dresses · McCall's · weddings

McCall’s 7119, or Why Wrap Dresses Are Deceptively Bad Choices for Weddings

Well, I finally finished up some fancy, non-muslin versions of McCall's 7119, which I had previously tested out thinking it would be a great choice for all the upcoming weddings I'm going to this fall.

To be clear, I still really like this dress pattern. It's easy to make (no zippers!) and relatively easy to wear (just tie it on!). And of the two different fancy versions, I really love this first one in pink. It's the second version, in silk, that's a bit trickier. Here's the first version, made using a Nani Iro print called “Beautiful Corolla.” I'm normally not that into pink (especially light pink), so I was hugely surprised to be buying a cotton candy pink fabric with silver metallic highlights. (This fabric comes in a navy colorway, as well, and I'm very, very tempted!). I bought it from Miss Matatabi–my first purchase from that store–and the shipping from Japan was very reasonable and very quick. Even with the shipping, it was still cheaper than buying this fabric from other online stores based in the US, so I'll definitely purchase from them again.

So, I love this pink version. The double-gauze was wonderful to sew with–easy to cut, hardly any shifting off grain, and beautiful to sew. I did french seams throughout the dress, and because this is double-gauze I didn't bother with a lining. I was pretty careful when pressing (because of the metallics in the fabric), but haven't noticed any problems with shrinkage or dimpling in the fabric, even after washing and pressing with steam. This first version fits really well–basically just as well as the muslin version. I was very nervous that a pink fabric like this would read as juvenile, but I think the print really helps make sure the dress doesn't look too twee. At least, I hope not.

There's a little pulling through the bodice, but it isn't too bad, and that's mostly because I just have it tied a bit too tight. The lines go away when I loosen the wrap. Looking at these photos, though, I'm not so sure about those shoes. They seem kind of . . . bright?

Love the gathering in the back, and I was very careful when cutting out the fabric to make sure I wouldn't get any obvious repeats between the skirt and the bodice.

The second version, however, I'm not as in love with. I used a wonderful silk charmeuse from FabricMart Fabrics that I bought years ago during a sale. I remember paying about $4 a yard for this when it went on clearance; I loved the print so much, actually, that I bought it in a navy and white colorway, as well. So, I really love the fabric, but the problem with this version is the front bodice cross-over; it's a bit . . . low. Luckily I don't have tons of cleavage, so it's not actually that revealing, but it's low enough that when I wore it to the first wedding this fall, I tugged at it all night long. You can see pretty clearly where it pulls across the bust. Ugh.

It doesn't look too bad in this photo, I think, but the cross-over has a tendency to sink right down to the bra band after I make the slightest movement, such as breathing. I was very careful with the bodice when cutting and sewing, so it really irks me that it doesn't fit quite right. I cut everything on a single layer, using paper underneath to make sure the grain didn't shift. I stay-stitched all the seams, and then also stitched with tissue paper to ensure the grain shifted as little as possible. Still, the bodice on this version is definitely tighter across the bust, and I'm guessing that's because the charmeuse just isn't quite solid enough to hold it's shape. Lining likely would have helped, but I'm way too lazy to go back and re-do the bodice on this version. It doesn't look bad, it's just not as comfortable to wear as the pink version.

Still, it's always lovely to wear silk! And, to be honest, if I hadn't been with family I probably wouldn't have been as self-conscious about it being lower cut than I normally wear. It certainly didn't bother my husband!

The other big problem with this dress, though, is that the light silk flutters at the slightest breeze (while the double-gauze of the pink version is much more stable). The most recent wedding had an indoor reception, so the wrap dress wasn't much of a problem during dinner, but walking in and out of the ceremony (and later at a bar outside), I had to watch very carefully to make sure I wasn't accidentally flashing anyone more than absolutely necessary. I've since looked up some options for keeping wrap dresses closed, so I might take Megan Nielson's advice and add a piece of elastic to the wrap to hold it in place. On the pink version, I think I'll also add a snap on the overlay, just to make sure it doesn't fly open at an awkward moment. Although, really, is any moment not awkward when your dress flies open?

I suspct I'm done with McCall's 7119 for a little while at least. I don't need any more wrap dresses at the moment, and the weather is beginning to turn colder in the Pacific Northwest, so halter top dresses in general will be off my sewing list until next summer. Still, it's lovely to have both dresses in my closet, just in time for four more weddings!



One thought on “McCall’s 7119, or Why Wrap Dresses Are Deceptively Bad Choices for Weddings

  1. Super dresses, I love the double gauze one, it’s a beautiful fabric (miss m has gorgeous fabric, I’ve ordered a few times and always cheaper than here in the uk) the design of the dress is lovely, it looks great on and love the shape of it.

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