This McCalls 7969 dress has become a bit of a cult favourite hasn’t it? Every one that I’ve seen has been amazing – I had to jump onto this particular bandwagon. I think it is especially good value for money because as well as getting a lovely dress pattern, I’m going to use this incredible sleeve to elevate a lot of other makes from now on!
The fabric I used for this is this linen and viscose blend from Minerva (supplied to me in exchange for a review). I think linen viscose a pretty perfect blend, if you haven’t sewn with a linen viscose before – it has the linen texture and breathability while maintaining the viscose fluidity and drape with much less creasing! While there is nothing particularly sustainable about it (apart from Linen comes from flax which isn’t a very water intensive crop) I really love this particular base fabric and therefore hope the garment will be worn many times. I also think it will get better with wear. I have sewn with linen viscose before – this dress is made from a Lady McElroy linen viscose which is a much more lightweight and looser weave, almost like a cheesecloth. Today’s new dress, is much more weighty and dense, it feels like a weighty but drapey linen, it has more of a linen texture too.
The print is really pretty, and I am so happy it looks like it will hide stains (clumsy eater over here!). There is an obvious pattern repeat and I thought I had tried really hard to avoid any unfortunate ink splodges, but still somehow managed to end up with one black splotch on each boob. I think it looks worse on the dress when it is hanging though as I don’t think it’s actually too noticeable on my body when I am wearing it.
Even though the fabric is very drapey, it was still quite easy to sew! The linen means the fabric isn’t slippery and makes it respond well to an iron.
There is some hand sewing involved in this pattern, the bias binding around the sleeves and the neckline is supposed to be hand stitched down. I was initially looking for ways to avoid it by folding the bias and stitching in the ditch but I decided that might mess up the gathers at the sleeve cuffs so I did them by hand. To my surprise, I enjoyed it SO much! I generally avoid hand stitching out of laziness but I forgot how lovely and meditative it is. I will definitely try to remember this the next time I am told to hand stitch in a pattern!
I can see why this pattern is so popular, it feels dramatic while also being comfortable and easy to wear. My measurements put me in the size L but I had been told to size down by several people so I made the M, I do think I might need to size down again or do an SBA next time though as I had to cross the fronts over by quite a lot before the front even slightly covered my chest. You can see there is some pulling across the bust as it wasn’t drafted to be crossed over by that much! I don’t think it looks too bad though and I am happy it covers me where I want it to. The paper pattern is now out of stock in a lot of places but McCalls have made it available online as a downloadable pdf – especially handy if you just want to get your hands on those sleeves!
The fabric feels cool and airy to wear, I have been reaching for it on these recent hot days! The linen content does feel a tiny bit scratchy though, so bear that in mind if you have particularly sensitive skin. I am hopeful it will soften up with washing and wearing.