Monday, April 23, 2018

Vintage McCalls 7920

I took my daughter to the doctor recently, in order to have a pesky wart on her knee burnt (stay with me - it does have relevance to all things sewing, I promise!). Yet lo and behold, a few weeks later the wart that had turned black and supposedly fallen off was back, looking just as good, if maybe a smidge smaller, than before.

So back to the doctor we went. I love my doctor. She is smart, sassy and never makes you feel like a dumbo when you ask her millions of questions. She took once look at the Lazarus wart, then ran off to get the liquid nitrogen. Just as she was about to attack the wart, she declared in her usual no-nonsense manner "I will NOT be defeated by a wart!"

I have the same sentiments about this pattern. McCalls 7920, ye shall not defeat the mighty Jorth!


The version of this dress that you see in the pictures is actually attempt number 2. Attempt number 1 was what I believe the experts call a seriously massive unqualified disaster. I know what you are thinking - jeez, Jorth, it doesn't look so hard! That's what I thought, my friends, but then...

1 - My fabric (a gorgeous green silk/cotton blend) decided stretching and sagging was its new jam, and boy oh boy did it stretch and sag with panache. If I hadn't have been so upset, I might have admired it's stretching verve.

2 - I could NOT get the triangular section in the bodice to line up perfectly, no matter how many attempts I made. In the end it sat about 1mm out - enough to annoy me by drawing my eye to it every time I glance at the bodice, but probably not enough for anybody else to notice. I might have attempted one more go at getting it right, but I'd unpicked the fabric so many times by that stage that my seam allowance was not so much fabric as a cute fraying fringe.

3 - The zip insertion, due to the above mentioned stretching of the fabric, was a hot mess, if your version of hot messes come in (a) green and (b) are made of silk.

So in the end I gave it all up as a bad, bad job and consigned the whole darn thing to the bin. Back I went to my trusty cotton, and this time it came up a dream. Except...

ROOKIE MISTAKE! The fabric I choose for version 2 was a light and soft Cotton + Steel cotton which I fell in love with the minute I saw it, but alas! The dark colour of the fabric means that you can't see the design features of the bodice very well. The gathering on the bust is visible, but the long side darts and the triangular bodice piece seams may as well be invisible. Waaaaah!

However, having now moaned and groaned, I do quite like this dress. It didn't turn out the way I was hoping, but it's still pretty cute. I just need to find the perfect fabric that will not only behave itself but will also show off the bodice detailing and I can call myself the Master Of McCalls 7920. In the meantime, I do have a cute new dress to add to the summer wardrobe, and I have learnt a few valuable sewing lessons in the meantime.

McCalls 7920 #1

McCalls 7920 #3

McCalls 7920 #5

McCalls 7920 #6

PS More thoughts on future versions of this dress: I think I'll actually connect the straps to the bodice back, as I'm not really a big fan of halter necks. Also, that skirt can definitely afford to be shortened by a few inches, although the length it currently sits is rather elegant.

Project Details:
Pattern - McCalls 7920
Fabric - 3m Cotton + Steel cotton lawn from GJ's Discount Fabrics
Notions - 35m invisible zipper

McCalls 7920 #2