The Cat’s Away, with McCalls 7534
March 31, 2017
by Melanie for Following The Thread

As Spring approaches I’m trying to hurry it up by making a warm weather dress, from bright red quilting cotton featuring playful mice, of course! Unfortunately making a cotton spring dress means I had to wait a week for a day suitable for outdoor pictures after finishing it.

But today’s the day to share this McCalls 7534, which I notice that Margo from Creating the Gap has just made as well, but in rayon and a maxi length. Mine is quite different, as I made it knee length & used quilting cotton. I just had to use this very fun print, a “Groovy Cotton Print – Mouse” that I like to call “the cat’s away”.

Since the last dress I made for this blog features marching elephants, I have to remember to be careful not to hang this mouse print next to it in the closet unless I want an uproar!

I enjoyed making this easy dress. There are no closures, so it’s suitable for a beginning sewist. The features that attracted me to this pattern were the mock wrap top (feels much more secure than an actual wrap) and the shoulder/neckline pleat which gives a nice shape to the bodice.

I had to adjust the right side of the bodice by just over half an inch where it meets the waist, as my right side is a bit shorter from the shoulder. If you have an issue like this, the bodice will gape — but you can take up the pattern piece either at the shoulder or waist to compensate. I usually adjust at the shoulder, but forgot this time, and had already sewn the facing on…so to save myself time I took a tuck at the waist which is completely invisible.

The only other adjustment I had to make was to add pockets. Of course! I used a bit of red broadcloth from my stash and added in side seam pockets.

The waist of this dress is lightly elasticized. The view I was using suggested a tie belt that was to be sewn in to the side seams. I didn’t want it to be a permanent part of the dress so I just sewed a regular separate sash; this way I can use it or use another belt for a different look.

The key to making a dress like this work with quilting cotton is lots of pressing. Press all the seams as you go, and expect that it will hold the shape a little more crisply than a drapy fabric will. I wouldn’t make a maxi from this fabric as it would be rather bell-like. But in this view it works very well.

Of course, with a print like this, you can get a little silly. Seeing all the activity going on, like this little mouse:

I just had to get out my own hula hoop and have a little fun.

Spring can’t come soon enough!




2 thoughts on “The Cat’s Away, with McCalls 7534”

  1. Helena for KnitWiz says:

    Hi Melanie: Love your sense of whimsy! Thank you for sharing this pretty dress!

  2. Margo says:

    Super cute Melanie!!

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