Wednesday, June 20, 2012

McCall's free pattern from Post Cereal; in W. African fabric

Here's the McCall's pounds-thinner pattern that my mom sent a while back.  I mentioned it in my last post, about vintage sewing patterns.  And I've made it up in some of the fabric I got in West Africa, probably Ghana or Burkina Faso.  It's supposed to look like strip-woven Kente (typical of Ghana); go to that page to see the real thing (strips woven on a narrow loom, then sewn together to form a delightful pattern).
The underside of the collar.

This is fairly cheap cotton, very thin & not at all drapy, and I was worrying about wearing it without a slip.  Then I remembered I had a pretty burgundy silk slip from Wintersilks, which almost matched the terracotta red in the cotton.  When I tried on the dress, almost done, yesterday, I had to take off 2.5" from the slip.  So I did that, and re-hemmed the slip.

Almost nothing left over!
I ended up using all that extra silk, though, because I barely had enough fabric to make the dress and there is nothing left over. I had to cut the length of the dress from selvage to selvage; there wasn't enough to cut it the normal way!  (Which meant I couldn't play with the length & proportions much--I just had the fabric width.)

I used the silk I cut off to hem the bottom & the sleeves.  There was so little fabric, I couldn't get the underside of the collar out of the kente print and had to use other West African wax print fabric.

Take it to the selvage!
I really made an effort to show the selvage of the fabric because we noticed that a lot in West Africa.  Rather than hemming, clothes are cut so the selvage is the hem.  However, this dress has quite a curved hem, so I ended up losing more than I wanted.

I will make this one again.  I love its cool look and big collar.  I will definitely add a bit in the middle so that the french darts are lower, and I'd probably make the overall length a bit longer, too.  Also, it needs a sway back adjustment (not much)...

BTW, it's got to be the best looking zipper I've ever installed!  I'll give a shout-out to Allison @ Bits of Thread in DC for her expert tutelage. 


  1. I really like the fabric used in this pattern, what a perfect pair and you've done so well pattern matching when there was so little fabric to spare. It looks a great summer dress and Will remind you of your travels...

  2. Thanks! It was pretty easy to match because the fabric is smallish. It's up in the high 90s Fahrenheit here now (100F tomorrow!), so it's definitely summer dress weather.

  3. I enjoyed seeing my patterns. Then you made a dress from one of them! How cool.

  4. This is so incredibly beautiful! You are such a talent, K!

  5. that is so pretty. i love the pattern. what is African Wax Print Fabrics?

  6. Nice to see this. I found some excellent fabrics from Spandex Collection in NYC near me which was a nice weight, not too beefy.
    Stretch Sequins
    Glitter Stone
    Designers Lace
    Stretch Lace
    Printed Spandex


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