Who doesn’t love a maxi dress? I mean they are great for spring, summer and fall. I never seem to have enough but my go to maxi patterns have been McCalls 7121 and 6744, but I when Maggie Elaine shared her version of McCalls 7561 on Instagram I decided I needed one too, so I bought the pattern and gave it a go.
I passed on M7561 when it came out even though I really loved the striped version in View D because 1) I hate basting and gathering and 2) I figured this dress was simple enough to draft myself. This was back when I was trying to do better about buying all the patterns. LOL, I’m over that! If I can buy a pattern from under $2 why waste my time and energy drafting the pattern. Yes, I know, it would be great for learning and perfecting my craft, but I can do that for looks I have in my head that don’t actually exist as a pattern instead. Call me lazy, I’m ok with it.
I purchased this rayon lycra jersey wine floral fabric during Fabric Mart’s precut fabric sale. I loved it from the moment I saw it. I don’t know why as I typically don’t love florals, I think it had more to do with the colorway. The burgundy seemed like a great shade for fall. I originally planned to make Simplicity 8291 with it but never got around to it. This pattern takes considerably less fabric so I plan on making Miss Socialite a very similar dress using McCalls 7079.
As expected considering it is one of McCalls Learn to Sew for Fun patterns, it’s a simple one, appropriate for a beginner especially if using a stable knit like liverpool or interlock. There’s simply a bodice front and back, the skirt piece and the sleeve. Everything came together quickly even the gathering as I could get away with one line of basting for the gathers with this rayon jersey. One issue was I had was the skirt length, I’m pretty average height (5’5″) and this maxi felt short to me. I sewed a 1/2″ hem to keep as much length as possible but I feel it should be at least another inch longer.
This dress can create several different looks as it includes a boat and scoop front bodice, a plunging and boat back bodice, two skirt lengths and 4 sleeve options. Oh and there’s a front shirt pocket option as well. Speaking of pockets, that the only thing I regret, no adding side pockets to the skirt. If I make this again I will definitely add them.
While I love Maggie’s version (seen here) I’m on the fence about mine. Though I hate sewing gathers (admittedly it wasn’t bad on this lightweight jersey) if I’m going to baste and gather I want to see it and they are barely noticeable here. On the other hand I do love a maxi and this one with it’s half sleeves is perfect for fall so I could see myself sewing it again and adding some with to the skirt piece to create more gathers.
Pattern: McCalls 7561
Pattern Description: Close fitting pullover dress has back, sleeve, neckline and length variations. D: Bodice cut on crosswise grain.
Sizing: XS-M, L-XXL I sewed a medium
Fabric Used: Wine floral rayon lycra jersey precut fabric from Fabric Mart
Does it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope? Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow? Very
Likes: Comfy dress, sleeve, bodice and skirt options.
Dislikes: No side pockets, not enough skirt gathers.
Pattern alterations or any design changes made: None.
Would I sew it again? Maybe.
Would I recommend it to others? Definitely, great beginners project.
Conclusion: Easy dress pattern