing up on of the Vogue patterns in the Cocktail Hour collection (profits of which are donated to the Eve Appeal) and sharing it on social media with the hashtag #sipandsew... hic! (Remember to also tag @McCallPatternUK) Confession: I haven't actually made the cocktail yet, but I am sipping on a sneaky glass of lunchtime wine as I write this, so that kinda counts, right?!
I, like a fair few others it seems, chose V1537 - that cute late 90s shift style just seemed to scream Rachel from Friends, and immediately I knew were to get the very best jacquard for the job - The Fabric Store. In fact, I could even go as far as to say that I had my eye on this one fabric for so long that I pretty much chose that pattern as an excuse to get that fabric!
So, V1537 is a two in one look - A-line shift dress with diagonal French darts and deep V backline with strategic strips that are both decorative and conveniently hide bra strap and prevent the shoulders from falling off. The pattern also comes with a cute little overcoat, which I would love to make one day, but I didn't make this time... In my defence, it was full-on heat wave weather here in London so the thought of sewing and trying on a coat was enough to make me faint. But if you haven't already, you must head over to Fiona's blog, Diary of a Chainstitcher as she made this same pattern, coat and all.
I don't sew patterns from the Big Four that often, so it always feels like a bit of a gamble when I choose my size. For last year's McCall's / Eve Appeal blog tour, The Big Vintage Sewalong, I cut the pattern according to my measurements, putting me at a size 12. The dress was certainly a little roomier than I would have liked, so based on that, and the finished measurements printed on the pattern pieces themselves, I decided to go one down and cut a size 10, and just reduced the seam allowance at the side and back seams as I got to the hips... This worked out pretty well, but annoyingly there are still a couple of adjustments I would have liked to have made in order to make this dress perfect. Namely, take out a little bit of gape at the neckline, possibly even shorten the torso a smidge and adjust for a swayback.
Construction wise however, this dress was an absolute joy to sew! I love the angled darts at the front and the fisheye darts in back, and that beautiful facing-to-lining makes this dress as fetching inside as it is out! I'd say that the trickiest part was sewing the lining to the facing. There's some serious curve easing going on there, not for the faint hearted. Immensely satisfying, nonetheless.
The fabric was a dream... Cotton jacquard in my new favourite colour combination (blue and green) with just the right amount of stretch. I lined the dress in the leftover blue cupro from my Dressmakers Ballgown which worked perfectly.
In conclusion, I feel like these pictures look better than my reflection in the mirror did, which tells me that 1. I'm too critical of myself, 2. it's ok to step out of your comfort zone and try something new - in this case, a shift dress - so not my usual jam, but I'm starting to love it! And, 3. heels are always a good plan. But I knew that already ;)
McCall's have very generously offered one lucky reader this pattern for free - simply leave us a comment below with your name and email address and we'll pick a winner at random on Wednesday 12th July. In the meantime, please do give anything you can to the Eve Appeal, and look out for the rest of the Cocktail hour Tour!