THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

May 19, 2006

McCall’s 5137 – Part 1

Filed under: Fit/Pattern Alterations,Pattern Reviews — Gigi @ 10:07 am

We’ll be attending my son’s girlfriend’s graduation brunch on Sunday and this Sewing Diva has nothing to wear! There have been so many events and parties the past few weeks that I really needed yet another new dress. When I saw McCall’s 5137 over at Dress A Day I thought it would make a cool and comfortable summer dress that could just as easily be dressed up or down.

First thing this morning I tissue-fitted the dress. After checking the finished garment measurements at the bust (45″ for a size 8!) I decided to hold off on the full bust adjustment. I adjusted for my forward shoulder and added 6″ at the waist. I’m no wasp-waisted Diva, you know. Everything looked pretty good in tissue but it’s hard to really know for sure when there are a lot of gathers. Tissue doesn’t gather well! So, I cut out a super-quick muslin out of some unloved rayon from my stash and quickly pinned it all together. Here’s my assessment:

The Back: The back was enormous! I removed the extra I had added at the waist in the back only – I still needed it in the front because the front waist of this dress is fitted while the back is pulled in with the belt.

The Bodice: I like open and low necklines. Within reason. This neckline was so low that I could see the clasp on my low-cut bra. The entire bodice just looked too large on me. When I pulled it up at the shoulders it instantly looked better. I decided that shortening the bodice and neckline inset 1″ should take care of most of the excess. Because of the style, I can always tweak it at the shoulder later if I need to remove more.

The Length: While I didn’t bother cutting the hem bands for my muslin, the length looked like it was going to be pretty darn good on me. If you are tall you may need to add.

I was determined to use something from my stash for this project. My closets are overflowing! Unfortunately, I didn’t have any coordinating prints but this pretty rayon print (from the now-defunct Ben Raymond’s in Davie, Florida) caught my eye. I’m hoping to find a coordinating trim to use with it.


  1. Looks promising, Gigi. You really are using the vee neck, empire or waisted style often lately and each is so different. I am amazed at the size of the bodice in this pattern. Sew on! Am looking forward to the result šŸ™‚

    Comment by Mary Beth — May 19, 2006 @ 5:02 pm

  2. Gigi – a fast and nice trim might be some grograin ribbon layered with Mokuba ontop. Or you could embroider the ribbon randomly.

    Comment by Phyllis — May 19, 2006 @ 7:48 pm

  3. Gigi ~ this is a very interesting pattern and I can’t wait to read more about and see pictures of the construction process.

    Comment by cmarie12 — May 20, 2006 @ 12:44 am

  4. I enjoyed reading and watching your steps in creating this pattern. Your dress in lovely. I have the same pattern in my vintage stash, and I’m going to hunt for it.

    Comment by Anonymous — May 28, 2006 @ 8:15 pm

  5. Hi Gigi!
    While doing a google on forward shoulder adjustment your article for PR came up, but because I am not a member I could not read it. I am trying to do a fsa on a knit dress with sleeves and wanted to know how the sleeve is affected. Is there somewhere else that I can access your article?
    Thanks so much!

    Comment by Lisette — September 13, 2007 @ 6:29 am

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