I used McCall’s 3436. My criteria for making this dress were– modesty (it is so hard to find dresses with sleeves and enough cleavage coverage), simplicity, and something I could put a big flower around the waist. The advantage of this pattern was that it was in 2 pieces so that I could make the top a smaller size than the bottom. That meant I had to buy 2 copies of the pattern since it came in sizes 6-7-8 and 12-14-16. I think I said in the last post that I’m lucky I made the top in muslin (twice) first because the measurements on the pattern said I needed a size 12 top which was way too big. Then I went back and bought the smaller patten and tried a 10, which was just right. After looking at the finished measurements chart on the pattern they included something like 4 inches of ease around the bust and waist. Who wants 4 extra inches? Totally weird to me. I also added about 2 1/2 inches to the bottom of the top to make the length of it a little more modern. The skirt worked fine in a size 16 (Seriously? I’ve gained a lot of weight since I stopped nursing.), but I had to shorten it by nearly a foot.
I used pretty buttons down the back and made a flower for my hair.
The entire dress is lined in a navy china silk. I serged rolled edge hems along both sides of a strip of it, then made a line of gathering stitches down the center, to make a ribbon for my waist. I used scraps of both fabrics and the peony pattern from Martha Stewart weddings to make my flowers. I used the smallest template for my big flower and then copied it at 75% to make my smaller one. To make sure that the petals didn’t unravel I put fray check around the edge of each flower I cut out. That was time consuming and stinky! It stiffened the silk up a bit and made the petals hold their shaped well, though.
It was so comfortable! I didn’t have to worry about things shifting the wrong way and showing all my under clothes, and china silk against my skin was truly luxurious. I don’t think I’ll ever buy a polyester dress from David’s Bridal again.
Now, I know you all want to see pictures of Barry in his mess dress, right?
Sorry I didn’t notice I needed to straighten his tie.
Now, I wasn’t the only one who did some sewing. Behold the party shirt–
When all the formalities are over and the dancing gets going the guys take those hot jackets off. And, if you’re a cool Air Force guy you have a party shirt. So, Barry ordered some spacey fabric (that has glow in the dark stars) and borrowed my seam ripper, then used the old pieces as a pattern.
He needed a little coaching, but he did all the sewing himself. Pretty awesome, huh?
It was a pretty inspirational evening and I left feeling really proud of my husband. What he does is pretty crucial to the well being of our country, those soldiers on the ground, and the whole world.