McCalls 7862: An A-line Dress to Welcome in Spring

by Sewmuchtodesign

I have been saving this fabric to create a new dress to transition into warmer weather. This McCalls7862 was the perfect option for me. It's my favourite style-classic A-line with a dramatic sleeve; Welcome Spring!

This fabric, gifted to me as a Minerva Ambassador is a wonderful cotton poplin from Art Gallery Fabrics from their City Loft Fusion line. I prewashed and dried this fabric,, so that I can wash and wear it without any concerns; it washes up beautifully! The fun vertical stripe designed with circles and dots definitely gives it a retro feel, thus the name Retro Harmony.

The fabric is soft and has great stand which really helps the pleated sleeves of the dress to hold their shape. It is a medium weight fabric that is easy to sew. I love the crispness of a cotton poplin which makes it ideal for dresses, tops, shirts, skirts and shorts. Being 100% cotton is it durable and can be worn year round. The striped design adds lovely detail to a dress and flatters your shape as it runs vertically. There is no need to pattern match except for cutting your bodice patterns and sleeve cap along one stripe so it is centered.

McCalls 7862 is a loose-fitting unlined A-line dress with three sleeve options. It is a slip on dress designed with a hook and eye closure, side seam pockets and two hem variations.

It is a straight forward easy pattern to sew, especially if choosing View A with the short sleeves. It offers classic styling that can be sewn up in a variety of woven fabrics.

Short sleeves for spring/summer and a long sleeve option with a cuff for fall/winter. I can envision it in so many different fabrics: silk, denim, cord, wool, viscose, linen. You could easily adapt the long sleeves for a puffier statement sleeve as well. With such classic sleeves to choose from the options are endless.

As always, I needed to tweak a few things on this pattern for it to fit me and my sense of style. Now I have a "just for me pattern" that can be used as a wardrobe staple or that go-to pattern that features stunning fabric for a statement dress. There are moments in my life when I feel Queen Elizabeth got it right....find the best pattern for you and use it over and over again. Based on bust measurements I made a size 18. This allows room across my back and shoulders even though I know I will have to draft down the rest of the pattern. My inverted triangle shape means that I always need to grade down through the hips at least a couple of sizes.

I find that if I cut the pattern from the start, running straight down from the arm syce to the hemline it helps to not have to eliminate a lot of fabric later after sewing the side seams. The other trick that I have discovered is to baste stitch the side seams before attaching the in-seam pockets, making the size adjustments I need-then I attach the pockets. This saves having to fiddle with fit once the pockets are attached which is more complicated. I found the placement of the pockets was a bit low for me, which is surprising as I am 6 feet tall. I raised the placement on this dress by 1.5" and I think for my next dress I will raise it again another 1/2". Apart from lengthening the dress by 4", the rest was sewn without any modifications. This dress is available in Sizes 6-22 so there is lots of possibility for a custom fit.

I chose to make the View C sleeve as I was immediately drawn to the pleats. It isn't complicated to sew and the steps laid out in the pattern are easy to follow. If you haven't made a pleated sleeve before just take your time and make sure you mark the fabric really well. Mark both sides of the pleat and the center and you will be away to the races. Pressing as you go is well worth the effort and making sure you baste stitch the pleats in place before you add the sleeve interfacing is also helpful.

I really like the interfaced sleeve cuff. I hadn't sewn one like this before and I really appreciate the clean lines. It was a really nice way to finish off the pleated sleeve. Make sure to stitch the inside cuff down at the side seam by stitching in the ditch so it is well anchored. Depending on the weight of the woven fabric you are using you may also want to make a couple of invisible slip stiches at the top of the sleeve.

If you aren't familiar with creating markings for a pleated sleeve I wanted to share a fun way to make perfect markings in a quick, easy way. Cut your pattern where the line markings are and fold them up. Now you simply have to draw your lines along the cut lines and mark the center. It is a fast way to create accurate markings. This is a great technique to use when you are marking the locations for pockets as well. Cut 3 sides of the pocket, fold it up and mark. I like to use these water soluble markers ; they are easy to see and all markings disappear when you spray them with water.

The neckband interfacing and hemline facing for this pattern add nice details to its simple style. The instructions are clear and fun to sew. Take your time with the neckband and finishing the inside edge. Use lots of pins and ease the fabric so that it lies nice and flat. You will be really pleased with the finished details if you do.

`All in all this has been a very successful sew. Its one of those makes that pairs a great pattern with fantastic fabric. There are so many options for sewing this dress, I know there will be other versions.

After all... there is Sew much to Design.

Happy Dress Sewing Everyone,

Lou Sheffer

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