M4993 vs my Left Brain.

mccalls 4993


Left Brain: I told you so. You listened to me when you got halfway through that last vintage dress pattern muslin disaster that dastardly Right Brain conned us into sewing up. You should KNOW by now that vintage just isn’t our thing.

Melanie: But it had so much potential… all that beauty and glamour of the 1950s, just trying to shine through…

Right Brain: And it still does!! Look at that gorgeous fabric. All that floral eyelet, silk and fabulous topstitching just waiting for its moment to shine. Leftie over there is just being a Qi vampire again.

IMG_5141 IMG_5143


LB: Glamour? Beauty? Are you out of your mind? What about the oppression, the sexism, the rigid social class structure, the LIMITATIONS??? A determined, independent thing like yourself should know better. The only time it would ever be appropriate to wear this… collared dress thing… would be to a scout and girl guide ball. And you damn well know no such occasion exists.

RB: Sewing is like a box of chocolates, you know. You never quite know what you’re going to get.

LB: Yes. You do. It’s called sewing a muslin. 


RB: Whatever. Look, so maybe our concept didn’t quite work out this time. You’ve still got your Anniversaire Amour dress to wear to SewcieTea, and you certainly can’t claim I led you astray there. And if it’s chilly, you can pull on our GGQB blazer… remember that fabulous rush we felt when we first laid eyes on that gorgeous periwinkle woven silk? This failed creation can totally be salvaged into something else, those colours are wonderful on you and there’s still plenty of time.


LB: Actually, no, there isn’t. Remember that Assignment you have due next week? And the fact that you’ve been leaving home at 6:45 in the morning and only getting home at 9pm at night? You barely have enough energy to scroll through your Pinterest feed at the end of the day, not to mention trying to sew something new. Shall I throw in there just how far behind blog reading you are?

RB: Sorry, what were you saying? I tuned out. I was admiring that eyelet that Kat from All the Whimsical Things gave you. And speaking of Kat, how fabulous did that nautical themed quilt that you, Sarah, Rachel and Belle made for her baby-to-be turn out? That just goes to show that sometimes trying something out of your usual comfort zone can be a wonderful thing.

Melanie: Yeah, we totally rocked that quilt. And I do love that eyelet. It’s just devastating that all the time I spent carefully basting, underlining, pressing and sewing have resulted in something I just really don’t like. I think I secretly knew… but thought that if I got all the little details spot on, the dress would somehow work out.

RB: And it still can. Look at that AMAZING fabric covered belt. As if you aren’t going to turn this into someting that makes you feel good. More ‘modern’ and totally every-day wearable. 


Melanie: *Sigh*. Yeah, but not now. Time just ain’t on my side.

LB: I told you so.

The Stats:

00:30  Pattern Preparation (tracing)
03:10  Toile (cutting/sewing/fitting)
04:20  Fabric Preparation (cutting/interfacing etc)
11:00  Sewing
19:00  hours

Fabric Utilisation = 3.4m + 3.0m + 0.8m
Stash total now = 87.8m (Goal = 50m)



  1. That fabric is gorgeous. Has it failed? What went wrong? Can we see a complete pic – it looks beautiful from the pics you have shown.

  2. Oh my, your pattern envelope has me totally in love but then reading your brain conversation…oh no! The fabric is to pretty too, I hope this project can be saved? Crossing my fingers for you xx

  3. I'm in love with that fabric. Really hope you can make it work, and dying to see proper photos. Can Left Brain answer a question for me please – why do all the women on 50s pattern envelopes have such long necks?!

  4. We must all be right brainers because I want to see a complete pic too. p.s. that covered belt is awesome!p.p.s. about the 50's The thing that always struck me, watching my mother in wiggle dresses is that while they looked good they were hard to move in, often uncomfortable and required a corset!

  5. Oh dear, was it the full skirted one? If so, I am sure when you get time you can make it work. Looks good in those pictures. ok, just checked the meterage used and it must have been the full skirt one, so there is hope :)

  6. Gasp! It didn't work?? It looks so beautiful and perfectly sewn and that belt is to die for. What is that cute little tulle hemmy thing? All that work. I shall be lamenting this all day…

  7. Not really failed… I just put it on in the final stages and really, really didn't like the way it looked on me. The proportions weren't right. It's lovely on its own though!

  8. hehe. You know, when I first made up a muslin straight from the pattern, it was a perfect fit across my shoulders and bust. But my waist was about 5 inches too thick! Incredible proportions these women had. I desperately want to be able to wear that belt with something… so it will be saved!

  9. Thanks Bundana :) I don't think I could put it on again… not to mention getting in front of a camera with it! It would be too distressing after all the effort involved :(

  10. You and me both. The tulle hemmy thing is horse hair braid – its purpose it to shape your hem so so it can 'hold it's own', so to speak. Gertie did a fabulous post on it waaay back, and I've been wanting to try ever since!

  11. I bet you're hatching an awesome salvage plan. The fabrics are so beautiful! But I do feel ya on the not-quite-right style. I've done that to myself way too many times.

  12. Lady, you have too much talent to let this dress defeat you. That a-hole side of your brain needs a lobotomy. I bet it looks awesome. I for one would love to see it.

  13. Oh Melanie, snap! About the not having time to finish. I had earmarked this weekend for making my dress but 12-hour days at work have failed to stave off weekend work. I'm still hoping for Sunday but that may be foolish optimism. Yes, there was Easter, but … um… that was for finishing my last project, that had got mysteriously behind schedule. At least you have that gorgeous Anniversaire dress to wear. My plan B is kind of meh (but at least it's already hanging in the wardrobe.) KathleenS

  14. OHHH NOOO!!! A fail?? Really truly? Gosh it really is just so pretty, all those sweet, lovely, loving details. I hate it when left brain and right brain get into fights like that, especially when 'no-fun leftie' wins… she's such a gloater about it too…

  15. oh i HATE when that happens! the glimpses look gorgeous… though i totally understand. but just one teensy tiny peek before it gets ripped apart? just on a hangar? :)

  16. ROFLing here!!!! Oh my, you SO nailed the RB/LB conversations that I so often (suppress) have! Is it really truly that bad? The little peeks look so lovely….

  17. Hehe what a funny post to something a bit devastating. It looked so well made from the photos I hope it turns into another pretty outfit as the fabric was lovely! The quilt looks awesome!

  18. Oh my goodness, what gorgeous little teases! How awful you don't like the end result. I can't wait to see how you transform it into something you love!

  19. Mel, as always your attention to detail melts my brain! This is looking absolutely rad! I'm intrigued to see it in whole and how you wear said frock :DAnd worse comes to worst you could always wear it in an interpretive dance piece and smother it with paint to convey the decay of urban society… Or not ;)

  20. Indeed! It's a learning process, isn't it? Sometimes denial kicks in over logic and you don't quite get the full picture until it's too late. Ah well!

  21. Soooo nice to know it's not just me that goes through that!! :P It's not BAD… I just don't like it on me. Style and personality clash, you could say!

  22. I hope it can be salvaged, that eyelet is just beautiful! I struggle with loving vintage dresses in theory but feeling like I'm in a costume in real life, so I totally appreciate your scout and girl guide ball scenario :)

  23. Eagerly waiting for the new dress!! This fabric is "so beautiful" and all your hard work – and they are your colours!!!! Like the others – but no pressure – please save this dress!!

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