Sewing Inspiration from McCall's 8138
Sometimes a simple black dress is just enough. But when you add a center-front, exposed zipper, the level of cuteness goes straight through the roof. I’m screaming and dancing over this Fit & Flare Knit Dress and today I’ve got some sewing inspiration from McCall’s 8138, just for you. Keep reading.
When I first saw this pattern, I was immediately drawn to the style first, because I LOVE fit & flare dresses. But when I laid eyes on the center-front, exposed zipper on the model in View C, I gasped. The zipper, alone, is cute enough, but it was the silver ring zipper pull that did it for me. I knew that I needed to have the ring on my zipper too if I was going to make the dress. Sometimes it’s the simple details that make the greatest impact. Now you tell me. Would that zipper be as appealing on this dress without the ring?
McCall's 8138 | The Pattern
McCall’s 8138 is from the “Learn to Sew for Fun” collection. It came out in 2020 and the pattern envelope indicates that it’s a Level 2. I would classify Level 1 as appropriate for new beginners and Level 2 for beginners who already have some experience sewing simple patterns.
Learn to Sew an Exposed Zipper
Each “Learn to Sew for Fun” pattern highlights different techniques that the beginner will learn while sewing the pattern. When sewing McCall’s 8138, you will learn how to insert an exposed zipper. View A has the zipper at center-back, while Views B and C have the zipper at center-front. I agree with the rating on this pattern because I think some new beginners may struggle with the zipper insertion. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow, but I would recommend practicing on a scrap piece of fabric if this is your first exposed zipper install.
Fabric & Notions
I used this Black, Rayon, Rib Knit (medium weight) and it was perfect for the dress. It has a lovely drape and is thick enough for cooler weather. I wanted the ribs to run vertically instead of horizontally. Therefore, I cut my dress on the lengthwise grain instead of the suggested crosswise grain. The interesting thing about this fabric is that it had the amount of stretch I needed lengthwise, but not crosswise.
The pattern suggests two-way stretch knits (50% cross grain). So, it worked out perfectly for how I wanted to cut the dress. I purchased the fabric from my local JoAnn Fabrics, but I don’t see it listed on the website.
The pattern calls for a 9″ zipper but it wasn’t long enough to reach the top of the collar. So I purchased a longer zipper and shortened it to the length I needed. I purchased my zipper at the local JoAnn Fabrics but I don’t see the longer length on their website. Take a look at Wawak for your zippers and other sewing supplies.
I used a size 12 Jersey Needle, All Purpose Polyester Thread, and Knit Fusible Interfacing to sew my dress.
Styling the Dress
I plan to wear this dress a LOT because it’s so cute and comfortable. There are many styling options that can elevate the entire look. I styled it for two different looks to share with you here. But I have a YouTube Pattern Review Video coming soon with more sewing inspiration from McCall’s 8138.
Styling Option #1
For the first look, I added a long chain (doubled) around my neck, large hoop earrings, scarf around the neck, a bling clutch purse, and high heel sandals. Did you check the zippers at center-front on the shoes? Now you know I screamed when I pulled these shoes to pair with the pattern and fabric (before I made the dress). Hahaha! And YES I did a little song and dance in my closet when I tried it all on after making the dress. I make up songs all the time when I get happy about my outfits. Hahaha! I finished it off with red lipstick to match my red nail polish. I think it’s a pretty classy look that can be worn to work, church, dinner, speaking on stage, and business meetings.
Styling Option #2
Next, I styled it with a pair of black boots, the same long chain from Option #1, stud earrings, a small clutch purse, and a scarf tied over my hair. I really love scarves and own a lot of them. I think they add a touch of class to any outfit. Wearing a scarf on the head with a pair of sunglasses gives me all the Audrey Hepburn vibes. I would wear the scarf this way and add a warm coat. After arriving at my destination, I would tie the scarf around my neck. Or, if I’m carrying a purse with handles, I could tie the scarf onto one handle.
How would you style the dress?
If you’ve been hanging with me for a while, you already know I like to rock big hats. So why don’t you see one with this dress? I saved it for the fashion show at the end of the Pattern Review Video. I styled it with two big hats! Hahaha!
What others are saying
I asked the ladies on my Facebook and Instagram how they would style the dress. I got some great feedback, and here are a few from Instagram.
- White parka vest, white boots, silver hoop earrings, royal blue purse (LaTisha)
- White boots, earrings, fuzzy pink jacket (Lara)
- Red jacket, red clutch, hat (loving_the_bag)
- Stretch belt with a nickel-silver chain (Vanessa)
- Boots, black hat, single strand of pearls (SY)
- Motorcycle jacket, suede boots, big earrings with bling (sequimbeccj)
- Boots and pearls (April)
- Boots and hat (Marilyn & Rhona)
- Fur vest (gardengoddess52)
My favorite is the first option but I don’t own a white parka or white boots. I’ve never even considered adding white boots to my wardrobe. But if I find the right pair, I’m definitely buying them and making a white parka.
Now it's your turn
Now it’s your turn. Leave a comment below and tell me how you would style the dress. Give me some ideas because, remember, I plan to wear the dress a lot. And if you’re not a member of my Private Email Community, make sure you get signed up so you will be notified when I post new content, special updates, and opportunities that are exclusive to my email members.
More Inspiration for Beginners
Also, if you enjoyed this sewing inspiration from McCall’s 8138, I have another post featuring a pattern from the McCall’s “Learn to Sew for Fun” line. Check out McCall’s 7531.
Thanks for stopping by,
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(DISCLAIMER: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission on qualifying purchases. All opinions in this post are my own.)