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  • Jen Hogg

Pattern Review for Love Sewing - the hacks.  McCalls M7574

Updated: Aug 13, 2019

I was really delighted to be asked by Love Sewing Magazine to review this pattern. Thanks Amy and the team! A link to the magazine review is attached at the end, but really this blog post is all about the modifications.

So, I did make this dress first in a jersey, as recommended on the pattern. I used a fabric which makes me smile – big black and white storks on a grey background, which I had in my stash. I wanted to make this dress with long sleeves – the pattern comes with short and mid length. All I did was extend the line of the pattern pieces to the required length.

The jersey version sewed up really quickly on the overlocker, with no real fitting issues. The only modification was to take out the in-seam pockets, I found that they disrupted the line of the dress. They might have been fine in a weightier fabric.

Another thing I would definitely though is definitely aim to adjust the fit of the over-arm sleeve seam when you’re making this dress up. I cut a generous seam allowance and ended up taking that plus more off, to get the fit I wanted. It’s the last seam you sew, so I tacked it and tried the dress on several times until I was happy with the way the sleeve sits.

I turned up the hem of the jersey version per the pattern instructions, but I mitred the corners. It’s a bit fiddly with the jersey, the narrow hem and the shaping, so I used a washaway tape to hold everything in place. I think it’s important for this hem to be perfect because you see it, with that split at the bottom and the increased back length.

But, onto the denim version. This is a comfy dress to wear and I wanted to see if I could make it up in a stretch denim. Basically, would I be able to get it over my head made up in a fabric with less stretch than recommended without having to dislocate my shoulders in the process? No bother!

I fitted the sleeves during construction again, and this time I took more off that overarm seam. I think this was just because the denim is quite stiff. I’ve got broad shoulders anyway and any extra fabric in the overarm seam would make me look like Popeye.

Apart from that the only other change I made was to take out a little from the centre back seam. It’s loose enough for me to be able to get the dress on (there’s no zip) but again I didn’t want excess fabric. It would be easy enough to put a zip in the centre back seam and take it in even more.

My other mods were all superficial. I cut the back of the neck to add in a panel – not even sure what you call that bit. Anyway, it’s a bit of a traditional denim thing, isn’t it, and suits the top stitching.

The hems are faced with a deep facing, with silver piping along the upper edge. My lovely friend Mercedes brought the piping back from a holiday earlier this year. The best thing about going on GBSB has been the friends I’ve made.

There are patch pockets on the front as a feature and also because I didn’t want to add any bulk to the sides with in-seam pockets.

As you can see I went to town a bit with the top-stitching. I really like the fact that it ends half way up the sleeves. I also used top stitching thread on my bobbin for the hem so that I can turn these sleeves up and still have the feature. That took a bit of time – my machine did not like having heavy thread top and bottom. Which is fair enough I guess, it’s asking quite a lot. But a slow speed and a trying out different tensions, and we got there.

I thought about trying to fade out some of the denim to make this dress look more worn but I chickened out. Because it’s stretch I can’t sandpaper it (tried that on a scrap and it didn’t work at all) and I was too scared to try spraying parts with bleach. So instead I’m looking forward to seeing how the fabric wears and softens with use.

A successful sew? Interesting constuction, certainly, and I enjoyed the top stitching. I can see me throwing this on in the autumn to take the dog for his walk in the park. It's a bit like a dress version of comfy joggers, and that's always handy!

Link to the review in Love Sewing to be added

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