Surprising Things about McCalls 7743

This vintage dress pattern has some interesting things in the instructions!

For one, you make a bound buttonhole at the top of the back opening. Seems like a lot of work, doesn’t it? In all the years I wore the first version of this dress, I never once had to unbutton the button on the tab. This time, I’m going to make the bound buttonhole for looks but sew the button flat on top of both layers.

close-up of bound buttonhole

I didn’t notice this the first time, but the instructions suggest you line the skirt with sew-in interfacing! I’m guessing that it would create even more of an A-line silhouette, a bell-like structured skirt. Perhaps for a very thin fabric that would be a good idea!

interface the whole skirt?!

Either way, it’s quite unusual. Have you ever seen that before in a pattern, an interfaced skirt? It’s surprising because there’s no interfacing used anywhere else in the garment besides the belt.

interface a skirt

Speaking of the belt, how cute is this bow?

cute bow!

The made-up pattern piece worked great so I’m glad I’ve noted it down for next time. So cute! (Now you’ve seen the fabric choice too, I love it! Great minds think alike – Karen from Didyoumakethat just made a skirt in this exact same fabric!)

I didn’t remember this from the first time around, probably because I skipped it, but there’s a waist stay built into the dress. It’s done in a neat way and I think I’ll show it off in a separate post, because it looks like a good method to build stability into the waistline without too much work or bulk.

More to come! It’s nice to sew something just for fun, and finally make a second version of a dress I loved.

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24 Responses to Surprising Things about McCalls 7743

  1. Meg at Mood May 8, 2013 at 6:04 am #

    Um, typo?

    • Tasia May 8, 2013 at 10:55 am #

      I think I caught it! Thanks!

    • Heidi May 8, 2013 at 12:17 pm #

      Where’s the typo?

  2. PepperReed May 8, 2013 at 7:10 am #

    Yay for vintage patterns! Many of them have such unique features or sewing instructions. Can’t wait to see the finished product!

    • Tasia May 8, 2013 at 10:56 am #

      I completely agree, there’s always at least one surprise or new technique to learn. I love reading through the instructions whenever I get a new pattern!

  3. KristiEllKay May 8, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    That bow is the CUTEST! I can’t wait to see the finished dress, and the waist stay post!

  4. Kelly May 8, 2013 at 7:56 am #

    I thought that fabric looked familiar! I’m looking forward to seeing the finished dress.

  5. lisa g May 8, 2013 at 9:32 am #

    maybe the sew-in interfacing is what we would equivocate to underlining? can’t wait to see this version of the dress, i loved your first make of it!

    • Tasia May 8, 2013 at 11:02 am #

      Maybe, that was what I thought too, as it’s handled similarly to underlining! It gets tucked into the fold of the hem, instead of hemmed separately. Although the darts are made in each layer individually. There’s never any reasons *why* things are done in these instructions!

  6. Pamela @ Johnny Mango Seed May 8, 2013 at 10:08 am #

    You did nice work with that bound buttonhole. They can be tricky, especially with lightweight fabric.

    The interfaced skirt brings to mind using organza as an alternative to make it stiffer. I can hear the “swish” now!

    Looking forward to reading about the waistline, even those days are long gone for me!


    • Tasia May 8, 2013 at 11:03 am #

      Organza makes sense! I suppose if you think of what sew-in interfacing was like in the 60s, it may be different from what we buy today. That would really give it an A-line silhouette wouldn’t it?

  7. France Parijs May 8, 2013 at 10:29 am #

    Lovely bow and fabric! Looking forward to seeing the final dress.

  8. Michelle May 8, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    I think, over time, pattern companies have taken a more practical approach to home sewing. I shake my head at a lot of the instructions in my vintage patterns. There’s a lot of unnecessary work… or maybe I’m just lazy… probably the latter.

    • Tasia May 8, 2013 at 11:44 am #

      Possibly, either that or they are taking a more general approach to constructing a garment, sewing each garment the same way, whereas vintage patterns are thinking up different ways to sew the dress each time depending on the style.

      Or, we’re looking back at vintage patterns that span several decades, so it seems like the directions are always different but it is because we’re looking at a 1947 pattern and then a 1965 pattern, sewing techniques likely changed as time went by.

      Plus, no matter what pattern you’re sewing, you can adapt the techniques to suit your sewing style. Like to whip up a dress in a weekend? Stitch in the ditch, sew hems by machine, use fusible interfacing. Want to take your time and enjoy hand-work? Use sew-in interfacing, sew all hems by hand, slipstitch and catchstitch to secure facings and extra layers. The instructions are just a guideline!

  9. Elizabeth May 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm #

    I love the belt! And want to make one of my own. How did you make it???

    • Tasia May 8, 2013 at 2:22 pm #

      Hi Elizabeth! It’s part of the instructions of this pattern. The belt is made of fabric with a snap closure, the bow is made of fabric as well, but gathered in the middle to make the bow.

      Here’s a great tutorial on Tilly’s blog on how to make a similar bow belt!

      (You could follow her instructions but to get a bow that looks like this one, make the bow double, one slightly larger than the other.) Hope this helps!

      • Elizabeth May 8, 2013 at 2:45 pm #

        Thank you!

  10. Nay May 8, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    I find I discover new things about a pattern the second time I use it! The instructions are just a general guideline, right?!

    • Tasia May 9, 2013 at 11:31 am #

      Exactly! We’re free to interpret them however we want.

  11. Sewbusylizzy May 8, 2013 at 8:16 pm #

    I purchased a vintage lace dress last year that has sew-in interfacing. I blogged about it here:-
    I’d never seen anything like it however is does give the dress a lovely shape. Scared the dry-cleaner though – he was terrified it would disintegrate so we just opted to run a steamer over it.

    • Tasia May 9, 2013 at 11:32 am #

      That is a gorgeous dress!! Thanks for sharing the link. I can relate to not wanting to wash it for fear of ruining it!

  12. Lisette May 9, 2013 at 5:45 am #

    I want that fabric! Blue and pink is my trademark :) That’s really interesting about lining the skirt that way, I love it.

  13. maddie May 9, 2013 at 9:27 am #

    You totally deserve to sew something fun and this is right up your alley. Interesting about the sew in interfacing but I guess they had tricks up their sleeves way back when.

  14. Virginia May 13, 2013 at 4:45 pm #

    Can’t wait to see the finished dress!