Summer Travel Dress (Reversible!)

Pattern:  McCall's #7591
Fabric: bamboo knit (maroon side) and modal knit (black side) from Harts Fabric
Cost: $75

Greetings from beautiful Amsterdam! After a short stop in Paris, we are now settled in for a month in the Dutch capital. So far we have worked on learning to ride bikes the Dutch way, taken long walks in the park, bought the wrong things at the supermarket, and snuck in some work. There has been a bit of a heatwave this week and the city has really come alive with children playing in the canals, picnics in the grass, and lots of ice cream eating and beer drinking. 

The warm weather has also made me grateful for my new dress, McCall's #7591, which I finished just days before we flew over. I don't buy new patterns often, but I wanted something new and fun for my trip and gave myself free reign to pick whatever I wanted. This pattern is proving to be a popular one, and I've already seen a few people sew it up.

The best part about this dress though, and what makes it super travel-friendly, is that I made it reversible! When all the fabrics I liked were too sheer, my friend suggested that I fully line the skirt and choose to two different fabrics so I could wear it on either side. Brilliant! Even though I am traveling with a limited wardrobe, this detail makes it feel like I have more choices. I chose a wine-colored bamboo jersey similar to the pattern cover, and a more versatile black modal knit, both from Harts Fabric store in my hometown of Santa Cruz (there I am pictured below in my mom's backyard). 

To make the dress reversible, I cut two sets of bodice pieces instead of a bodice and lining, and I cut a second set of skirt pieces. I also had to make sure to cut and sew the skirt pieces so they were mirror images of each other. After some trial and error with the construction, I found it worked best to fully construct the lined/double-sided bodice, and then sandwich it between the two skirts and sew the waist seam. I then sewed the skirts together at the hem, pulled the dress through to the right side through a small remaining hole, and hand stitched the last little bit. There was definitely some origami in there, but in all it has a nice clean finish. 

While I love the final result, the pattern did require some tweaking to make it look like the image on the envelope. The bodice straps were very long, even before adding the skirt pieces. My bra showed through the arm hole under my arm, and the neckline hung much lower than on the model. I ended up taking 1 1/2 inches off the front of the straps and 1 1/4 off the back straps, which brought it up to a much better length.  I think part of the issue may be that the dress is designed "for knits or wovens," which is an odd choice and could be causing some of these fit issues. 

I also took an inch off the length of the bodice at center front where it crosses over because it was hanging much lower than the rest of the bodice. Finally, I tacked the cross-over together at center front with a few stitches so that it wouldn't flap open and reveal my whole chest! I really love the drapey end result, but I'm not sure the pattern had the best design. 

For reference, this is is view C, which has more bra-friendly straps and is cropped just below the knee. I think I extended the slit a bit higher. It has been perfect for these hot days, and is super comfy, even for bike riding around the city. 

If anyone out there is reading from Amsterdam, we'll be here a few more weeks and I'd love to meet up for beer/coffee drinking or fabric shopping! Then we're off to Germany, Vienna, Prague and Copenhagen :)


  1. WOW!! That is so cool! Kudos to you for figuring out how to make it reversible... You can't even tell, from the pictures anyway, even though the colors are so different.

  2. love it - that is so pretty and what a great travel dress. you look very chic! happy travels.

  3. What a great idea to make it reversible (and to figure out how to do that!). It looks really good on you.
    I do live in the netherlands, but not in Amsterdam. I've been planning for ages to go to the fabric market in Utrecht on saturday, so maybe we could meet up to do so?

    1. Thanks Anne! Shoot me an email if you head up to Amsterdam!

  4. So smart! I just came home from two weeks in Amsterdam--have a fabulous time! I didn't wear half the things I packed...😝

  5. What a brilliant idea!! I can hardly tell it's reversible! Well done Meg! Glad you were able to tweak the pattern to your liking.


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