M8084 Livia McCalls – Pattern Review

Hey my Sewistas,

I’m back with another make… which unfortunately is NOT yet my baby. I’ve made it to Week 35 and am pretty fed up TBH. Since this baby is clearly already defying momma’s wishes, for now, pregnancy draggggggssssssss on and the wait continues.

In happier news, I was able to sew up a new make during July – M8084 Livia McCalls! This is a big deal y’all because:

  1. my sewing has been severely impacted over the last 35 weeks; and

  2. I was a little surprised that I could still bend over my cutting table and sit at my sewing machine!

FYI, Livia was part of McCalls Spring 2020 collection. I think I ordered it pretty soon after the release, but once it arrived neatly filed it away in my pattern stash, unopened, uncut and unused. I decided I wanted a new dress for my Maternity Shoot part 2, and this pattern sprung to mind. If my recollection served me well (which, with baby brain, I was almost afraid it wouldn’t), Livia had an elastic waistline, making it, in my view, a maternity-friendly pattern… or so I would hope.

I had two Telio viscose poplins in my fabric stash that I thought would pair nicely with this pattern. An IG poll returned an overwhelming vote for the fauna fabric over the black n white polka dot, so I went with the majority vote for this make.

As a side note, if you’ve been hanging around my Instagram you already know I have a ‘thing’ for color, so much so, that I am a Color Guru Ambassador. Of the seasons, I am a Twilight Winter, so this fabric, with its wine-red base and light pink and olive green overtones, fits quite nicely into my palette, despite the sprinkling of orange. If you’re interested in getting your colours done, be sure to use my code: Unsewcial to save 10% on any service!

So… about M8084. Livia McCalls is described as an ‘easy’ sew. Since it has no closures and an elastic waist (making it fairly easy to fit), I think I have to agree. The pattern comes in alpha-numeric sizing ranging from an XS to an XL, so not very size inclusive. M8084 has 3 views with sleeve, skirt and length variations. I opted to make the bodice of view A (with the flounce sleeves) and the skirt of view B (with the added ruffle).

I was a little indecisive when it came to choosing a size for this dress. I looked carefully at the finished garment measurements, and decided that given the style of this particular pattern, I’d trace an M in the bodice, but widen the tie bits over to the size L; and an M in the skirt blended to an XL at the hemline. The skirt as drafted looks quite rectangular, and I figured transitioning from the M to the XL would give an A-line shape, which I find more preferable on my body.

Truth be told, the medium waist was a little bit of a risk, given my rather large (and still expanding) midsection, but I crossed my fingers and prayed to the sewing Gods that it would fit. I was never really interested in buying or making maternity-specific clothing because I knew I’d wear them once, maybe twice, before banishing them to the back of my closet, never to be seen AGAIN!

Despite my reservations, would y’all believe that I still skipped doing a toile for this dress? Listen, its hard enough for me to find the motivation and energy to sew these days, so when I do, I need my projects to be as simple, quick and easy as possible. I traced out my pattern and made a few ‘standard-to-me’ fitting adjustments: shortened the bodice ¼” between the shoulder and bust, as well as a ½” between the bust and waist, did a ¼” sway back adjustment and got busy cutting out my fabric.

The construction of this dress was pretty simple. The instructions have you do bias binding at the back neckline, and a facing at the front bodice. I ditched the binding and opted to self-draft a back facing. I’m not fond of bias binding, and avoid it at all costs. Plus, the addition of a back facing made it that much easier to add two custom labels to my make. #memade at its best!

I chose view A’s ruffle/flounce sleeve. However, my fabric is one-sided and doesn’t look very pretty on the backside and I knew it would show on the sleeve. To remedy this, instead of cutting two sleeves, I cut four and lined the sleeves so that the underside of my flounce would be just as pretty as the upper side. Plus, I wasn’t about to do a narrow hem on that circular sleeve! Helllll nawwwww.

I joined the bodice to the skirt using a 1 ¼” seam allowance instead of the 1 ⅜” stipulated in the instructions. This gave me jus a tad more length in the bodice (having already shortened it ½” pre cutting). The dress is designed for a 1” elastic at the waist. Personally, I don’t like this width of elastic at my waist. IDK if its because I’m so short waisted or what but 1” elastic in dresses feels too bulky for me. I contemplated using a ½” elastic but settled on a ¾” elastic instead. In order to accommodate the narrower elastic, I made my casing smaller by trimming off the excess when I serged the bodice and skirt seams.

I already mentioned that I blended out to the XL for the skirt. Consequently, I also cut the XL ruffle piece but lengthened it to 10 ½”. On the pattern envelope, the skirt for view B is a good few inches above the knee. I am 5’ 8.5” and carry most of my height in my legs, so I figured the finished skirt would be a little too short, as is, especially with the front being hiked up by my baby bump. I subbed the deep hem for a ¼” double folded hem, which I thought would be pretty on this drapey fabric.

Once constructed, I was happy to see it fit my (then) 33 week belly with minimal pulling at the pockets. Perhaps this could have been avoided if I blended my bodice from an M to a L and used the large skirt pattern piece. That being said, I LOVE the finished fit of the bodice so I’m prepared to put up with a little tugging at the pockets until postpartum when I’m almost positive that the fit will be near perfect!

I wore my dress for a maternity photoshoot with hubby and mini-me. I didn’t have enough fabric left over to make either of them anything matchy matchy, but I did have enough to make myself a large scrunchie . If you’re interested in the scrunchie ‘how to’ you can find a tutorial on my IG Reels. Perfect use for fabric scraps I say!

Anyhoo, that’s a mouthful and I’m almost out of breath! lol. Just before I bid you farewell, be sure to head on over to my IG to join in on the game:

Guess my baby’s born day!!!

Obvs, I don’t yet know the answer but I thought this would be so much fun. Can’t wait to see who comes closest!

Gotta luv ya and leave ya…

Until next time,



P.S it was soooooo freaking hot and these pregnancy hormones ain’t no joke. Hubby was doing his best to keep me cool between snaps lol!

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