McCalls 7969: My Thoughts on a popular pattern
Updated: Apr 19, 2021
I suppose, like so many sewers who follow makers on Instagram, there comes a time when eventually we make the choice to sew the ever popular, possibly infamous McCalls 7969
The pattern itself offers many variations and it can be used to create a variety of dresses or tunics. I don't believe this is a pattern for beginner sewers unless you have someone to help you along or it is done as a virtual sew along. The pattern involves a more complex approach to binding the sleeves as well as the faux wrap of the bodice. The pattern instructions are good, although I did miss the more detailed and creative photos that I often find in the independent patterns.
I cut out a size XL bodice and graded down to a size large fir the skirt section as I prefer less gathers and fabric on a dress that already has full sleeves and bodice details. If I were to make this as a dress I would definitely size done to a large bodice. The sizing is very generous and I prefer a more fitted bodice. I added my prerequisite 2' to the sleeve. I ended up cutting the dress length down to a tunic length as it just felt like there was too much fabric to the dress and I didn't feel like it was flattering on me. I am really pleased with the tunic length and have already worn it several times. I think it provides more versatility for me as this style can easily be worn with jeans, dress pants, skirts and shorts. I will use a much lighter viscose, rayon or silk if I make a full length dress so it is light, airy and has a lot more drape.
Attaching the binding to the cuff gathering is time consuming but not difficult. You will need to take your time to get the gathers evenly spaced. Attaching the sleeve binding can be a bit picky but if you pin, pin, pin it always helps. Hand stitching the reverse side of the binding for both the sleeves and the bodice are suggested. I found that pinning the binding and sewing in the gutter for the sleeves saved some hand stitching. I did however choose to hand stitch the bodice binding to ensure a polished finish with no trace of any stitches.
I used a found fabric for this particular make. It is actually a cotton sheet that I was drawn too because of the grid pattern. I thought it would combine well with the cross over bodice and the full sleeve. It was a nice fabric to work with and very cost effective as a wearable muslin.
I am interested in making the dress version with a shorter more simple sleeve. I think it will make a really nice maxi dress for summer evenings, a perfect dress for lounging.
This pattern is available as a paper copy at many local fabric stores, it is also available on line through Minerva if you want it mailed to you. I choose to download the pdf pattern from Something Delightful. Ther are several lengths, sleeve styles and finishes to choose from after all.... there is Sew Much To Design!