Today, I would have arrived in Ukraine for a few days. I’m a child of the cold war, coming of age in “West Germany,” graduating from an American military high school in West Germany the same year Chernobyl melted down. I grew up with Realpolitik and understanding NATO and the Warsaw Pact far better than the US governmental system. In college, I studied all things Soviet and Russian (and Ukrainian) – politics, language, culture, literature, history, geography. Even though that world fell shortly after my college graduation, East of the Iron Curtain still fascinates me. I was excited about Kyiv. Unfortunately, we had to cancel at the last minute.
This is one of the dresses I made for the trip. Simple – easy to accessorize with jewelry, hats, jackets/sweaters, scarves. Modest, because visiting Ukrainian churches requires women to cover knees, shoulders and heads (men have restrictions too). I like it, and it makes me feel better about my figure (yes, I still have a waistline). I have some adjustments to do on the fit, but this will be a versatile piece in my wardrobe.
Sometimes, we focus on the fun and funky to blog and forget the everyday. Well, here’s to the everyday.
The pattern: McCall 7121. This is a basic a-line dress, in three lengths, with options for color blocking or placing stripes on the bias. Most of the reviews I saw were of the maxi-length, with the bias stripes. That’s why I originally bought the pattern, but never made it. I made view C, the just below the knee length, but changed the back. I made a 14, adding two inches to the length at the waist. After wearing it, I think the shoulders through bust point should be a 12, and I should only have added 1.5 inches (I didn’t account for the slight blousing from the elastic).
The fabric: a black rayon blend doubleknit from the new Gorgeous Fabrics. Ann’s out of the black, but she does have it in other colorways.
What I did differently:
- I didn’t add the elastic, since I intend to wear this with a belt. But the rayon is heavy enough that it needs the support of the elastic if you don’t belt it.
- The neckline, armholes and hem are the typical narrow hem: fold and press 5/8, open, then fold to the pressed line, top stitch. This would be bulky in the doubleknit. I used the lightest interfacing I had (Fashion Sewing Supply, Couture weight) to add 5/8″ strips to all of these edges. I then serged these edges, trimming off 1/4 inch. Then, I pressed under 3/8″, and top-stitched. Cleaner, smoother, less bulk.
- I changed the back. I didn’t want racer back, and I didn’t want a v-back either. So I meshed together the pattern pieces for view A and view C to fill in the v-neck.
Final thoughts: I like this, but need to continue working to get the best fit. When I sat in the car, the dress slumped in the front. I didn’t do it so much at the restaurant (my posture is far better at a table than in a car, obviously). But I still need to take the shoulders up a bit. It’s also slightly big in the armhole above the bustline (in front and back). I’ll make this again, perhaps in a fun print and shorter length, if I find the right fabric. (Oh, and those front and back center seams – they aren’t straight or on the grainline, so cheating by using the fold line won’t save you time. They add shape.)