DIY Gathered Dress | McCall M7186

First of all...let me let you guys know that this blog post has been sitting my queue since November of last year. I know, I know. Some of you commented on this make when you saw it pop up on my I
Instagram months ago and I assured you all that I'd post about it. Well, now I am.

I sewed this one up after sewing my Simplicity 8214 make. I wanted to sew something quick and easy. I knew that this would be an easy make once I read the dress description. It is a pullover, close fitting dress-- which means no zipper! Now, I'm not opposed to a zipper, but to not have to install one makes for a fast and easy project.

This make is all about gathers. So, if you're a beginner looking for practice with gathering, this is your project. There are gathers at both the shoulder seams and at the waist. I personally like the gathered waist, as it hides the many cookies I've been eating for the past two weeks. 😖 Additionally, there is nothing intricate about this pattern as far as technique goes. If it weren't for me attempting to record a tutorial on this, I probably could have finished in about 2 hrs or less, post cutting. View B only requires 4 pattern pieces, as with all views except view A.

My original plan was to make this dress in a winter white (which I still plan to do); however, I was gifted a ton of fabric from a friend. So, I just used a blue, double knit fabric that I was given.
Side story: I decided to give up fabric/notion shopping for the month of September and use the money that I would've spent as a donation to my church's multi campus expansion efforts. Well, I was in a bit of a pickle not having fabric while trying to maintain a blog. It was most definitely a leap of faith. I was trusting God to provide the resources that I needed to fulfill the purpose that He's called me to and not rely of my "own" resources. Not even knowing what I was doing, my friend gifted me a bag full of fabric that she had saved from when she was learning to sew. Talk about a blessing! I challenge anyone in need of provision to sow a seed and watch that need get met!
For this make, I cut a size 14 and graded up to a size 16 at the waist and 18 at the hip. After trying on the garment, I decided that I wanted the garment to fit a little more snug around the hip and taper more below the knee. I probably could have relied on the negative ease and stretch of the fabric to do this if I had cut a 14 all the way, but since I graded up, I just took the dress in at the hip. In the future, I will go back and cut out a size 14 or 12 and not worry about grading up.

I wanted to try something a little different for the hem than what the pattern instructions state. The pattern calls for turning up the hem and topstitching. Personally, I don't like how this looks. So, for the sleeves, I hemmed using Pellon Double-Side Perma-Stick tape, a tip that I learned from Shari of My Daily Threadz. I think that this gives the hem a more polished look. However, because the fabric is double layered in the front, I did a blind hem by hand instead of using the tape. My conclusion is that tape is only appropriate on areas that don't require stretch.

I would sew this pattern again, without hesitation. It is an easy make that fits well and can be dressed up as a nice, cocktail dress. For this shoot, I paired with with some formal earrings and shoes, recycled from my wedding.

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  1. Wow! The colour is great and you look stunning!! Very classy and elegant! I love this, you look gorgeous! ;) x x x

  2. The blue is very pretty. Looks great on you! Thanks for the tip about grading up a size vs working with the ease, very helpful.

  3. Beautiful dress, and amazing testimomy as well!

  4. Gorgeous dress, this is one of my next projects.


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