Category Archives: mccall’s


This was supposed to be a half day sew prepped and finished Friday night in time for July 4. Instead, it took me 3 days and I managed to make every mistake possible.


It started with my new machine. I recently purchased a long coveted 401A. I’m still learning the tension, but also it may need to be serviced because the bobbin seems to jump around quite a bit in the machine. Of course that is a terror on any fabric. I basically sewed the whole dress three times before giving up on the machine. Ugh.

Finally, after I had the dress mostly assembled, I realized the fabric was misaligned on the sides. I wasn’t trying to perfectly match the leaf pattern, but the bottom stripe definitely needed to be continuous. It turns out the fabric piece mislead me because the printed pattern was slightly slanted from the finished edge of the fabric. Anyway, I took the (serged) dress apart, aligned and re-sewed. Right after attaching the top band, I was cutting threads and snip! I cut a hole in the fabric on the side under the armpit. Luckily I cut the dress longer than that pattern. So, I moved the whole dress up a couple inches to cut away the fabric with the hole. When I finally got the sides seams sewn, the upper band attached and the elastic inserted, I gave up for the day.

Sunday I attacked the straps and hem with calm reserve bringing to an end the agony of what should have been a simple sew. I’m happy with the results, but I’m fully expecting to find issues with this dress as I wear it. I pulled it apart so many times that I must have missed some step…


The fabric is an African Wax print I bought in the airport at Dar Es Salaam. It was from my first trip to Africa, so it’s a bit sentimental to me. As you can imagine, that made the stakes even higher when I snagged on a few obstacles.