Sew Sarah smith

A ‘Black Tie’ McCalls 7119

Sew Sarah smith


It feels like I’ve had this dress germinating in the back of my mind since time immemorial. I originally got my hands on a sample of this Prada satin backed crepe – in red – an age ago. Whilst I loved it, I had no immediate ideas for it. Then, back in the summer, I sewed up a floral version of M7119 (see here) which was my favourite make of the summer. I knew straight away that I wanted to put a spin on the pattern; using the contrasting textures of the fabric to turn it into a Black Tie evening dress version of the tuxedo.

I cut the dress out intending to wear it to a friends 40th birthday bash – a weekend long affair – earlier this month. But unfortunately Sod invited Law to the party too; the dress lay unsewn for quite some time whilst I succumbed to the lurgy. Gah.

McCalls 7119

Anyhoo, my friend forgave me for not attending his birthday ‘do’ and the dress eventually got sewn. I’m now counting on some Christmas party invitations in order to y’know, actually get to wear it.

The dress is this months’ make for the Minerva Craft Blogger Network; the full post including my thoughts on working with this double sided designer fabric can be found HERE.

Since sewing this dress, I’ve filled an online cart in Ikea and I’m quite ridiculously excited waiting for my order to be delivered! Apart from some pattern testing this last week, I’ve finally ‘thrown in the towel’ with sewing on the dining table. Fed up with unpacking and packing everything away at the start and end of each session, I’ve decided to set up a designated spot where I can leave my stuff permanently set up. Although it will be a relatively small area – and I’ll still need to use the dining table for cutting out – I’m hoping it will be a well thought out enough space to mean I can really sew my heart out anytime I want.  Ok, let me rephrase that…to sew half as much as I want to but twice as much as I’m currently able to! 

So here’s looking forward to Holiday party invitations and sewing in peace!

Until next time, stay well sewing friends x




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McCalls sewing patterns dress

My Favourite Ever Summer Dress: McCall’s M7119

McCalls M7119 Sew Sarah Smith

Well the title kind of gives it away doesn’t it – I love this dress! McCall’s 7119 (see HERE) was the last item I sewed before packing for the Stateside summer jaunt to join family. It’s everything I wanted in a dress; floaty and  breathable with an interesting neckline; exposed shoulders, a high-low hem and can be dressed up or down. It also takes up hardly any suitcase space and we all know what that means! (More space for bringing back new fabrics ;-))

I made mine in this awesome viscose print (see HERE) and it was a joy to work with. It comes in three colourways and although still relatively inexpensive, was a little more pricey than some. Granted, I’m getting more confident working with drapey lightweight and shifty fabrics having used them a lot recently but I also think this particular viscose seemed more stable and cooperative than some I’ve used, but with no compromise to its fluidity – a fantastic fabric! And again it’s a statement floral. Who am I and what have I done with my former self?! That said, I feel surprisingly myself in it. I’m sure I’ll sober down again as Autumn draws near but for now I’m really enjoying this change!

McCalls 7119

M7119 is part of McCalls ‘Misses’ range, which I like since I’m only 5.3”. I cut View B and decided to make only minimal changes to the pattern before cutting out; sizing down, lowering the bust darts and raising the armscye by 0.5” – which tends to be the basic standard alterations I do with McCalls patterns. There are lengthen/shorten lines on the skirt pieces but I decided if I needed to take off any length I’d do it later and simply remove it from the hem. Here’s the line drawings and envelope:




I cut out on the single fold, carefully, so as not to warp the fabric and immediately staystitched all the pieces. It’s an easy sew and comes together really quickly – the only I time I had to concentrate was with the construction of the faced front band and shoulder pieces – which are sewn together. They’re not difficult to do; it’s just a case of following the instructions to the letter, even if you’re not quite sure where they’re taking you. That was my experience anyway!

McCalls 7119 Floral Print

Actually, no, don’t follow the instructions quite to the letter, as there is a slight mistake with the front bands at Step 13. It says “Stitch outer edge. Understitch facing”. It should say “Stitch inner edge…” it’s clear enough from the illustrations but thought it worth mentioning. You will part stitch the outer edge at Step 14 (turning through the entire band and ties through the gaps later). Here’s the notes I scribbled on the instructions when I first read them through before starting – something I always do (i.e. attempting to stitch the garment together in my head before I start). However certain parts of this process only made total sense to me in the actual doing! Also make sure your circle and square markings are clearly, err, marked –  your stitching needs to be pretty accurate here.

McCalls 7119

Once I tried the dress on, I felt that the skirt crossed over at the perfect point at the front to avoid accidentally flashing underwear (which was good because I’d already narrow hemmed the pieces!) but … that it was far too long at the back. I do think it’s designed to be worn with heels but quite frankly I needed the option of wearing it with flip-flops. I ended up taking out 3” from the centre back (by folding the back skirt in half, marking the 3” point at the centre fold and then tapering to nothing at the side seam so that the curve of the back skirt met the front skirt exactly at the side seams. It worked out great. I then turned up a narrow folded hem and it was done!

One of my favourite parts of the dress is actually the back neckline – it looks like it’s going to be a straightforward halterneck affair from the front but it’s not – look! It’s a high neck with pretty gathers. For someone like me, who is narrower in the shoulder, this gives a lovely strength and balance to the dress.


In retrospect I half wish I’d added side seam pockets because *awkward flapping hands* I’ve not had an issue with accidentally revealing more cleavage than intended; the ties are good and long and it all feels pretty secure for a wrap dress. I guess you could widen the front bands if you wanted more coverage there.

McCalls sewing patterns dress

This dress got the total seal of approval from my husband and a few “no way!”responses when I confirmed I’d made the dress, which has been really nice. I’m absolutely going to make it again – I’m considering a satin backed crepe to make a Black Tie version for the Christmas period. Always thinking ahead! So far I’ve worn this dress three times – twice out to dinner and once … just because. I’m also planning to wear it to the Rodeo next week and you bet I’m going to try it on with cowboy boots!

What do you think?

Until next time,