McCardell Update

by Erin on November 11, 2008

McCardell pattern

Remember this pattern? I did eventually make it up (see here). At the time I was really shaky about cutting into this pattern — it's a Claire McCardell, after all — but I eventually sucked it up and did it, and I was more-or-less happy with the results.

However, YOU don't have to worry, because EvaDress has added this pattern to their repro line, and multi-sized it, too! Click on the image to visit her site.

Also — it's Veteran's Day (or Remembrance Day, for some of you out there), and if you do anything today (especially if you have the day off), could you do something tangible for a veteran? My son and I are boxing up a ton of books and magazines to send to his teacher's nephew, who is in the hospital in Maryland, recuperating from injuries he got in Afghanistan. I'm sure you know someone (or know someone who knows someone) who is in a similar position. Or you can check out this Metafilter post about other easy ways to send books to soldiers. If you are really motivated, you could also make a small donation to the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans. (I try to earmark mine for their women veterans program.)

And after you've done that, you can enjoy the Veteran's Day sales with a clear conscience. Like the one Sandritocat is having (free shipping to the USA and half off international shipping, plus the 10% DressADay discount you always get in her store).

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

-- November 11, 2008 at 7:47 am

very cool pattern. I really love reading your blog. I’m an avid scrapbooker and have been participating in CardsForHeroes for a few months now. It is good to remember the active military and veterans


the_lazymilliner November 11, 2008 at 7:55 am

I’m a Veteran’s Day baby…so I’m all for celebrating it in style of course….That’s exciting news about the Claire McCarcdell repro pattern!


Jennifer November 11, 2008 at 8:38 am

If any of you knit or crochet, the National WWII Museum (USA) collects scarves to send to veterans. I’m not really into charity knitting, but this is one I really like. The website is here. While I’m out today, I’ll pick up some sturdy yarn for a new scarf.


Professor Sheri Wills November 11, 2008 at 8:57 am

Oh, Erin! I love that dress, and remember when you sewed it up. So, this is really exciting for me!I’m sure it goes without saying, I’ve just returned from purchasing it over at EvaDress, and can’t wait to start working on it. Thanks so much for your awesome blog!


tea November 11, 2008 at 9:56 am

My grandma knits slippers and hats for veterans. She’s really sweet. Meanwhile, Eva dress… Weird! I’m in the midst of sewing a dress very much like this one right now, though without the dip bow in the back. Its from a blouse pattern of that era (which doesnt have the sleeves, so Im adding those) and then Im adding skirt of my own making, too. What fun!


Alison November 11, 2008 at 10:55 am

Good call on the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans!I always wonder if it’s weird to tell someone that you’ve made a donation in their name. I want that person to know that I’m thinking about them, but at the same time I don’t want to be all ‘Look what I did!’


lauren November 11, 2008 at 11:56 am

Yeah, thanks for the NCHV link. I was just wondering if something like that existed, and hadn’t yet started searching.


Cookie November 11, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Nice pattern! I will have to explore Eva’s site.RE: Veterans Day Contributions: For my part, I am offering to marry any war vet, here in town, who will buy me a serger. Offer will not last; today only.Will let you know how it goes.


ktbb November 11, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Rick rack! I know this doesn’t relate to the current post, but I remembered how you like rick rack, and when I saw this dress in the window of French Connection UK today, I thought you’d like it (if you haven’t alreday seen it)!


ktbb November 11, 2008 at 12:54 pm

Oops — the last part of the link didn’t print. It’s their ‘Racy Dress’, and the URL after the /womens+Dresses part is/71Y8J/Racy+Dress.htm


Danika Paige Myers November 11, 2008 at 1:24 pm

photo of your dress, Erin?


Erin November 11, 2008 at 1:36 pm

You can see it at the second link, above …


ISS Man 71 November 11, 2008 at 2:37 pm

Erin, Nice post. Another thing you can do for a vet is put a reminder in your Outlook calendar today for May 11th 2009 to do a good deed for a veteran. Your local American Legion hall probably knows of a few shut-ins at local nursing homes, or their own homes, that might like a visit. (now or in May) Also, remember that there are probably some other vets in your family in their 30s or 40s that either don’t talk about it much or didn’t go to war. Be sure to remember them, not just the vets in dire straights. Now, if you are married to a vet, be sure to make a special dress from a vintage pattern to wear today. Oh, and remind my wife to do that last bit, would you? That would make this vet very happy!Semper Fi,Terry


Cookie November 11, 2008 at 4:11 pm

3:10 and no takers.Damnit.


