Sunday, 10 November 2013

Finished Project: A psychedelic dress.


I don't know if I can/should even tag this post with the label "McCalls 5845" any more since the only original part is the front bodice, and even that has a slight alteration... so I apologise to the people who stumbled on to my blog when googling "M5845". 

You've heard it before, the 5845 is my favourite sewing pattern of all time.
The 5845, a simple darted bodice with a high front neck, low cut back and fitted skirt. 
The version I have made has a low scoop back and full gathered skirt.

I found this cotton sateen in my stash, washed it, dried it, then stared at it for days. Days. Not even exaggerating. I couldn't decide between making another strapless M6349 (with short full skirt) or a M5845 with short full skirt. In the end, I stuck with my TNT pattern - M5845.

The bodice is the same as my floral version with outside darts except I did a swayback adjustment, a proper one. The skirt is from M6349 so it's slimmer than my "self drafted" full gathered skirts. I prefer this skirt, it's less poofy and less hem to handsew.

I lined the bodice with red sunsilky polyester, installed a waist stay, and handpicked the zip.

Here is the low down...

Pattern: McCall's 5845 bodice with alterations, McCalls's 6349 skirt
Size: 4 bust, 10 waist, 6 skirt.
Fabric: 1.5m cotton sateen (Darn Cheap, I think! I don't even remember buying this fabric), 0.5m sunsilky lining
Notions: Gutermann thread, dress zipper 14" (black), 80cm grosgrain ribbon, bikini hook,
Cost: Fabric $20, Lining $5, Zipper $2, Grosgrain Ribbon $2, Bikini hook $1
Hours: about 8hrs
Pattern Modification/Adjustments:
  • Lowered front neck
  • Scoop back
  • 1cm sway back adjustment
  • Replaced fitted skirt with full gathered skirt
Techniques Used:
  • Waist Stay (great tutorial by Sewaholic here)
  • Hand picked zip
  • Gathering (skirt)
  • French seam (skirt side seams)

I did my best to match up the squiggles at the seams. Looks pretty rad!
I added a grosgrain ribbon waist stay to take some pressure off the zip and to cover up the waist seam. Love waist stays, they look so pretty.
The best part of this dress is the hem. I deliberately hemmed the skirt so that the solid black would sit on the edge of the hem.The hem is quite thick - 8.5cm to be exact!! I wanted to leave the hem thick, kinda like a faux-hem-facing. Can't get enough of the psychedelic print.
I french seamed the skirt side seams for a neat finish.

The print is so crazy, my sister nicknamed it 'psychedelic' so I stuck with the name. It is kind of mesmerizing to look at. Maybe that's why I was staring at it for days. Maybe I was in a trance?

Cos it's such a crazy, colorful print I found it super hard to style cos I suck at ANYTHING to do with accessorizing. I will never be on of those girls that can pair up a printed dress with bold accessories and crazy shoes. I tend to stick to plain jewellery (sometimes no jewellery) and plain shoes. Boring, plain Jane. Boo.

I tried the dress on with a pink envelope clutch to bring out the pink in the dress, and plain black patent leather heels and tweeted for help! The #sewcialist ladies gave me the thumbs up on my outfit so I wore it to my builders awards night on Friday.

It was a cool evening so I ended up wearing a black ASOS blazer over the top of the dress. Borrowed the hot pink clutch my my sister. The event was wonderful as usual, great food, awesome drinks and it was great to see builders win awards for houses that they put their heart and soul into building.

Initially I was hesitant to wear this dress out. I even had a back-up outfit planned!
I'm so used to wearing plain colors or florals so this crazy print was a challenge.

I am more critical of myself when I wear a handmade/me-made dress, everything has to be perfect, because I can't really blame "the dress" if I look like a fail... cos I made it myself!

Does anyone else feel this way?


  1. Wow! Wonderful! The final result is stunning!
    I am doing mostly the same - just taking the part of the pattern I like ...

    1. Thank you :) I have more pattern mix-matching coming up soon :P

  2. I love this dress! The bright print is so fun! I love your mods to the pattern, too! It looks great!

    1. Looking at the photos, the scooped back is more like a "shield shape"!! Hahaha but I do prefer this shape for the back rather than the squarish back. The print is super cool hey!

  3. i am absolutely the same (wore a "fail" just last night!) but this looks perfection. bee-yootiful.

  4. very cute as always. I'm always super critical, it just happens I can't help it! haha

    1. Cos most people know I sew, the first thing they ask is always "did you make that?" and it always make me paro that my outfit looks weird!!

  5. You have such an eye for prints! I love it! Maybe I need to make a fabulous print dress now....

  6. Another stunning dress from you :) favourite touch is the black along the hem, it looks great!

    1. Thanks Jo!! I was so close to unpicking the hem and taking it up another 1 or 2 cm because I wasn't used to the length, lucky I left it cos I got used to it after a couple of hours :)

  7. Hehehe I feel like you do about labeling my M5845s too...there are so many mods possible! Somehow that front bodice always seems to stay the same, though, it's just that versatile. I like that print a lot and it looks just interesting enough to not be boring, and the black blazer really makes it look sophisticated!

  8. Wow! This is a stunning dress! Love this print ... indeed, I had been "trapped" by the print also for days ... it totally enthralled watching ... Love, love, it´s as sweet and "crazy" at a time. Kisses, dear Neeno.


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