Thursday, 18 October 2012

Finished Project & Pattern Review: McCall's 5850.

I actually finished this dress a couple of months ago, but didn't get around to taking photos or blogging about it because I was hoping to add a few more finishing touches to improve the fit on me but I have since given up and moved on to Burda 7254 which is actually coming along quite nicely. 

After an enjoyable dinner with my great mate Eirene and a couple of wines, I decided to get the pattern review over with. Photos were taken on my iPhone. This dress is too pretty not to share with my internet sewing mates :D

Pattern Review: McCall's 5850
"Create It" pattern - I made the strapless bodice, flat midriff band and gathered skirt. Fully lined.

Size: I cut a size 6, graded to an 8 waist, however I could have cut a straight 4.

Fabric: 1.7m linen blend from Lincraft, 1.8m sunsilky polyester lining. I actually needed 1.8m dress fabric but I used the linen from my stash and managed to fit all the pieces on 1.7m.

Notions: 14" invisible zipper, 2m grosgrain ribbon, interfacing, thread.

Techniques:  First time I used boning in the bodice. I had previously only boned a cummerbund. Gee, that sounds dirty...hehehe.

Hours: About 8 dressmaking classes... 16 hours or so. 

Will you make it again? No. No. No. I thought this would be a pattern that I would love and make over and over, but the bodice is so unflattering on me. I could not even bring myself to photograph myself wearing it. There are photos of me wearing another version of this dress here but this is not a pattern I will ever make again. I am really disappointed because I absolutely love this fabric. The bodice is so short up top, I feel over exposed... just doesn't suit my body shape. Possibly also due to the waist seam not hitting my natural waist so I feel naked up top and pregnant below. I just don't feel right in this dress.

Total cost:  $50ish - dress fabric $25, lining $18, zipper $5, grosgrain ribbon $5


  • For the lining, I cut the slimmer skirt (I think it was the bubble skirt pattern piece) so that it would eliminate the puffiness around the belly
  • Added the grosgrain ribbon 'straps' to see if it would help hold up the dress because the bodice wasn't hugging my bust and the waist wasn't on my waist so it wasn't holding the bodice up. The waist seam sits pretty much in the middle of my rib cage so no matter how snug it is at the waist seam, the dress won't stay up
  • Grosgrain ribbon for the waist seam, but I haven't sewn it on yet
  • A very narrow seam allowance when I joined the shell and lining together at the top - I hoped that this would add a little height to the bodice... it added about 0.5cm which did not make much difference. The narrow seam allowance also caused the lining to ride up even though I understitched. Thinking I might have to top stitch or stitch shell and lining all together when I sew on the grosgrain ribbon at the waist seam
Final thoughts: I have seen other versions of this dress (like this one-shoulder version by Inez) and they look awesome. 
It's an easy strapless dress pattern, unfortunately it does not suit my body shape - I feel like I am wearing a sack... the bodice flattens my almost-non-existent bust, then poofs out at my rib cage making me look like a tent with no boobs.
I'm happy with the craftsmanship because I know the effort I put into this dress was 100%. 
I really enjoyed putting the dress together, great learning experience and has made me aware of what does and doesn't suit my body shape.
My teacher and I knew we were taking a risk making a strapless style because I don't have the bust to hold it up but it was a risk I was willing to take so I could learn how a strapless dress is constructed.
After experimenting with other bodices, the most flattering bodice for me has to nip in at/just above my natural waist. Babydoll-like styles are not for me.

TIP: Don't be intimidated by the many small pattern pieces because it's quite easy to put together once all the cutting and interfacing is complete.


  1. Drat! I noticed when I made up this pattern for my mad men dress (which I still haven't finished and probably wont' because I'll have to tear the whole thing apart to fix some issues) that the midriff was really short, and in turn made the dress look like a baby doll. Yuck.
    I'm using this for my new halloween costume and I plan on using 1/4" seam allowances in the following places: attaching main fabric and lining fabric bodice pieces, attaching midriff to bodice. I hope lessening the seam allowance will allow me to get a little extra length.
    This is the same pattern I used on the burger dress, which fit really well. When putting the zipper in, I just pinned and marked it as tight as I could stand it, knowing that with installation I would probably loose a few scant inches. That worked with the burger dress, did not work with the madmen dress.

    The inside is super pretty!

    1. I remember your hamburger dress, it was fabulous!

      I agree, it is babydoll-like - thanks for pointing that out (I've updated my post to add that comment) I'm making a dress this weekend and I have to make sure to check the overall bodice length... I don't want another issue like this.

      To lengthen the bodice, could you slit the pattern pieces in half and add the length on the pattern pieces instead - would be so ball breaking cos there are so many pieces to mod.

      For me the issue was not only the short midriff but also the short bust pieces :/

  2. Aw man, I'm bummed that this doesn't fit right, cause it's gorgeous! Too sad!

    1. It looks pretty on the mannequin... so I'll just leave it there as a display! Such pretty fabric. Maybe I'll see if they have more at the store... probably not though because I bought it in Dec last year. Ah well! All part of learning hey!

  3. Awww, so sorry to hear that this dress didn't work out for you! That's always a bummer when you love the fabric and have put in a lot of work. Could you salvage the skirt portion at least? Make it into a skirt, or attach a different bodice in a coordinating color?

    1. I think I will leave the dress as it is... maybe my sister can try it on and see if it fits her and looks good. I would feel too sad picking it apart.. it's too beautiful.

  4. The fabric is super cute and it looks rather polished as a finished project! Nicely done! But that doesn't matter if it doesn't stay up :( That sucks! I agree with Cindy- can you save the bottom for a cute skirt?

    1. Thanks Amanda :) Yeah the finished garment looks great, probably one of my best! The insides are immaculate and I love the cream lining on the fuchsia linen :)

  5. Aww what a shame you didn't love the finished project, you're right- the fabric is gorgeous!


Powered by Blogger.

© 2011-2014 Sew Me Love, AllRightsReserved.

Designed by ScreenWritersArena