Sewing Project: The Cat Lady Dress (McCall's 6955) | Mint Green Sewing Machine: Sewing Project: The Cat Lady Dress (McCall's 6955)

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sewing Project: The Cat Lady Dress (McCall's 6955)

This dress is my submission for the Cat Lady Sewing Challenge, hosted by my friend Erin of Miss Crayola Creepy. This particular projects is even more special because I used my very first self-designed fabric! I thought it would be fun to make my own custom fabric for this project and utilize some of my newly-acquired Adobe Illustrator skills. I wanted to create a vintage-inspired design reminiscent of 1950's handkerchiefs. It took me about a week to draw out the design on paper, trace it in Illustrator, and create a printable design. Once I got it to my liking, I ordered some fabric swatches from Spoonflower. If anyone would like, I can post a more detailed description of how I created the design and the fabric printing process.

I chose this pattern, McCall's 6955 for this dress, because I wanted a fairly simple design that wouldn't detract from the fabric. I'm happy with that choice, because this is a very straightforward pattern to sew and I think the shape is flattering on everyone. I did have to do a full bust adjustment on the bodice (another "first" for me) because the initial muslin was super tight around my chest. It took me a couple of tries, but now it fits very nicely. I added darts on the sides in the process and that really helped the fit.

Here's a better view of the fabric:

The pattern doesn't include pockets, but I decided to add them because pockets are awesome (especially on dresses). I used the pocket piece from the Sewaholic Cambie pattern, but I think I placed them a little bit too low. Oh well, they still work!

I have a bit of a thing for bows, so I tend to add them to everything. I wasn't sure if it really needs the bow in this case, so I made this one removable. What's your opinion- bow or no bow?

Naturally, I included Ruby and Bosley in the fabric design. Can you see the resemblance?
I also added some black piping to the waistband just to give it a little more detail. I originally wanted to add piping to the neckline and arm holes, but since the dress gets sewn together at the shoulders seemed like piping would get really bulky and hard to sew nicely.

In fact, the piping did create a problem for me at the waistband. When I first sewed the invisible zipper in it was really, really hard to zip up where that section came together. Even after I finally got the zipper up it promptly came apart the first time I tried it on and I had to unpick all of the sitches and re-sew it. The second time, I sewed a bit farther away from the teeth on the section where the piping came together. The result is that the zipper shows quite a bit, but the dress is much easier to zip up, so I'm ok with it. Anyone have a better solution to this problem?

Pattern: McCall's 6955
Fabric: main: Spoonflower cotton sateen
lining: ivory cotton sateen
 Size: 16 (with full bust adjustment)
 Alterations: Added pockets, lengthened hem by 4 inches (version A), lowered back bodice
Trims: Piping and Petersham ribbon bow
Skill Level: Beginner to Intermediate
Thanks for stopping by! I can't wait to see everyone else's Cat Lady projects!


  1. This dress and the fabric are so adorable! The dress looks good both with and without the bow.

  2. This dress is so unbelievably cute! And I love that you portrayed your actual cats, such an great idea (=^・ェ・^=)

  3. Could you cut the piping cord before you got to the zipper? Ie, maybe a cm or so before the seam line for the zipper cut away the cord within the piper so that its flat piping? I don't know how easy that would be to do now that you've sewn it up, but that would be suggestion.

    Your dress is amazingly cute, just fyi :-P

  4. Wow, that is gorgeous! I need some cat lady fabric in my life. And keep the bow, it adds to the whimsy :)

  5. such a cute dress, and talk about me-made! about the piping-meet-zipper issue, i would aslo suggest cutting off the piping cord a half inch or so before the seam. i have never tried it, so don't take my word for it! but zippers do not deal nicely with bulk.

  6. piping plus invisible zip as a tough combination. i have also cut out the piping cord before it gets to the seam allowance so the piping lays does tend to make the piping look different at the zip edge though, so probably not much better than your workaround!

  7. Oh my goodness- matching kitties is making my head explode with cute!

  8. Incredible frock....I love the style and the print is just fabulous. I like it with the bow. Xx

  9. Keep the bow! Not only because some of the kitties on your fabric wear similar bows, but also because it looks a bit like a cat's whiskers, so it totally pulls the whole dress together!

  10. I love the dress. It complements your (adorable) fabric perfectly.

  11. that print is really lovely - I can't believe a real person designed it, congrats (obviously I'm in denial about how all the fabric I buy is designed). And it works really well with that dress shape. I reckon with boy, but maybe place it slightly rakishly to one side? And pockets are a must, definitely.

  12. It's absolutly adorable!! I love your own cats on the fabric, please make a message about how you make this beautifull design!! You look perfect in this dress!

  13. Ok, I was in awe when I saw the fabric originally, but I didn't realize your cats were on it too!!!! I LOVE that you incorporated them!!!!! You seriously need to start designing more fabric, I want to buy one of your designs!!

    And I vote yes for the bow :)

  14. Melissa this turned out SO CUTE!!!! I love the fabric, you did such a fantastic job designing it. I love how you modeled it after your own two kitties! So cute so cute so cute!

  15. To help with the zipper/pipping issue. You can taper off the pipping before the seam so that at the seam it's already not in the seam. You can also remove cording for about an inch on either side of the zipper so that it's flat in the seam. Hope that helps. Cute dress. Love the kitties.