a very floral McCalls 7242

Summer really lingered in my neck of the woods, so for all of September I had a hard time starting projects. I just wasn’t inspired to sew much! It was hot, so I wanted to make summer stuff, but I knew it was only a matter of time before cold temps showed up. Finally, the weather turned the corner and I’m feeling like I know what I want to sew again. When McCalls made their Fall release, I fell in love with, and immediately picked up M7242.


I go particularly weak in the knees for a floral print on a dark background, so this felt like a perfect pattern/fabric match. In the beginning, I had grand plans for making the dramatic long-sleeved maxi version, but this is a very bold print, so my gut told me to pick either the sleeves or the maxi  length. I was close to ditching the sleeves, but in the end I loved them too much to leave them off, especially since this fabric has a very Fall look to it.


I cut down the skirt length, but flared it out to have more volume than the shorter version provides (this is longer than the shorter version of the pattern, btw). I actually didn’t do this pattern alteration correctly, so the skirt doesn’t fall like I had wanted; I may go back in and take some of the fullness out later, since it mostly hangs at the sides. In retrospect, I really wish I would have just done view B and added the ruffle to the bottom. Totally forgot about that option when I was cutting! Maybe I’ll just have to make this dress again… 🙂


I was very pleased with the construction of this dress. Sometimes you end up with really odd finishing techniques in Big 4 patterns, but not so here. The elastic casing at the waist is particularly genius, in my opinion. Instead of joining the bodice and waist, finishing the edges together, then topstitching (as with the Saltspring, if you’re familiar with that) you are able to conceal all the raw edges very neatly and bulk-free. Here you sew the bodice and skirt together with a 1″ SA, then trim down the SA on the bodice side. Then on the skirt SA you turn and press the edge in 1/4″, press it all up to the bodice, then edge stitch it in place (here’s photo on IG to show the inside finish). So neat! I’ll be stealing this method for future elastic waist finishes.


The neckline is finished with a facing, then the rounded collar is added. I love this little collar stand since it sits nice and flat. It’s actually tempting to take the bodice and alter it to a blouse… it would be very easy to do.

There is a tiny bit of hand sewing necessary. The pattern instructs you to hand sew the inner yoke, whereas I prefer the burrito method, as in traditional button up shirts. Then the neckline facing is hand sewn to the yoke seam. The inner collar piece is also hand sewn down. I could have top stitched the collar piece, but my fabric is a rayon twill and things get real shifty and uncooperative real fast; sometimes a bit of hand sewing is less aggravating in the end, so I went with it.


The last thing I thought I’d mention—the pattern has the button holes positioned horizontally instead of vertically. Since this dress gives off a definite shirt dress vibe (back yoke with pleat, collar, etc), I did mine vertically. It just made more sense to me, though it would probably be fine either way.


I went down one full size from my measurements, grading from a 10 at the shoulder/bust to a 12 at the waist. Since I didn’t muslin first, I pulled out my trusty Archer to get an idea whether or not I would need to make alterations. I frequently have to shorten armhole depth and raise necklines, but not this time! The shoulder line falls slightly off my shoulder, but it also does so on the model on the envelope, so I’m thinking it’s just part of the design.


The sleeves are very bell shaped, so I cut a size 10 sleeve but graded down to a 6 at the wrist to eliminate some fullness but still keep the general silhouette. I typically need to add at least 1″ to sleeves but kept these as drafted so they wouldn’t be too billowy.



I’m pretty in love with this dress, and am particularly enamored with the 70’s vibe happening. I left the length longer than I usually would for dresses and skirts, but it seemed the right thing to do for the silhouette. If I made this pattern again, I may narrow and top stitch the facings down. It’s not that they want to pop out, but they do catch on my bra and I end up needing to adjust them every once in a while. This isn’t a major annoyance, just something I noticed. Overall, I found the pattern to be well-drafted and genuinely fun to sew! Seriously. I’m trying to stop myself from ditching the Halloween sewing for the kiddos and immediately start making this pattern again!

—lisa g.

48 thoughts on “a very floral McCalls 7242

  1. SeeKatSew says:

    This dress is on my sewing table, and I almost bought more of the fabric you used to make it! Wow yours is gorgeous. It looks so perfect on you. Do you think you will make another one?

    • lisa g says:

      Oh nice! I hope it turns out just as well for you! I will for sure be making this pattern again, if not this fall, definitely in the spring. Thank you!

    • lisa g says:

      Thank you! With hem length, there really is a fine line between perfect and dowdy… Fortunately I’m happy as is. Will definitely bust out this pattern again!

  2. Noelle says:

    Great fall dress! It’s a really pretty silhouette, and a good match with the dark floral. The elastic casing finish is really neat – thanks for sharing that tip!

  3. Nakisha says:

    It is so perfect for fall. And like you, there’s not much that’ll make me swoon faster than a floral on a dark background. Be still my heart!!!! 🙂

    Very nice work and I do think the silhouette is one that you can definitely have more than one on hand!

  4. Nathalie says:

    That fabric is lovely! You are absolutely right by choosing the sleeves over length. (It also makes it a lot easier, no worieng about cardigans that go with you dress) just add boots and you are ready to go. I like them to by the way

    • lisa g says:

      That was my thought too… my current cardigan selection is a bit sad anyways. And those boots are my absolute favorite–a very nice birthday gift from a couple years ago. Thank you!

  5. Christy says:

    So I love this and I love Lizzy’s too. I’m totally bummed that it appears this is a hard pattern to source here in Australia! I adore this print. I only wish I’d have purchased more of it at the time, before our Aussie $$ slipped so much below the USD. Hope the weather stays moderate for you for a while! 🙂

    • lisa g says:

      It’s crazy that they only sell it in the US and Canada; hope you get your hands on a copy eventually! I agree, Lizzy’s version is fab! Makes me wish we were headed back into summer… 🙂

  6. teri dodds says:

    This looks so pretty on you! I rarely shop for or make big 4 patterns (mostly because I’ve gotten so used to working with patterns I’ve printed on regular paper that the tissue seems hard to work with.) I love the silhouette of this so I think I will grab it next time there’s a sale at Joann!

  7. Carolyn says:

    Just beautiful Lisa! I agree – I think the length is perfect on you. I went through the same thing lately with the weather, but fall has definitely arrived now! I hope you get a lot of wear out of this dress. It really looks great on you. 🙂

    • lisa g says:

      Thank you, Carolyn! Hem length is so tricky, but the consensus seems to be that this is good. 🙂 What is it about the weather that zaps the sewing motivation? So weird! Glad the seasons have turned… summer was too long for me!

  8. Liza Jane says:

    I love it!! And I’m so glad to read about your experience with the pattern. I put my plans to make this on the back burner for some Halloween sewing! But one day soon I’ll make it. Your version is just lovely. I am really loving the sleeves.

  9. sewbusylizzy says:

    This is just gorgeous! I suspect I will be quite tempted to make a long sleeve version when it cools down here! I’m loving my sleeveless maxi version of this dress. It’s a a really lovely pattern, not fussy but enough details to make it interesting

  10. Kristine A says:

    Thank you for the “pick-up”! I think I am still a bit on the downside because I still have a ton of summer projects in mind but the season doesn’t match anymore. I am so glad I saw this post while reading a site of my friend. By the way, nice pair of boots to go along the dress!

  11. ACS Blog says:

    What a lovely dress and I also preferred you decided to go for a knee-length dress with this huge floral print! I think I would alter the sleeves to make it just below the shoulder and not a full sleeve.

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