Sew Me Sunshine · Sewing

M7381 summer dress – spot the parrots

Sew… fresh-ish off the sewing machine is this super summery dress. After being picked as Star Maker by The Foldline in April for my Mila dungarees, whoop, I got to pick two McCalls patterns. My only attempt at a McCalls pattern has been a disaster and not finding the pattern styling very inspiring I was struggling to find anything I wanted to add to my wardrobe but then I remember Abi from The Crafty Pinup made the M7381 which I loved at first sight!

It is described as a loose fitting pullover dress. Features include shoulder pleats and a front snap closing. The front waist is raised with a pleated front skirt and elasticated back. I opted for version C which has short sleeves and a tie front. I definitely need to start looking at the line art on the big four patterns as you can not see any of these features from the styling on the front cover.

Images from

Prior to ordering the pattern I had a nose on Instagram #M7381 and read the reviews on The Foldline. There was quite a few mentions about the pattern coming up on the large size. This was the exact issue with my first attempt at a McCalls pattern, it was gigantic! It’s quite annoying that you can’t see the finished sizes on the pattern envelope, they are on the pattern pieces. I always like to check the finished measurements and will hold a tape measure around me to check with the fit will be like. McCalls patterns come in two size ranges and my measurement fall within the larger ones, however, I opted to go for the smaller sizes and I’m so glad I did this!

Not feeling very confident with how this was going to turn out I cut straight into the pattern, eek! I normally trace everything, except PDFs. I’m not a fan of patterns on tissue paper as they tear easily and always need ironing so I just wanted to get it cut out quickly, super lazy I know!

I still wanted a fair amount of ease to keep with the style of the dress so I went ahead and adjusted the pattern with my usual FBA. Because of the tie detail I cut the bottom section off of the pattern, adjusted the pattern, reattached the bottom section matching up to the centre seam and the extended the piece to the side seam. The bodice piece is now wider than the skirt piece so I divided the difference between four and added this between each pleat. Oh and don’t forget to lengthen the back bodice piece.

Pattern pieces ready I cut straight into my fabric, no time for a wearable toile. I used this amazing viscose linen (35% / 65%) from Sew Me Sunshine, it’s still in stock so go get some. It’s a lightweight fabric with an amazing drape. With a navy background the yellow, red and brown flower and leaf details really pop and can you spot the parrots?

The dress came together really easily, even though I’m used to hand holding indie instructions! As well as an FBA adjustment I altered the sleeves. I used Tilly’s hack from her latest book Stretch and made some lovely fluted sleeves. It’s such a simple and really effective hack that I would definitely recommend it on drapey (I wish this was an actual word) fabrics.

Love these sleeves.

The pattern is for a lined dress however I wanted a lightweight cool dress so I decided on using bias binding to finish neckline and sleeves. I only had premade bias binding which was stiff in comparison to the viscose linen and I was worried this would cause the fabric to hang awkwardly. I don’t know what came over me but I decided to make my own using the left over scraps. A quick google and Tilly’s tutorial popped up. I don’t have one of the gadget things but it was still super simple to make. You literally cut stripes of fabric on the bias and attach them at right angles, press in half and then press the edges into the centre. From just a small scrap of fabric it made enough binding for the neckline, sleeves, skirt hem and I even had about 70cm left! I definitely think this is going to be something I continue doing on future makes.

It doesn’t look a lot but it makes meters and meters of binding.

One final adjustment is that instead of a snap fastening I basted the front of the bodice closed and checked I could get it on over my head. Yay it fits, so I stitched along the line of stitches that were already visible on the neckline and closed the front of the bodice. I didn’t want to risk flashing an boob so I’m really pleased I didn’t need to use a snap fastening.

Boobs all sewn in!

Overall I’m really happy with the dress and love the style. I do think it’s possibly on the large size so on the next one I’ll size down. It’s the perfect summer dress which can be dressed up or down.

How do you find McCalls patterns?

2 thoughts on “M7381 summer dress – spot the parrots

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