Hot! The “Mary K. Bar Mitzvah” Dress

Pattern: McCall’s M6320

Year: 2011

Fabric: 2yds printed poly $4, 2yds some sort of black stiff fabric for lining $4 plus 1 invisible zipper

Total Cost: $11

Time to Make: Days and days and hours and hours

First worn: March 3 to a Bar Mitzvah

Wear again?: Maybe with a jacket

When I say Mary K. I’m talking about Mary Katrantzou. You can read a review of her Fall 2012 collection as well as view images of her other collections here. Her use of prints and fabrics is amazing. I have tried several times to express how her work makes me feel and keep deleting what I write. All I can say is that it makes me feel emotional. Like the work of the late Alexander McQueen and the lesser known Alexandre Plokhov. Clothing is art to me-I don’t just make clothes or wear them. I use them to tell the world who I am and how I’m feeling. Sewing for me is a visual representation of what it means to trade our ashes in for beauty.

For this dress I used these 2 dresses as inspiration-


I could not find fabric that came anywhere near what you see in the pictures. I like the print I chose but would have gone with something that felt lighter if I could have. I used the pieces from the pattern but made some changes. On the bodice I added a few inches to the width of the shoulder and added a band along the front and back-kind of like a turned up collar. I also self drafted the sleeve. I think the puff sleeve included in the pattern would have been too much because of the fullness at the bottom. For the bottom of the dress I added several inches to the width of the front and back pieces. I made the back one piece instead of two. I’m not a huge fan of gathering so I made pleats instead.

To create the bubble effect I added a lining to the bottom half of the dress that was several inches shorter than the front piece. I did not add any width to these pieces. I then took tulle and folded it so that I had four layers and gathered it into a skirt and sewed it to the front of the lining at the waist. Because the width at the hemline of the dress was more than that of the lining I gathered the bottom of the skirt before pinning it to the hemline of the lining from the inside. I should add that the dress and lining were fully constructed (minus the sleeve and collar) before I attached them at the hem. Once sewn I pulled the dress over the tulle and attached it to the lining at the waist. You probably didn’t need to know all that but it is a sewing group right?

I will say that there are some construction issues. If I could do it all again (and I might) I would shorten the length of the bodice a bit and add a little more to the shoulder towards the arm scythe. I would use stiffer fabric so that it holds its shape better and drop the line a little on the sleeveless side. The zipper was a challenge with this fabric and because I didn’t want to lose the fullness on that side.

I felt very pretty in this dress but because of some of the fit issues I may never wear it again. I think that’s why  I may try to make another. Maybe for Easter.






Gina Clark is a girl from Texas living in the Midwest. She has been sewing most of her life but swears every few months that she is giving it up for good.


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  1. I think you look stunning in this dress. The fabric is very unique, I hope you wear it again.

  2. this is gorgeous. the picture caught my eye immediately and i love the fabric. i hope you do wear it again. so inspiring!

  3. …Clothing is art to me-I don’t just make clothes or wear them. I use them to tell the world who I am and how I’m feeling.<<<<< this is so true, beautifully written. Your dress is just brilliant and although you feel that you waffled on about the construction this is exactly what I wanted to read, I wanted to know how you got that bubble affect. It is brilliant and the fabric is divine, thank you for introducing Mary Katrantzou to me, I'm off to stare at all of those lovely dresses. Well done indeedy. Clever lady.

  4. That is stunning. I tried to make a bubble skirt – in the 80’s – man I am old. I really like the cut of your sleeve too – flawless.

  5. I agree, thank you for introducing me to Mary K! Your dress is unique and really very flattering on you. You have really retained the silhouette of the original dresses.

  6. This looks very pretty. Good Job! BER

  7. Thank you for introducing me to a new designer. Her work is stunning, and I feel a languid afternoon coming on… Your dress is beautiful, even if there are some “do-over” spots. You look lovely in it, well done.

  8. That bubble hem is genius…and your philsophy on clothing as worn art is spot on!

  9. What a unique artist you have used to inspire your creation! Your fabric choice and styling look fab! Well done!.