Sunday, April 4, 2010

An Easter Dress for Me: McCalls 5619

I was at Joann's a few weeks ago (when McCalls patterns were on sale) looking for a pattern for my daughter's Easter dress (in a later post). After I found her dress I thought I would quickly skim through the woman's patterns. This pattern caught me right away. How fun would it be to make myself a dress for Easter. I haven't ever done that before.

When I first saw this dress I liked how it was empire but didn't look like it would make you look pregnant. Boy, was I wrong! I didn't read the description. I'm not sure why I didn't read the back because usually I do. But, if I would have I would have know that this dress was loose fitting not close like the picture. Can you see the pleats in the skirt? I can't. As you can tell by the drawing they are there.

For my trial garment I made the dress right out of the envelope. It was huge! It needed some serious adjustments if it was going to fit what I had pictured in my head. It was also a little lower than I liked. After this I set out on a journey to make the tent match what was in my head. Here is my finished dress. This is pretty much what I had pictured in my head.

My review from pattern review: McCalls 5619

Pattern Description: Very loose fitting dress with low elasticized bodice front neckline, gathers at waistline, pleated skirt and back zipper closing. Sleeve Options: sleeveless, short sleeves with stitched hem and elastic, or elbow length with sleeve band. Length mid-knee or above mid-knee.

Pattern Sizing: 6-20 I measured a size 14 (bust) 16 (waist) 18 (hip). I cut out size 14.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? I think that my dress ended up looking like the dress on the girl pictured. The description described the dress as loose fitting. I don't think that the picture looks very loose fitting at all. I didn't read the description very well ( I really need to work on this) and went with the picture. Well, this dress is VERY loose fitting. I could have been 8 months pregnant and the dress would have fit well. So, I made a few alterations in order to get it to be close fitting.

Were the instructions easy to follow? They were pretty easy to follow.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I didn't like how big it was. But, I will concede that that was partially my fault. The puffy sleeves are not my favorite but I still like the dress.

Fabric Used: cotton

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: Wow! Where to start?! I made up a muslin just as the pattern was drafted and found out it was a tent.

1) I wanted the neckline to be raised up a bit so I added 3/4" to the bodice front and removed 3/4" from the upper front. I didn't change the bodice back length so I ended up having to put in a bust dart to take out the extra length.

2) The pleated skirt was huge and so I had to get the pleats out so that the skirt had a flat front. This was quite easy. I just folded out the pleated parts all the way down the skirt panel. Once they were out the waistline of the skirt was the same length as the bodice front.

3) There was still quite a bit of room in the back and I wanted it a bit more fitted. So, I put long darts about 3" on either side of the zipper.

Back of dress

4) I added a batiste lining to the skirt.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I probably would not make this again just because it is distinct. I would recommend the pattern as is if you want a loose fitting dress. I would recommend this one if you want to make it more fitted as the alterations are pretty easy.

Conclusion: It turned out to be a pretty cute dress. Surprisingly, I enjoyed trying to make this fit as I had pictured in my head.

This was a fun project! It was such a challenge for me to get it to fit. Getting clothes to actually fit me is one of my challenges. I am pretty happy that I was able to get this to fit.

I will end with this fitting challenge story. The back of the dress was not fitted at all. It was pretty straight through the backside and I wanted to show a bit more curves. So, I started with adjusting at the zipper. I kept moving the zipper over more and more in a bit of a dart effect. After I had basted, tried on, ripped out, repositioned and rebasted a few times the light bulb finally went on in my head. Then I adjusted the back the in a much simpler manner. I put in the zipper just as I would have before (without any funny stuff) and made 2 long darts on either side of the zipper. Worked like a charm!

Thanks so much for stopping by. Have a great day!

Until next time...


  1. SO cute!! I love the print you used, and despite the challenges with this pattern, you got a great fit. Nice work!

  2. That's a pretty dress and it looks fantastic on you. Unfortunately, the photos/drawings on the front of pattern envelopes are not indicative of how they actuallyfit.

  3. I love your cute Easter dress - you look wonderful in it!

  4. I made this dress for my 14-year-old daughter a year and almost a half after you did. Thanks to your and other reviews, I made her dress two sizes smaller and it fits perfectly (she's only five feet tall). I made it in a cotton voile which is perfect with the pleats, so I made the dress without modifications. She loves it and wants me to make another, using a darker fabric. If the fabric is heavier, I may do what you did and eliminate the pleats.

  5. Hello,
    I am currently making this pattern. I am a novice. I made it already out of muslim and am trying again with more muslim. I need the practice...
    Did you have any trouble with the front?
    For me, where the front sections connect to the front bodice next to the elasticized area - it looks terrible and will not lay flat. Perhaps you can recommend where I could look to learn how to sew it properly. Thank you


Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I will try to reply back to you if at all possible. Have a great day!