THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

January 5, 2007


McCall’s 5269, aka “The Laura Bennett Dress” is done! The dress got that name because I saw the fabric and immediately thought of the Project Runway Season 3 runner up. I can only hope she would like it!

A few notes on the pattern itself, and the construction.
The pattern is a relatively straightforward lined, princess seamed dress. I made some changes to it that look significant, but are not very difficult. I changed the sleeves from very short and puffed to long and straight. To do that, I morphed the armscye to match the one from the Vogue 8280 Roland Mouret knock off, and I used the long sleeve from that pattern.

I used a non-standard fabric for the dress: a sequined, embroidered nylon net that I bought from Kashi at Metro Textiles in New York back in October. Because of the sheerness, I decided to underline the fabric with a stretch silk charmeuse, also from Kashi. You can read about the design decisions I made about construction options in this post from December. I underlined the dress completely, and lined the bodice with the stretch charmeuse as well. I finished the seams on the unlined portion of the dress by whipstitching the raw edges to the underlining fabric using a single strand of silk thread:
The right seam allowance is finished This gives a smooth finish inside, encasing the net as well as the charmeuse. An added benefit is that it adds no bulk to the seam.

The rest of the construction details can be found here, here, here, and here

To finish the dress off, I used a narrow overlock stitch on the charmeuse’s hem. I then did a 5/8″ narrow hem on the net underneath the fringe. This took a lot of time, and I hand basted and pressed the hem before sewing. I debated whether to cut the hem of the net at the hem of the charmeuse, but there are sequins embroidered under the fringe, and like the idea of showing a little twinkle when I walk.It took a lot of patience to keep the fringe out of the way of the hem. But I got zen about the whole experience and kept saying, “You’ll look fabulous, you’ll look fabulous” and eventually the hem was done.

The dress will have its debut at a dinner in New York later this month, after which I’ll hopefully post a picture of me in the dress. Until then, here’s a peek:

Thank you, and good night!

Happy sewing!



  1. Ann, congratulations on the “Laura Bennet” dress. The dress looks gorgeous and the labour of love you put in it shows your sewing skills and patience to work with this fragile beautiful fabric. I am looking forward to see a picture of you wearing The dress.

    Comment by els1 — January 5, 2007 @ 7:39 pm

  2. I think Laura will be both envious and flattered. It’s fantastic. Love the effect of that @#$% hem!

    Sit down and shut up, Nina. There’s not one damned constructive criticism you can offer here.

    Comment by Karla — January 5, 2007 @ 7:41 pm

  3. you’ll look fabulous

    Comment by sue v — January 5, 2007 @ 7:45 pm

  4. tres chic … Laura would be proud (as would Tim Gunn!) You really made this work, diva!

    Comment by Lorna — January 5, 2007 @ 7:54 pm

  5. Ann, that dress is simply — Stunning!

    Comment by Erica B. — January 5, 2007 @ 8:37 pm

  6. It’s a thing of beauty!

    Comment by phyllisc — January 5, 2007 @ 9:25 pm

  7. Gorgeous! Beautiful work!

    Comment by Mermie — January 6, 2007 @ 12:46 am

  8. Ann, marvelous job and great use for this stunning fabric. Looking forward seeing you in it!

    Comment by Karina — January 6, 2007 @ 2:55 am

  9. You’ve produced a very special dress, Ann. Wear it in good health!

    Comment by Mary Beth — January 6, 2007 @ 4:02 am

  10. Bravo!!!! Great dress, loved the journey!

    Comment by Linda L — January 6, 2007 @ 7:24 am

  11. Ann, I don’t know who Laura Bennet is but her dresses can’t be more spectacular than is. It is so gorgeous and I’m so in awe… Too bad, that you live so far away or I could take one of your classes!!!

    Comment by tini — January 6, 2007 @ 9:06 am

  12. Ann,
    This is truly a stunning creation. Your end result is a labor of love and it shows! I have learned alot just reading about the process you went through and you can be proud when you wear it. Absolutely stunning!

    Comment by Cindy — January 6, 2007 @ 9:54 am

  13. What a beautiful dress. You must be so proud. Thanks for sharing the process.

    Comment by Kelly — January 6, 2007 @ 10:45 am

  14. I really have enjoyed your construction saga. Seeing anothers sewer’s process can be illuminating and helpful Thankyou for taking the time to share. It is a beautiful dress.

    Comment by Nancy — January 6, 2007 @ 11:36 am

  15. Very inspiring! Your dress is stunning. Looks very couture-I’m really impressed.

    Comment by Wendy — January 6, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  16. Ok, I am officially humbled by your skills, Ann. A truly worthy endeavor. Let’s see you in it! Also, thanks to you, Kashi is my new best friend. We now consider him a friend of the family.

    LB would be proud!


    Comment by Sandra — January 6, 2007 @ 4:07 pm

  17. Ann,

    I like the dress. But, I really want to see it on you to get a proper assessment.

    Comment by J C Sprowls — January 6, 2007 @ 7:29 pm

  18. Ausgezeichnet! and brava!

    Comment by Lee K — January 7, 2007 @ 9:17 am

  19. Danke Lee! I had to look that one up. And thanks to all for the nice comments. I can’t wait to wear it.

    Comment by gorgeousthings — January 7, 2007 @ 9:25 am

  20. What a magnificent dress you have created! Thank you for taking the time to share the process.

    Comment by maiaj — January 8, 2007 @ 10:12 am

  21. I like your’s even more than Laura’!!!! Superb job!

    Comment by Annette — January 8, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

  22. Your dress is amazing! I love it, you will be fab!
    I enjoy your blog and pattern reviews.

    Comment by Rita Jackson — January 9, 2007 @ 6:33 pm

  23. No wonder Laura Bennett liked it when she saw it. Classy. Light. Ethereal. Beautiful. Can’t wait to see you in it.

    Comment by ms. place — January 13, 2007 @ 11:32 am

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