You might have noticed that just recently I have a bit of a thing for midi dresses – especially those with a ruffled tier. In my last blog I talked about a version that I had made using woven fabric and today’s post is all about McCalls M8085 which calls for stretch jersey fabrics.
The pattern description is ‘Loose-fitting, pull-on dress with length variations and hem ruffle option. Sleeveless, long or short sleeves, Sew Rating Very Easy’.
I would agree with this, although due to the fabric being a stretch jersey I wouldn’t exactly call it ‘loose fitting’. The bodice fits close to the body – however I did size down as I wanted to make sure of a close fit in this part of the dress. My measurements are 35-29-39, which put me in a size M for the bust, and between a M and a L for the waist and hips in the body measurement chart. When looking at the finished body measurements I decided that the M would be too roomy for me (on the bust measurement), and so went straight in and cut a size S throughout. I’m pleased that I did this as I like the fit of the finished dress and wouldn’t want it any bigger personally.
I chose to make view B which is the long sleeved dress with hem ruffle, and my fabric choice is this viscose jersey from Minerva. I love this animal print in the navy and mustard colour, although it is also available in a rust and grey option which is cute too. It has a medium weight, and the drape is beautiful (it’s 95% viscose and 5% elastane), it’s deadstock fabric too which is always good to see.
The pattern was super easy to sew, and is an excellent pattern for beginner sewists, especially those wanting to try sewing with stretch fabrics. It’s also great for those wanting a quick dress to whizz up in a weekend. The end result is a pretty everyday dress which is super comfortable to wear, and a really great style.
The neckline is finished by simply turning the neck edge over and sewing down. I used a twin needle to sew this edge, but you could use a zig zag stitch (which I used to finish the lower edge of the sleeves), or use a stretch bias binding if that is your preference. I like the fairly high neckline, especially as I would like this to be a cosy dress for Spring and/or Autumn, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t alter the pattern before cutting out to bring the neckline lower if you like that style better.
I chose to accessorize with gold, so wore my gold mirror acrylic button necklace which can be found in my shop here stacked with a favourite from Haus of Deck.
The skirt is attached to the bodice in the normal way by gathering the skirt edge to the correct size and stitching in place. After this you make a casing for your waist elastic from the seam allowances that you have made when attaching the skirt. I did originally think that I might not need this waist elastic in addition to the gathers that had already been created when adding the skirt, but of course if it didn’t have this elasticated support at the waist, the weight of the skirt would really drag the dress down.
Also it’s really good to see that this dress comes with pockets! So many times just lately I seem to be adding my own. They’re nice and big too. Hooray!
I’m also pleased with the length of the dress. I made no alterations to the length of the pattern (or anywhere else) and although on me it wears slightly longer than the model on the pattern envelope, I am loving the length and at 5’2″ I was fully expecting to have to shorten the skirt. Big thumbs up for that!
The dress is like wearing secret pyjamas and I wore it on our first day out in London since the pandemic struck. It was so comfortable for travelling in and, worn with my favourite trainers, perfect for lots of exploring! I paired it with a black leather biker jacket (which I forgot to photograph), and this outfit saw me right through to the evening when we went to a show too. It’s a bit of a cliche but you can definitely dress it up or down. Throw it on and forget about it!
Thanks to my husband for taking the pics in the most beautiful mews in Notting Hill, which is now my favourite district of London and is the location of dreams, and if you’re a movie lover you might be interested to see that further down the mews was this pink house (below) which was featured in one of the most iconic scenes from “Love Actually.” In it, Mark (Andrew Lincoln) arrives at this doorstep to confess his love to Juliet ( Keira Knightley) with a stack of cue cards that feature phrases like “to me, you are perfect.”
*The pattern was also gifted to me by Minerva as part of a sewing challenge that they have run during the month of March to showcase anything that you have made with a McCalls sewing pattern using the hashtag #SewnwithMcCalls . If you get your skates on you still have time to post a pic of your McCalls make to the Minerva page to be in with a chance of winning sewing patterns and a gift voucher. More details can be found here.
Take care, and I’ll be back soon,
Kathy x @sew_dainty