Miss Kitty November 11, 2008 at 4:54 pm

Happy Vets’ Day, everyone, and thanks to all the veterans out there.Thanks for this wonderful post, Erin–combining dresses and good causes. Can’t beat that!


Miss Amelina November 11, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Here is a great link to a site where a college gal did/is doing a study of the dress her Grammy made from this pattern:


Theresa November 12, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Cookie,I’m a vet..I’d buy you a serger…but I’m the wrong gender (and already married to another vet who bought me a Viking.)


fourkid November 12, 2008 at 4:02 pm

This is an organization that I sew,Pattiblogging at:


Shay November 12, 2008 at 7:39 pm

“Now, if you are married to a vet, be sure to make a special dress from a vintage pattern to wear today.”I’ll pass that along to my husband :-) but I’m not sure he knows how to thread my Bernina.


San Antonio Sue November 13, 2008 at 8:34 am

I was not thrilled with the way the pattern “made up”. The lovely tie/wrap that criss-crosses under the bust (in the pattern cover) was scrunched and lost the line in the actual dress; the neckline of Erin’s dress is WAY higher than the pattern, and the bust darts that are so prominent in the pattern almost disappear in the dress. May be a poor choice of fabric. And the lack of matching in the front makes it damn ugly (tell us what you really, think, Sue). I quit sewing years ago because it seemed none of the actually sewn items resembled the pattern. Seems today the patterns are much better (I took it up again), or maybe I’ve developed a better eye. It always p*sses me off when a beautiful lapel or drape in a pattern doesn’t seem to actually accommodate the drawn versions. Erin, I apologize if I hurt your feelings, but this one doesn’t make it!


The Momma Chronicles November 14, 2008 at 10:56 am

I can’t help but think that the word “easy” should be inside a thought bubble by Lady in Red with Gleaming White Un-Sullyable Gloves. Lady in Grey doesn’t seem to mind the accusation.


La BellaDonna November 14, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Shay, but how wonderful if he does make it for you! (I used to sew for my vets (male and female), he can certainly sew for his!) Of course, you may want him to get his own machines and not play around with yours …


Professor Sheri Wills November 16, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Hey, Erin…did you know “What Shall I Wear” is being re-issued next year?, I liked the old cover better, but for $17, who’s complaining?!


EvaDress December 10, 2008 at 7:51 am

First, it has been with great difficulty that I have found time to finally comment on this post.A real travesty indeed-silk charmeuse sprayed with sizing for this Claire McCardell dress? Not only does it give me the willies, I bet the fine designer of the pattern is rolling over in her grave.I have had the gut-wrenching experience time and again seeing sewing projects online over the last couple of years borne from people sewing something just to sew something rather than do it in a respectable if not correct manner. Yours here is obviously such a project. I understand wanting to sew from ones stash of fabric, but first to mutilate charmeuse with spray sizing and then to do so in order to shoehorn it into a Claire McCardell dress pattern for which limp, draping fabrics were never meant, whats the point? What happened to taste?Do you go anyplace wearing this dress? Is it useable as a garment? Never mind the fact that the print was not matched along the centerline of the front as San Antonio Sue pointed out on Nov.13-it is simply awful.


Erin December 10, 2008 at 8:05 am

Xan, thanks for your comments. The silk was not permanently stiffened — I used Sullivan’s fabric stabilizer spray to make it easier to cut and sew the slippery fabric. It was washed out before wearing.And I did wear the dress, to a wedding. It was chilly in the hall so I wore a little cardigan over it, and that hid the front. I got quite a few compliments on the dress, from people whose standards are not as high as yours, I guess!When I make this dress again, I’ll try a stiffer fabric, but I enjoyed experimenting with a soft fabric, and liked wearing the dress. To each her own …


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