Sunday, January 30, 2022

The Purple Paisley Suspender Skirt and Green Blouse (McCall's 7184)

 When I discovered the City Sewing Room, where they sew donated fabrics for $1 a pound, last fall, my fabric stash began to grow. The sewing room was very conveniently located on my way home from work for a few months, until I changed jobs. While very fun and a great place to find beautiful stash additions, this wasn't necessarily a good thing. I have a huge fabric stash and very little space at the moment. My fabric stash does not need to grow. 

Now, with the exception of wools, silks, and laces, I've actually been pretty decent at using up the majority of these new acquisitions before they sit in my stash for too long. Not perfect, but pretty decent. 

One of my fabric acquisitions was a 6 yard cut of purple paisley cotton. I have a soft spot for paisley. And purple. Another was a 3 yard cut of green and white pinstripe shirting. I did not pick up these two fabrics with the intention of using them together. In fact, I originally snagged the shirting with the intention of using it for my sister's 1890's shirt waist, until I decided I wanted something of a darker green with more pronounced stripes for that project.

I went through my pattern stash to pick a pattern for the purple paisley. With 6 yards my options were wide open! McCall's 7184, a 1950's reprint skirt and blouse pattern, caught my eye. The purple paisley and the green pinstripe were stacked together and I quickly realized the two fabrics would pair nicely for this ensemble.  According to the back of the envelope the full circle skirt with suspenders required over 5 yards of fabric and the blouse required just under 3. Good thing I had plenty of material to work with! 

After cutting both pieces out I discovered those fabric estimates were wildly generous. I used less than 4 yards of material for the skirt and right around 2 yards for the bodice. I guess I can't complain as it's better to have extra fabric than not enough, but it is rather annoying that the pattern would have you buy so much more fabric than you actually need. If you were to buy fabric specifically for this project you would probably spend at least an average of $10 per yard for fabric and that's an extra $30 that you could have saved for another project! This doesn't really apply to me since I used cuts of fabric I picked up second hand for this project, but still!

Anyway, other than the questionable fabric requirements, I quite like this pattern!

The blouse is really great! It's cute, doesn't take too much fabric, fits nicely, and goes together quickly and easily. Nothing to complain about here!

I've already made myself a second version of the blouse and can see myself reaching for this pattern time and time again.

I have way more woven fabrics in my stash than knits so I'm always on the lookout for good woven top patterns and this one fits the bill!

As for the skirt, I love this finished garment! It's so much fun to wear!

I added patch pockets to the front side panels, because I can't not have pockets!

The 7-gored circle skirt allows for an economical use of fabric, gives a fantastic shape and allows for plenty of personalization if one so chooses.

However, I feel like it's a little on the short side for the 1950's. A couple extra inches in length would not go amiss.

The other issue I have with the skirt is about the sizing. Most McCall's women's pattern are available in 8 different sizes with 2" difference between each size. This pattern combines sizes to include 4 different sizes with 4" between each size. This works fine for the blouse pattern which has a rather relaxed fit, but doesn't work as well with the skirt pattern, which has a fitted waist.

  If you fall in the bottom half of the measurements for your size, be prepared to take the waist in. I tried my skirt on prior to attaching the waistband facing and wound up taking an inch out of each side seam and adjusting the facing accordingly. This really isn't a big deal, just make sure to do a fitting before finishing the skirt if you decide to make this pattern.

I've really enjoyed wearing this outfit since I finished it! It's different from anything else in my closet, which is fun.

Since I still have a couple yards of the purple paisley left I'm considering using it to make a matching blouse to wear with the skirt for a two-piece dress look. Thoughts?

I think a full "dress" out of this fabric would be fun! 


  1. I like the idea of a matching blouse with the purple paisley. Shorter above-elbow sleeves would make the blouse cooler for summer. When worn together, the blouse and skirt will look like a one piece dress, so will give you some options for wearing. I noted that this pattern also includes a little girl's outfit just like the adult skirt and blouse, for those who want a Mommy/little girl combination.

  2. I agree a matching blouse would make a great look.
    I really enjoy reading about your creations.