In Summer 2020, I made a dress that feels like an Italian summer every time I wear it and I knew that I would want to remake the pattern. Instead of hacking the design again to have an invisible zip closure at the side, I wanted to follow the original look with a button-up front and the longer midi length. Minerva sent across 3 metres of this gorgeous Lady McElroy viscose linen — head over to Minerva to read up my blog post or scroll down for more details and photos!

Unpacking this fabric for my #MinervaMake was rather exciting, as this Lady McElroy fabric is viscose linen blend — a totally new fibre combination for me! I have made quite a few projects with viscose before, yet this is my first time sewing with linen. The blend is 60% viscose/40% linen, and it truly is the best of both worlds. The linen gives steadiness when cutting (as viscose tends to be very shifty), but it still gathers beautifully. I know that linen is notorious for wrinkling, yet this blend magically doesn’t seem to mean that wrinkles happen so easily or quickly. It is basically witchcraft. It also feels cool and airy to wear, so I will definitely make the most of this over the summer months and on my trip to California.

The fabric has a visible textured slub weave and the print is called ‘Life In Venice’, which has sketches of pastel Venetian houses and boats on a pale blue background, with big pink blossoms — it is so dreamy!

My necklace is a shrimp drinking a cocktail. I have a problem, I swear to God.

McCalls 7974 is a quintessential summer dress, with a fitted bodice with a v-neck and button-front closure, pockets, a lightly gathered panelled skirt, and different sleeve and length variations. Also, we should talk about the elephant in the room — it is quite a deep v-neck and I am très busty…! To counteract the daring low neckline, I opted for the midi length of View C to balance out my proportions (last time I made the knee length version, but raised the neckline). I also kept the cute tie-sleeve detail from View A, as I really like the design; I’ve actually incorporated this sleeve piece into other summer dresses.

As I have made the M794 pattern before, I could reuse my old adjustments from last time I made this dress. This patterns seems to run quite large and there is quite a lot of ease factored in — I made the size smaller than I usually take, made a narrow shoulder adjustment and fiddled around to get a better fit around the bust, by adding a couple of centimetres to the length of the bodice under the fullest section, so the midriff would sit comfortably below my bust line and not sit directly across.

I found that this fabric did fray quite quickly, so I used French seams on the bodice and sleeves. I then counted all the skirt panels and decided overlocking these seams would be fine, because I tend to be a lazy sewist…! I did slipstich all the yokes and tie-sleeves though, so I guess that maybe counteracts my earlier laziness with finishing my skirt seams? 😅 I finished this dress with these lovely Pigeon Wishes ‘Roswell’ resin buttons, which has swirls of royal blue, taupe and white.

I cannot wait for the weather to get warmer so I can wear this dress out and about; I love the shades of pastel blue and pink, and the longer midi length. This dress makes me forgo my classic red lip for a bright pop of pink and dream of romantic holidays to Venice…

McCalls 7974
Size 6 – 22
Full Bust: 30½″-44″
Waist: 23″-37″
Hips: 32½″-46″

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