Instant Gratification- McCalls 7979

I have a treat for you today- I've found a pattern that I really, really love, and it is EASY!!  I mean, you cannot go wrong with this one, it is just that good- no fitting prowess required, about as easy to sew as you could ask for, and amazingly, it works as a dress, just as well as a top.  And I can prove it because I made it three times, with wildly different fabrics, and I think (IMHO) that they all look pretty darn good!

The pattern is McCalls 7979.  It is a Palmer Pletsch design.

I recently found this purple floral cotton interlock remnant at a thrift shop, and just had about 1 yard of it.  It was so, so nice!  But 1 yard isn't enough for a sleeved top in my size, so I decided to mix it up with another fabric.  I had a black sweater knit that I thought would be a nice contrast for it.   I added the kangaroo pocket- that wasn't part of the pattern, although it's certainly not hard to draft your own.  You could also insert side seam pockets in the longer version easily.

I was originally going to make a top, but when I tried it on, the black sweater knit had enough weight to pull it almost to my knees, so I thought- "Hmmm, it wouldn't take much to make this into a dress!"  I had enough of my purple knit to make a 4" wide hem band, and voila, I present to you a dress!    Here you can see the actual shape of the design- if you count the neck as a side, it would be an octagon with sleeves. 

 Here's a little closer photo so you can see this pretty purple cotton interlock.  I find it really hard to find nice cotton interlock prints anymore.  They've all been replaced with ITY or other poly knits.  So, I grab them when I can, if I see them at a thrift shop.

This wasn't my first rodeo with this pattern.  The first was actually a muslin using an ITY panel print.  I had two panels, and used the darker part of the panel at the bottom.  My panel was about 4" shorter than the pattern, but it was plenty long enough for a top.  I didn't have enough fabric to make the cowl version, so I used the neckband piece instead. 

And my last version was a wintry version using a heather gray velour.  Again, I added the kangaroo pocket to this one, and this is the actual length of the pattern. 

Completely ignore the finished garment measurements that they included on the pattern tissue- they don't make any sense.   For example, it said that the bust on the finished size 16 was 36-1/2".   You can see from the photo below that this is way more than 36-1/2"!   Just go with whatever size you would normally make.  

So far, the purple/black dress version is my favorite.  I will probably be making quite a few more versions in the future!

So, if you just need some instant gratification, I highly recommend picking up this pattern at the next pattern sale. Maybe use up some of those knit remnants that you've been saving.   And have a blast sewing up your own versions!

Happy Sewing!



  1. I love all three! I find on several patterns that the finished measurements are incorrect. I pretty much do what you did and just make the size(s) I normally do. I am glad the variety of knits seem to work well with this pattern. I added this one to my wishlist, will wait for a sale!

    1. Thank you, Linda! McCalls patterns are on sale now through November 16th for $2.99!

  2. I am impressed by how versatile this pattern is. All three versions look great, but the gray one would be my choice for something snugly and warm to wear on a cold day.

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