Friday, 30 December 2011

Finished Project & Pattern Review: McCall 's 5845, Burnt Orange NYE Mini Dress.

My last dress for 2011.
My last pattern review for 2011.
My last post for 2011.
Hurrah! 2012 is almost here. How quick does time fly!!!

Last NYE I wore an orange dress to NYE dinner. I bought the dress on sale for $20!
This year I'll be wearing my McCalls 5845 burnt orange mini dress, which cost $40 to make (pattern was $30 from BMV).

I decided yesterday afternoon (29th) to make the M5845 dress to wear for NYE. It's also my 'toile' for my sisters version of this dress which I am going to make for her to wear to a wedding in February 2012. I am finally convinced, with absolutely no more doubts, that the sizing on Butterick/McCalls/Vogue is out of whack!!!! My measurements indicate I am an 8 bust, 12 waist, 8 hips. So far, every dress I have made using those sizes have ended up being taken in at the seams heaps!

The last Butterick dress I made, I made using size 6 bodice and it fit. Because M5845 is a very fitted dress, I thought I should make a size 8 to fit my "size 12 waist", but I still ended up taking in 1" or 2" at the back seams. It is so annoying because I ended up almost destroying my dress because I sleepily cut off too much excess fabric and was left with a dress that zipped up so tight that I couldn't breathe! Very pissed off! Partially my fault, I started the project at 5pm (cutting) and finished sewing around 11pm. I should have left the zipper till today, but I was keen so I did the fitting and made some fatal errors!! I could no longer use the invisible for the dress :( All this could've been avoided, if BMV pattern makers made the sizes more accurate, and if I was more patient.
Meh. Next time, I'm cutting size 6.

To save my dress, I used a black trouser zipper. The contrast in colour is nice, but I was trying to avoid the 'exposed zipper' look that I have on 3 of the dresses I have already made. The exposed zipper gave me an extra inch at the back, so now I can breathe! And sit! The only downer is, the zipper is 23cm (7cm less than the required zipper for this dress!!) so it is so damn hard to get the dress over my head. Sad face. Oh well, at least I have a dress for tomorrow night. I have other options to wear, but it is so much more satisfying to wear something I made. I'm happy cos I have never been able to fit a ready-to-wear dress that is fitted (those tube-style dresses) unless it is super stretchy. Because of my "large" waist I can't zip past the waist!

Now the good bits!
This dress is fully lined. My first fully lined dress. I didn't bother reading the instructions, I attached the bodice and skirt and lining together how I thought made sense in my head. I stitched everything together with the lining and dress fabric sandwiching the bodice, when the dress is flipped up the correct way, the seams are hidden between the lining and the fabric. I will learn the correct way when I start my dressmaking class again next year. Unless this is the correct way! Someone tell me :)

M5845 Lined Dress.
See? Bad zipper. 
My favourite feature is the bodice, it's only 2 pieces to cut and trace (no midriff!) and 3 pieces to sew. The darts takes some patience, but with my chalk pen, it's so much easier. I also press the fabric down before I stitch the darts. I toyed with the idea of having the darts on the outside like the pattern suggests, but my backstitching is terrible sometimes, I didn't want that on display. I think the outside darts could look interesting, if you pressed them open? The back of the dress is what attracted me to the pattern, and what convinced me I had to have this out-of-print pattern. As usual, I made the skirt short so it won't overwhelmed my short frame.

For my dress, I used a burnt orange cotton sateen. I love the bright orange, but I think some of the "brightness" faded in the wash.

It's hard to tell which is the right and wrong side of the fabric, but the lady at the store told me to look at the selvage, the right side is "raised". I only realised it when taking the photos, but it is so much easier to tell right from wrong from looking at the photos!! I bought 1.15cm of fabric, but I really only needed about 90cm of fabric. Will remember for next time. I hate wasting fabric.

Right side - Wrong side
Cotton Sateen, $20/m.
The zipper is disappointing, not my best work, it's messy, lumpy, you can't really tell when the dress is on, but I still hate it.

After all the issues with the sizing, fading colour, zipper... I just wanted to pack up, so I finished the hem on the machine.

Overall, I love the dress. Definitely making it again. The dress has everything I want to be in the new year: bright, bold and modest :)

Pattern Review: M5845

Size: 8
Fabric: 1.15m cotton sateen (burnt orange), 1.10m sunsilky polyester, lining (red)
Notions: Trouser zipper 9" (black), Gutermann thread (351)
    • Darts on the inside, instead of outside
    • Shortened skirt pattern by 8"
    • Skirt hem 1"
    • Trouser zipper instead of dress zipper
    • Back seam allowance is all out of wack because of my reckless cutting
    • No skirt vent

Have a prosperous new year!!
See you in 2012 xx



  1. Beautiful dress! Thanks for the tip on the BMV pattern sizing issues. I bought a boat-load of them from the sale online yesterday. Definitely doing muslins for all of them.

  2. Absolutely stunning. I love exposed zippers. The dress looks fabulous on you despite the probs you incurred.

  3. Very cute! Joann's is having a sale on McCall's patterns for 99¢, I'm going to have to get that pattern... don't know how I missed it.

  4. So hilarious post :) Loved it! I am kind of relieved that someone else besides me happens to have sewing errors.
    Oh, by the way, love the dress! The color is delicious & the dress fits on you perfectly!

  5. @VitBerA Learning from my mistakes, I will stop sewing when I feel tired. Usually before I get to the zipper. I just get so impatient haha


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