Sundress sewing pattern



Hi again!

I’m currently in the midst of a sewing frenzy; with less than two weeks to go before we head off on our summer holidays, I’m frantically trying to sew enough things to pack! Given the lack of time, I was looking for patterns that met certain criteria;

  • they need to be relatively quick to sew;
  • a flattering shape but not restrictive in any way;
  • can preferably be made up in lightweight breathable fabrics and
  • are easy care once made – i.e. can be washed, dried and put back on again in next to no time – ideally without having to meet an iron.

I was able to choose two McCalls patterns as a prize from the lovely Kate at The Foldline for my M6696 Shirtdress a little while back and thinking of my summer wardrobe, I snatched up M7116 and M7119 – both looked relatively simple and needed lightweight wovens.

I decided to sew View A of M7116 first – the spaghetti strap version – it’s essentially a semi-fitted pullover dress with a side seam zip.  I chose a lovely floral viscose print. Let me say that again in case you weren’t paying attention… a floral print! A print that is floral! Flowers on fabric. As unradical a choice that may sound to you, let me make it clear that it was something of a departure for me. Purging my wardrobe earlier in the year has allowed me to rethink and I find myself choosing things I’d previously been wary of; whether this is a sign of increased confidence or simply Middle Aged Madnesss I’m not sure. I’m pretty sure I don’t care either way!

So back to the fabric…it’s a gorgeously soft viscose; the first with purple flowers on a dark navy background and the second with bright pink ones (see here). Both are opaque enough to not need lining. The flowers themselves are just the right size, not big enough to be screaming in your face nor small enough to fall into the chintz category. I set about tracing out the pattern. I wasn’t going to bother making a toile – time’s short and quite frankly I’m all toiled out – I’d rather stick pins in my eyeballs at the moment. I cut out based on the finished measurements (i.e sized down) and took in the underarm seams by a further 0.25″ each as well as raising the armscye by 0.5″, which I’ve found I had to do on previous McCalls patterns. It worked out great. I then graded down at the hip (a standard alteration for me).

M7116 mccalls

Armhole facing

The bodice of this dress is essentially a gathered bra-let type affair with the remaining dress being cut on the bias and semi-fitted. As a precaution, I cut out on the single fold and edgestitched all my pieces straight away to stop seams stretching out during construction and handling. Apart from that, it’s a super quick sew.

The armholes are finished with a bias cut strip of fabric which, since it’s simply pressed in half and sewn with raw edges aligned, makes for a quick, clean finish.

McCalls sewing patterns

Elastic casing at the neckline

The neckline is finished with a simple fold-over elastic casing. The instructions ask you to cut out two specific lengths of elastic and insert those. Don’t do that. Mark the required length on a longer piece and feed that through, pinning at the marked end points. Then adjust to fit. I ended up taking out about 1.5″ from the back piece to get it to fit flush with my back. Since I knew I’d be wearing these dresses with a regular bra, I used the width of the straps of that as my guide.

The instructions then say to adjust your strap lengths, which are already sewn in at the back, and sew them in to meet the front neckline. I waited until I’d sewn the skirt on as this gave me a much better idea of how it sat.

7116 mccalls

Easy regular zip insertion

The way McCalls have you insert the side zip is also fantastically easy. You could, of course, insert an invisible zip here but I wanted to try this method out. Simply place your zip face down on a basted together seam and sew in.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy. It produces a much neater enclosed finish than I was expecting. Bonus.

Sundress sewing pattern

I was so pleased with the finished dress, which I pretty much put together in one sitting. The bias skirt is gorgeous, it adds a lovely touch to such a simple dress; the fabric skims the body beautifully without being clingy.  In fact, I liked it so much I immediately sewed another, its pink twin.


Looking up to the left again – what’s there I wonder?! Cobwebs, probably!

I want to sew another in yellow. Yes, yellow. I’ve never worn yellow in my life – unless it was something knitted by my Mum was I was young enough not to object. But yellow I want!! I also want to do View D when I get back from holiday…I can see that transitioning nicely into Autumn.

Hope you’ve all got a great summer planned! Me? I’m cutting out M7119!

Until next time sewing friends,IMG_4554









22 thoughts on “McCall’s M7116 Sundress : So good I had to make it twice!

  1. Thank you and too true!!! Let’s hope the weathers better across the ocean!! Xx


  2. Great make and pattern. Totally worth sewn twice. The only thing that stop you wearing your dresses is the weather.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Lynne says:

    Ooo! These turned out beautifully! What is it with the elastic instructions on this pattern though? I ended up putting elastic all around the sleeves on view B and used bias tape as a facing. Good luck with your yellow version, and have a great holiday!


  4. Thanks Lynsey! Yeah I agree; there at least three quite radically different dresses in this envelope!! Xx


  5. Thanks Becky!! I’m not sure my hair will have it either! Will I look like a walking banana?! Oh I don’t know, yellow and red…you’d look like a sunset…that’s a good thing!!! Xx


  6. Thank you so much Jo! We’re off to Buffalo – we have family live there so it’s really good to spend as much time as we can get with them! Xx


  7. Wow Kathleen, thank you for the lovely comment and the link – I’ll be sure to check that out!!! Xx


  8. Ta darling. I think I’m going to have to study your pics for further inspo, having one ‘staring at the cobwebs’ pose is clearly not enough in anyone’s, err, repertoire! Xx


  9. Ah cheers Jane! Go for it, I’m sure it really won’t disappoint – svelte enough shape but still allowing room for holiday scoffing and quaffing!! 😉😘


  10. Thanks Diane, yeah it’s bra friendly enough once I’d raised the underarm…the straps could be a tad thicker? It’s great…well see how long it takes to get it soaked in red wine though! Xx


  11. No … not paisley though! 😂Oh this proper made me laugh; The Sex! Yep, make yourself another and you be The Bomb!! 🤛🏻😂😘😘


  12. Thanks Emma! I can see myself knocking these out left, right and centre!! Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Lynsey says:

    Really great summer dresses, love the style and and the views look fab, love a pattern where you can all the views.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Back to Blighty says:

    A gorgeous summer frock and perfect for your hols! Looking forward to seeing your yellow creation – I wish I could wear yellow, but the hair won’t have it! x

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Jo says:

    They’re both gorgeous on you – the bias cut is super flattering and I love the way it subtly flounces at the bottom. Where are you off on your hols?

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Another lovely Make Sarah! This dress looks so comfortable and elegant – it has a couple of surprises to me! I never thought to put a FOE on a woven fabric but I love that idea! The way you describe sewing in your zipper made me laugh because I always used to do it this way (’70’s) then got into fancy schmancy and completely forgot about doing it that way and you’re right it IS so much easier! Since you’ve shifted your palette and style you might want to listen to Justine – one of my favourite French fashion designers talk about that 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. This is so pretty on you, Sarah! Both colourways are fab too. And I love your “looking out for cobwebs” pose 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I’ve been waiting to see pics of this finished and it doesn’t disappoint! It’s lovely and very flattering. Sorely tempted to buy the pattern now…. x

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Diane G says:

    What a lovely pattern! I really love the shape and will definitely consider it for my hol next year (I’m all sorted for this year as we go on Sat!) You look fab in your new dress Sarah and a bonus is that it looks bra friendly too!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Leigh says:

    They’re both lovely. I used to love a bias skirt when I was a young (I had a purple paisley one I wore at any opportunity – with a two tone purple blouse, I was The Sex) and you’ve got me wanting to revisit the style – not paisley though…

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Looks lovely. It’s a nice shape on you. ☺

    Liked by 1 person

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