Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Favourite vintage McCalls pattern

Lately I've become a little bit obsessed with this McCalls pattern from 1958. It is a very simple, easy to make pencil dress. 

It consists of three main pieces; the front, which is cut on the fold, and the back, which is in 2 pieces. Then there are the straps and the facings (Joy! It's not lined! Or rather, the pattern seems to call for lining AND facing... complete waste of time in my mind)

Just going off track for a second, I absolutely hate lining things. It's like making two of something but ending up with only one. I don't mind lining coats; you're supposed to see it then, so you can make it pretty and part of the garment. But lining a dress? I mean, maybe a winter dress, so it's warmer. Otherwise, No.

Anyway back to this amazing dress. I've made a few now, so rather than bore the pants off anyone who still reads this blog by ranting about it over and over again, I've decided to show off everything at once.

First up: Blue florals.

This first attempt is not quite right. It looks nice and the fabric is very pretty, but I didn't get the sizing right. The pattern is a size 16, and it's not too far off a modern size 12 as far as I can tell. I took in the seams and altered the darts a little, but it's still a little loose, especially around the bust. 

I suppose I could fix it, now that I've made a few and I know what I'm doing, but, meh... I don't really want to. It's wearable.

Second attempt: School plaid.

Yes, this looks like school uniform fabric. However, it does not look like MY school uniform, so it's ok. As you can see, I got the sizing and alterations right this time.

Then I made this dress pattern version, which I have a feeling I've already posted up here before. Just in case I haven't, here it is (possibly again).

I'm not wild about this version. The fabric is nice but it feels too busy. I feel like it doesn't do the pattern justice.

Final and most recent version: Barbie pink.

I looooove this one. The fabric is stiffly stretchy (is stiffly a word? It looks weird but I'm not being asked to spell-check it) and really comfy. The top edge around the bust is really firm, so I can't take any deep breaths when I'm wearing it. There must be too much stitching up there for it to stretch properly, or maybe I just didn't allow the fabric to stretch when I was sewing it.

I will probably make more of these dresses. 


  1. Va va voom! They all look great on you ;o)

  2. Wow...that pattern suits you so well! I've got to say I like number 3 the best, but I'm drawn to that print. Love the school-girl one too. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who sews multiple frocks from the one pattern. Although I've only completed 3 as I'm new to this sewing bizz. Xx

  3. My word, that is an alluringly lovely dress! I adore how well it hugs one's curves, yet don't look or feel truly skin tight like many similar 21st century frocks, too. As with most vintage patterns and garments, there's still something being left to the imagination with the design, which is an element that really appeals to me personally with clothing.

    You look like a million dollars, dear gal, and should definitely make more of these dresses - they've sensational on you!

    ♥ Jessica

    Of course you need 14 or so of that style, you've got such a bangin' bod!
    Polka dots. You one in polka dots!

  5. You look incredible in this dress, its a very flattering pattern for you xxx

  6. A great style of dress on you - you look amazing. I really like how the design accentuates your figure - envious. Your arm is looking great too - any chance of a close up sometime?