Pattern Review – McCalls 5974 Dress

Pattern Description: MISSES’ AND WOMEN’S DRESSES: Dresses A, B, C, D have bodice variations with front pleats, neckline variations, self-faced midriff, pleated skirt front, back zipper and sleeves in three lengths; dresses A, B have scoop neck; dress A has short sleeves; dress B has long sleeves; dresses C, D have wrapped bodice, “V&” neck and self-ties; dress C has three-quarter length sleeves; dress D has long sleeves; dresses A, B, C, D length is 1″ below mid-knee.

I made View A

Sizing: 8 to 24W. I made a 14. I could easily have made a 12. It runs a bit large.

Fabric Used: Black Rayon Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics (of course).

Needle/Notions Used: 70/10 stretch needle, thread, black Pro-Tricot fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply. That’s it.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes.

How were the instructions? Parts of them were great. In particular, the instructions, using Palmer/Pletsch techniques for fitting and pattern alteration.

Parts of them were not great. Specifically, the instructions have you use some seriously outdated techniques for attaching the midriff belt (Slipstitch the bottom SA of the facing? In knits????). This is a beef I have with the big 4 in general – it seems they simply cut and paste instructions from a vast library that was last updated in the 1970s. I would love to see them incorporate more modern techniques into their instructions. Maybe some day. I did my own thing (see below)

Construction Notes:
I did a FBA which was simple because they give you the cutting lines for it right on the pattern.

To attach the midriff band, I sandwiched the upper front bodice between the band and its facing and serged them all together. Then I serged both layers of the band to the skirt:
Bodice/Midriff/Skirt construction

The instructions have you insert a CB zipper.


No. Not with a stretchy knit like this one. I omitted it and just sewed up the CB seam. It looks much better this way. This pattern claims to be for moderate stretch knits only. If you’re using a knit with 35% crosswise stretch or more, skip the zip. You’ll get a much better look.

And I pressed it at every step of the way.

Likes/Dislikes: This is a very simple pattern to make. I needed a break from my Paco jacket (which is getting close to complete) and I wanted to make something easy and quick. I also can always use a black dress. I know – they are SO boring to photograph and look at. But they are very useful. This one is pretty plain, but it can be dressed up with, say, a retro 80s belt to give it shape, and a pair of nude patent pumps. I have a red belt that would probably look great with it too.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I doubt I’ll make it again. It’s a little boring. But it’s very well drafted. I might make the wrap dress, and I would recommend it. If you’re a beginner or a newbie to knits, this is an excellent pattern for you.

Conclusion: A very nice dress that will see a lot of wear, I’m sure.

Published by

Gorgeous Fabrics

I own an online fabric store, The name says it all!

16 thoughts on “Pattern Review – McCalls 5974 Dress”

  1. This is a great little dress. It’s a surprisingly versatile pattern and the version with the ties makes a really flattering dress because of the way the ties are attached. I like the idea of black teamed with nude shoes. I love that black and tan look.

  2. cute and useful – a little black dress that can go with casual sandals or dressed up.
    I made that pattern too and really liked the ties.
    The fitting instructions are great, but I just ignored the construction instructions.
    Zipper? Um, no.
    Looking forward to the Paco jacket.

  3. Looks lovely. I am myself working on a jacket (Burda) and finding myself stuck. A little A – line skirt made out of your double sided knit was a nice diversion. Tomorrow I shall move on a bit with the jacket again!

  4. I just bought this pattern with the intention of making the wrap version. I did not realize it calls for a back zipper! I have even read several reviews of the pattern- with no mention of the zipper. I think I will leave out the zipper as well. Thanks for the review.

  5. Great dress Ann. Please put my name in the drawing for the Silhouettes pattern #3600 (Ralph’s Pant).

    Karen in Houston

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