I finished it!!! I got it in my head to make this dress within 2 weeks. This is the McCall 7154 dress pattern from their Archive Collection. I’ve made difficult dresses and it seemed doable. Barely! I had not anticipated all of the fitting challenges with the top part. The under bodice was easy enough, ended up making my 4″ full bust adjustment and it fit great, the issues were with the over bodice. I added the same 4″ full bust adjustment as the under bodice, but to avoid darts I went about it a different way. Basically I ended up taking out all of the ease I had put in and took out another 2″ as well as cut off the over lap from the bottom. I should have just used the original pattern piece. I used a size 14 for the top shoulder part and a size 16 waist and 16 for the skirt portion.
In the pattern the over bodice is about 2″ longer than the under bodice but I found this to not look very good on me so I took off that 2″ and brought the waist in a bit more for a slightly more fitted look. This took several rippings of the over bodice and under bodice and several evenings but eventually I got it to look pretty good on me. If I were to do this pattern again I think I would add in a yoke at the waist so the bust area is a loose, blousy fit but the waist would be more fitted. I have a very hour glass shape (40-31-41), so fitted suits me better. I ended up adding a silver rhinestone belt and think it turned out pretty well.
As you can see, once I took the full bust adjustment ease out of the over bodice and before I made my changes of taking the length out of the over bodice it actually looks really close to those of the dress modeled on the envelope. This version looked good but it wasn’t my style. It looked very much as anticipated. Also, I used a polyester charmeuse, I think a silk charmeuse would have a better drape and flow.
So as I mentioned, I took out the extra length of the over bodice and an additional 2″ from the waist to get this look. As you can see the top is still loose but much more fitted and I think it looks better on my figure. But now it needed a belt.
As you can see, it looks good (once I put the zipper in, hemmed, etc) but it pulls a little funny at my middle waist. That hemming took a very long time! I know it pulls funny on the top, really should have put some darts in but I was in a time crunch.
So I made a belt out of 1 1/4″ silver rhinestone trimming and voila! A beautiful dress on me, :). Decided to go with a retro hairstyle as well, :). Hot rollers and hairspray are great! I feel like a movie star. The other changes I made were to add 1″ of length to the top part and took 1″ off the bottom hem.
And the back cutouts look so great, can even wear a bra with this dress, :). The back fabric band on the skirt portion could be about 1″ lower on me (I have a low butt apparently), but other than that it looks great. I ended up using most of my 22″ invisible zipper. The pattern calls for a 16″ but I couldn’t find once so I purchased a 20-22″ zipper expecting to cut about 4″ off of it but I only took off about 1″. I had added 1″ of length to the top so this wasn’t too surprising.
And since I tend to get cold easily I wore my lace shrug I made using Deby’s So Sew Easy pattern. I think it completes the look, :).
So in summary, added 4″ FBA to under bodice and 1″ length, took off the 2″ difference in length between the under and over bodices off the over bodice, took in the waist about 2″ off the front over bodice portion, took out the skirt side seams around the hips about 1/4″ on both sides, and took 1″ of length off the dress portion. I also over cast all of my seams (can’t wait to get a serger some day!). This is not necessarily a difficult pattern to sew but the fitting took some trial and error for me. Over all I think it turned out well but I think I will stick with more hour glass hugging shapes here on forward, ;).