Having said in my last sewing post that I don't buy sewing magazines that often, I then went straight out and bought another. Today's project is the pattern included with issue 55 of Love Sewing magazine (the current issue as I type) - McCalls 7714.
The McCalls 7714 pattern is for partially-lined dresses, with a fitted princess seam bodice, V-neck or rounded neckline options, and a straight or pleated, full skirt. It also has a separate waistband and the option of making it sleeveless or using short sleeves. I went for view A - sleeveless, V-neck and with the full, pleated skirt.
Based on the finished garment measurements (which are on the pattern tissue), I made a size 14 at the bust, blending out to a 16 at the waist. That's a size below what the pattern suggests for my measurements in both cases, but it's well known that commercial patterns tend to have a lot of ease built in.
The only alterations I made were to lengthen the bodice by an inch, and lengthen the skirt by 2.5 inches. Both of these are fairly standard alterations for me - I'm just over 5 ft 8", so not a giant by any stretch of the imagination, but slightly taller than most patterns are drafted for.
As with most commercial patterns, the instructions are fairly succinct but I found them clear. Although it has to be said that I've sewn a fair few dresses similar to this now so I didn't really need to follow the instructions in any particular detail. I did do my own thing a bit when it came to sewing the invisible zipper and used my preferred method (the one from the Emery dress), which eliminates the need to slipstitch the lining down the centre back.
One thing I found slightly odd is that the sample in Love Sewing magazine doesn't seem to have followed the instructions about stitching down the pleats at the top of the skirt. It doesn't make a major difference I suppose, but I think it would be better for the magazine to show the pattern as written otherwise it could be a bit confusing. I definitely went back and double-checked that I'd done what I was meant to when I noticed that my skirt was different. I actually really like the look created by the stitched down pleats though - it makes this a bit different from some of my other dresses.
The fabric for this one is another piece that's been sitting in my fabric stash for too long. It's a fairly lightweight and soft cotton that I found in a charity shop a couple of years ago. It was the middle of winter when I bought it, so I didn't have any immediate plans for it because it's definitely more of a summer weight, but at £4 for 3 metres, I couldn't say no!
All in all, I'm happy with how this dress turned out. It's fitted, but the lightweight fabric means that it's still breezy enough to wear in this hot weather that shows no sign of stopping. Let's hope it lasts long enough still for me to justify sewing up some more summer dresses!