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Sunday, September 4, 2016

McCalls 7242 Laura Ashley Peasant Dress

I came of age in the 70's, and the Peasant Dress style made popular by Laura Ashley and Gunne Sax are near and dear to my heart!  I knew that it would just be a matter of time until they came back, and recently McCalls patterns introduced a Laura Ashley design with 7242.  They say that you shouldn't wear a trend if you wore it the first time round, but I thought I'd give it a try, and see how I felt in one before abiding by that rule!

The pattern has several different views, and I originally thought that I would make the short dress, but when I actually tried it on, it was screaming for the ruffle, so I added it at the last minute.  I didn't have quite enough fabric to make the full width of the ruffle, so mine is about 8", instead of 12" wide as the pattern is designed.  I also serge finished the ruffle hem instead of narrow hemming to save time and keep the ruffle as long as possible.

I wanted to make it with a true 70's vibe which meant soft flowy fabric in earthy or muted colors.
Fabric Mart had a challis that was just perfect for it with a Muted Teal and Fiery Orange Rayon Challis.

I haven't worked with challis for a while, because it is one of those fabrics that has a mind of it's own.  You know the kind- you can cut it absolutely on the pattern lines, and then you turn around, and it's completely shape shifted into a different piece!  It is however, incredibly soft and has the most beautiful drape, so if you can be patient with it, you will be rewarded.

I actually had quite a time with this one because it ended up being way too big.  Then when I went to check the pattern pieces to see where I went wrong, I found out that the pieces had really grown quite a bit- for example the yoke piece was a full 1" wider than the pattern piece on each shoulder.  I had to take up the collar, shoulders, sleeves and the sides- I almost felt like I was resewing a second dress.   Lesson learned- when working with challis, make sure to check pieces against the pattern before you sew, as they might have relaxed and grown larger since you cut them.

I could tell that the dress was going to slip easily over my head, so I skipped the buttonholes, and just sewed the buttons through all layers.

I'm accenting it with cognac leather boots, belt and purse that I was quite lucky and found all of them at a consignment shop in town.  If I sew something myself, I don't feel guilty about finding the perfect accessories for it, especially when I can find them second hand!

Do you remember Peasant Dresses from their first incarnation?  And if yes, would you wear one today?

Happy Sewing!



  1. Nice dress, and it most definitely has the 70s vibe.
    I remember peasant dresses very well, but I don't think I'd wear one today. However, I really loved the peasant blouses more, and I might consider buying or making one of those to wear again.

  2. Perfect dress for the fall. You look extremely comfortable and cute at the same time.

  3. Great dress! I enjoyed this post, as I've been looking at this pattern for a while. Just not sure I would like the small the fabric - I saw it on FMart as well and was so tempted!

  4. Ann, this is so cute! I purchased this pattern recently and am glad to see it is not only adorable on, but also flattering! Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. This looks great on you! The dress is gorgeous and I love that fabric- perfect colors for fall.

  6. This dress looks amazing on you.

  7. I loved the Laura Ashley look, even when it didn't do me any favors:-) Your dress turned out beautifully and you have styled it perfectly. Great job.

  8. Beautiful dress a you look lovely in it.

  9. This is adorable! I have this pattern but not made it yet.

  10. Ann, you've nailed it again with this dress. I never thought I would go for this style, but seeing this dress on you, I want it. I'm not sure it'll work for me, but I may try it.

  11. You like amazing in this, you can definitely pull it off! Iv got to have this pattern for my collection, ur tempting me to try it.

  12. great dress! I may see it around town ....I recognize the sculptures behind you, 😀

  13. Hi Anne, I just found you via Coco's blog post on maintaining grey hair. Through it I am finding a clutch of glamorous grey haired ladies! I love a peasant dress and yes I also wore them the first time around. I;m feeling inspired by yours!


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