Join me in my adventures as I write romance novels and sew vintage and contemporary fashion.

Friday, September 5, 2014

McCalls 4444--Lobster Dress!

I made a lobster dress this summer.

It started when I bought McCalls 4444 on eBay this spring and asked my daughter to pick out fabric. Nothing appealed and I was starting to think we were going home empty handed, when my daughter told me she'd found a cute lobster print. Cute and lobster are two words that do not generally juxtapose.  I envisioned a lot of red claws and protuberant antennae on a bright background, but instead she showed me this rather tasteful navy blue print. There's nothing like a whimsical arthropod motif for a summer dress. We purchased two yards.

I washed and dried the fabric, laid in out and soon realized that I had a problem--the grain was off just enough that the lobsters wouldn't match if I folded the fabric to cut the pattern. In my world, we match our lobsters, so I laid the fabric out as a single layer and cut the pieces one at a time, matching each side so that the lobsters ran true.
Carefully matched lobsters
After that, I assumed the dress would be a slam dunk, but no. I had pinched out an inch of the bodice and contrast bands when I fit the muslin, so that the bodice didn't gap--and cleverly forgot to add an inch at the back.

My daughter tried the dress on and there was a big problem with the back--as in a two-inch gap between the buttons and the button holes.

I took no photos because I was desperately trying to determine just how I was going to fix it. Take the bodice apart? Frankenstein something together? The back had been so cute before I fixed the front.

While I was considering ripping the contrast off the bodice and maybe crying a little, my daughter calmly suggested adding a ribbon.

Don't you just love a clear mind in a crisis situation?

I cut off the back strap an inch from the vertical strap, tucked the raw edges in, then poked the end of a wide ribbon in the opening. A little hand stitching and viola!

This is one of those dresses that needs a body in it to look good, but hey--look at that matched lobster print!

I love the ribbon! So glad I messed up the back.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Lobster Dress.


  1. Gotta love matched lobsters! Cute dress.

  2. Thank you! Glad someone else appreciates matched lobsters. :)