McCall's M8358 reissue - the Laura Ashley summer dress
I'd seen a few versions of the original 1970's issue of this pattern (M6121) pop up on Instagram over the past couple of years; occasionally a copy would appear on Ebay, always for an astronomical price and seldom in my size.
This year McCalls have re-issued it, updated to modern sizing. I ordered a copy as soon as it was released in the UK and made it almost immediately!
It's a wrap dress with elastic fed all the way around the neckline and little puff sleeves with an elastic hem - you need a lot of 6mm elastic for this pattern!
At the moment this pattern is only available in paper format.
I bought my copy from Sew Direct, get a copy here https://www.sewdirect.com/product/m8358/
I really don't like tissue paper patterns. I find them too fragile and the sheets are enormous, meaning you have to fight with them before you even start cutting out.
I would normally trace a paper pattern but with this one I decided to just cut it!
As the pattern has lots of ease and it was really difficult to decide which size to make I chose a 12 - the size chart put me more as a 14, so I took a slight risk. I'm pleased I did as the fit is pretty good!
Due to the nature of construction, you can't get any idea of the fit until it's almost finished - after inserting the neckline elastic. But as it's a wrap you've got some leeway.
There's two options, A with a ruffle hem and B without. I chose B as the ruffle would have been lost somewhat with the busy fabric.
Also this pattern is a fabric eating monster - I used a little under 4 metres!
As there's no waist seam the pattern pieces are enormous.
A nice feature of this dress is that it's reversible, you can put in on with the wrap at the front or back!
I found this absolutely beautiful cotton lawn in the Fabric Godmother sale at just £4.99 per metre.
I've just had a look, and at the time of writing this they still have some left! https://www.fabricgodmother.co.uk/madison-cotton-lawn-multi/
The quality is really very good, so it was a pleasure to work with. I'd personally avoid making this is a very drapey fabric as my cutting space isn't very big, and even with
my dining table fully extended I still had to manoeuvre it around a lot while cutting out. I fear I'd have pulled a drapey fabric out of shape.
Fit and adjustments
I cut a straight size 12 and struggled to tell bow long it would be until it was made. I ended up removing 10cm from the length before hemming.
If I make it again I'll shorten the pattern pieces to save fabric!
For reference I'm 5ft 2" so have to shorten almost everything I make.
Cutting took a while (I'm slow at this at the best of times!) but the actual sewing didn't take long at all, making it a lovely speedy make.
Will you be giving this one a go? I'm very much looking forward to the weather finally warming up so I can wear it! Perfect for picnics and just wafting around.