Thoughts on McCalls M8037 Dress

Thoughts on McCalls M8037 Dress

Mar 03, 2020Ann Steeves

I've been so busy, between the Gorgeous Fabrics anniversary sale (13 years - yay!), the Mendel Goldberg private sale (fabulous!), putting up new fabrics, and life in general, that I haven't had much time to sew. I did make one dress recently: McCalls M8037. McCalls has apparently decided to hop on the indie-inspired bandwagon and hashtag-name their new patterns. I can't roll my eyes hard enough at that, but it is what it is, and this one is "Mara". Whatevs.

The description from the pattern envelope states, "Evening or ankle length dress, A,B: plunging tie front, C: drape neckline, skirt center front slit, stitched hem." I made a hybrid of views A and C - sleeveless ankle length with a draped neckline.

I used Heavenly Hana rayon jersey, which is sold out. I have one jersey left from this mill that you can see here: Jungle Musings Italian Rayon Jersey - Multi on Black.

This fabric works beautifully for this dress. If you make this dress, make sure you have a fabric with good stretch and recovery, because it has negative ease through the waist and hips.

Not as Advertised

McCalls has a funny notion of "ankle length" when it comes to this dress. I'm 5 foot 6 inches, which is supposedly the height for which McCalls designs. The skirt on this dress hits in a very awkward place: halfway between the bottom of my calf and my ankle. I don't care for the length, the slit makes it awkward to shorten. Be sure to check the length on you before you make this up. Shame on me for not doing so, but this is the first time I've ever run into that problem with a McCalls pattern.


The design uses the same piece for the front in all views. To make the plunging neckline, you simply leave a gap in the waist seam at center front and use a tie to pull the neckline all the way down to the seam. The problem is that the self facing is only about an inch deep, so it has a tendency to flip out as you move. It is also quite low cut and not bra friendly. That's obvious from the images on the pattern, so I don't ding the pattern for that. To make it more compatible with my foundation garments, I made a soft thread tack right above my bra band. That solved the wearability and facing issues in one fell swoop.

I used my serger to sew all the seams, and I used a .5 mm wide zigzag for the hem and armholes. The entire thing took me under two hours from cutting to finish. I used the front tie as a belt.

Overall Impression

I wore this dress to our annual Sick of Winter Party two weekends back and I got a ton of compliments on it. The pattern isn't bad, but be aware of the length of the shorter skirt and adjust it if you want it to truly be ankle length. Here are some pictures on Shelley. There are some pictures floating around of it on me, and I'll try to find those and post them later.


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