The New Sasha McCall's (M8036) Pattern Review
This post documents, as Tim Gunn would say, my 'make it work' moment with the new sashamccalls (m8036) pattern. Not all patterns work for everyone, but I wasn't going to let this dream die.
It's that time of year again when the snow is melting, the sun is shining bright and the big 4 start releasing their Spring/Summer patterns. I fell in LOVE with the sashamccalls pattern as soon as they shared it on their Instagram, but you don't know HOW MUCH I fell for it. You see, I've always loved wrap dresses; I grew up with my mum wearing them. Now my mother has a full bust (which I've now caught up to because two kids can help with that), and a smaller waist. I'm built similar to my mum but with the added derrière. So, in theory, this was meant for me right? Plus, something that really drew me to it was that it seemed like there was higher coverage on the bust. To me, it had all the bells and whistles a classic wrap has, but with the addition of the dramatic sleeve, and YESPLEASE to those buttons!
So, I didn't hesitate and bought that pattern straight off the bat (without waiting for any sale *gasp*). It arrived a week later and I couldn't have been more excited. This excitement meant that I just went straight into my project. I cut the largest size based off of finished measurements and off I went. It took me a day total to complete (aside from hemming). I went to try it on all excited and guess what? It looked TERRIBLE! It was gaping all the way around the neckline, the seam where the sleeves and bodice meet was too far over my arm, and the back bodice was was also gaping. Positive note: the skirt seemed to be perfect. How could I have gotten it so wrong? Seeing as it was a new pattern I couldn't find any examples online because no one had sewn it up yet!
At a complete loss and being super sad, I messaged my sewing gal pal Emily and told her of my woes. Her advice was excellent: leave it for now and revisit it when not so emotional. So what did I do? I went straight into unpicking the whole bloody thing that night. Yes, everything. Even the serged/overlocked edges. Everything. Crazy I know. But, I told you...I FELL FOR IT HARD. And when I'm committed, I've got tunnel vision and my hubby knew there was no bringing me back. And now Emily does too. Love you Emily.
The next day I laid out all my pieces again and cut it down 2 sizes. I'm guilty of cutting too big of a size for myself because of my bust. So I thought, with my limited fit experience, that lots of gaping meant too big of a size. So I cut it all out in the size 18 and then proceeded to sew it up again, and guess what? It still had all the exact same problems...but in a smaller size. Oh sugar! What had I done? I couldn't believe it. I sewed it up twice and it was still shockingly bad on me! What was I meant to do? I loved this fabric I got from Nerida Hansen from Isa Form, so there was no way I was just going to let it fall victim to a bad sew-up!
My husband took Emily's advice to the next level, and he hid it from me so I wouldn't focus on it. Fast forward to the following week and *maybe* a few tears later and I went to see Martina. Now, Martina is our alterations lady, turned sewing mentor to me. She is the most lovely person and I used to take alterations to her because I didn't have a serger or I didn't have the skills to alter my husband's stuff. She knew that I was challenging myself with sewing and always offered to help when I needed, but I had never taken her up on the offer. So, I sucked up my pride and texted her my problem and she said bring it in and we'll figure it out. After an hour of chatting and laughing and feeling a little more confident in fixing this dress for me, we came up with the final changes I needed to make. Now please note, these changes are specifically for me and the dress I already made. In the future, I'll be adjusting the pattern with these tweaks so I don't have to go through these changes again.
So I left Martina's place hopeful. The changes to make didn't seem too bad, but man this was going to be my third time and I'd be unpicking to a certain extent once again, but this time I had a razor as my secret weapon. That's right a razor. Right before I left, I regaled Martina with my tales of unpicking angst, and she smiled and said, "you need this" and handed me a razor blade. IT'S LIFE CHANGING GUYS. I've included a video for you guys to see. The unpicking I had to do literally took me an hour where it probably would have taken 3 times that with the unpicker, including the serging!
Right, so the changes: added a pleat to back to reduce bulk, two darts under the bust to fix the gaping, add 6" of fabric to the front bodice and skirt front and took 1/2 inch off the bottom of the bodice when re-attaching the skirt. Four changes total. Not bad right? Still nerve-wracking because by this point I was emotionally scarred from my earlier attempts. But you know what, I've never been a quitter so I wasn't gonna quit this!
And guess what? I did it! I actually did it! I made the changes and it doesn't look half bad. Can I see all the changes? Yes. Did I make this dress three times in total and have one dress to show for it? Yes. Do I love it still? Yes. So I think this goes down as a win. The only thing I need to do now is trace the pattern and transfer the changes I made on the dress onto the pattern pieces and then I'll have a somewhat tailored wrap dress pattern for myself. Another win!
Overall, I learnt that not every pattern will work for me; a hard pill to swallow sometimes. This was the first time I ventured out to try a pattern that's not in 'my style.' I should have done a tester, but I just got so excited that I skipped that crucial step: toile/muslin/tester. And, although this was probably one of the most trying projects I've done in a long time, I learnt so much and got more confident in fitting things for my body shape. Since I finished my dress, there's been more people that have popped up on instagram that made this dress and it worked out wonderfully for them! So, I may just be the small percentage that it doesn't work for, but if there's anything I can say about this pattern it is that it really is gorgeous and not too bad to sew up providing your body type suits the pattern. And, if it doesn't, don't be discouraged. If I can do it, so can you! Just do yourself a favour and do the tester first.
Enjoyed the project?
The author may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page.
I'd love to see you all dressed you, styled up and ready to go! Definitely a fun Mrs. Leave it Beaver rock a billy vibe vibe! I love it!
That is really pretty! I admire your dedication, I seriously doubt I would have hung in there after the second try. But isn’t it wonderful to have a sewing angel looking out for you? I am also self taught and that occasional “lifeline” is sometimes necessary!