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Have you ever made something that just made you feel fierce and pretty?! Today, I’m sharing the garment that absolutely has done that for me!
McCall’s 8174 is my new favorite! It’s so good that I am already planning some Hacks for it! You’ll want to subscribe so you don’t miss out! Keep reading this article to hear my thoughts! ⬇️
This McCall’s pattern instantly came to mind when I received this Lady McElroy Mocha Dot Fabric from Minerva.com! I commented in a recent Instagram Live that I thought the color of these dots reminded me of really beautiful skin tone colors and just the brownness was everything for me! I mistakenly said that this fabric was polyester in content but it’s actually made with Viscose and Spandex, which is absolutely amazing for warm weather! I can actually report that this leg split saves the day on the heat factor since this dress is quite long! I was very comfortable in this maxi length dress for summer. I can easily see me wearing this dress in the Fall with all the cuter hand knitting accessories and sweaters!
I chose version B for this design. I cut out a size 14. I made a length adjustment to the front and back bodice pieces. I added 1.5“ to the length at the waistline. I chose to use my friction pen to mark all my notches and dots because it just works so well for me especially on knit fabrics! I only write on the wrong side of the fabric though because it can leave some white when you remove it with heat. It does typically wash out easily though!
Cutting this design out, was a little bit difficult for me because my cutting table is nothing short than a tetris game. I really need to clear all that junk off! The skirt of this dress is very long and irregular in shape so i may have made more trouble for myself than I realized. In my head, I said don’t forget to flip the pattern to the right side! Don’t forget! And do you know what I did? I didn’t flip it on the right side. I totally forgot! But thankfully, I realized before I’ve gotten too far into the cutting, so I cut all the other skirt pieces out backwards as well! Easy fix there. The split is just on the opposite side than designed.
I knew right away that I was going to change some of the construction within this pattern so I’ll talk a little bit about that here. Overall, I did like how this pattern came together! But you know me, I have my preferences for finishing, etc. And that is very much so, a personal thing!
I found that using this 4-way stretch fabric worked perfectly for this design. I was able to reduce the amount of easing this pattern called for. Instead, I was able to match the side seam up and stretch to fit while serging the side seams together in step 1 and 2, then again in step 18 and 19. I did need to increase my thread tension and reduce my presser foot tension on my Pfaff Coverlock 4.0 for this fabric to keep a balanced seam because it is super stretchy!
I put 3/8” knit elastic into the straps the make sure that they would not stretch out over time or wear! It also keeps the straps looking uniform and nice instead of rolled in on itself. Considering the length of this dress, I knew elastic would be a step I absolutely had to take if I wanted to feel comfortable wearing this dress for any period of time! This fabric has great recovery but with that much weight, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
My favorite tools to insert elastic are a good pair of angled tweezers and this bodkin! The tweezers are basically an extension of my hand when I’m sewing. There is no shock that I mentioned them here. My DIY Pleated Skirt Post really shows how I use them. I’m holding the elastic in place with some pins but you can also just baste them in place too. I do love my turning tubes for turning the straps inside out. That means, I changed step 16 too. Although, if you don’t have turning tubes, McCall’s method of using thread to turn would be great also! I ended up cutting off about an 1.25” from the strap pieces after they were constructed and I tried it on.
When I need to hem something that’s knit, especially when it’s a narrow hem, I use my Coverlock to finish the edge first. This step makes it really easy for me to turn that narrow hem when I have a curve like there is on these front skirt pieces. I used a three-step zigzag stitch to hem the two front skirt pieces. I find that with these really stretchy and elastic fabrics that a three-step zigzag tends to last the longest amount of time without popping!.
As soon as I tried this dress on—I knew it was LOVE! Wow was it quick to whip up! I am so pleased with the fit! My adjustments are spot on! I love how the neckline looks! A little extra swoon! This fabric is super flowy so I was expecting it to look this way.
Some hacks I plan on trying are definitely brewing in my mind right now and I know I’ll be cutting some fabric out soon. I do love how little fabric this maxi style requires. I’m keen on trying some other versions of this pattern as well but I’mm wait until the weather cools down before I can even think about sleeves again!