It is finally complete! McCall’s 5746 Pattern Review

Pattern Description: McCall's 5746-dress with dart detailing, varied necklines, with cap sleeves, sleeves and sleeveless.

Pattern Sizing:14-20. I used 14 through upper chest area and shoulders. Then switched to 18 for bust and waistline, tapering to 16 at hip to hemline.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Somewhat so. My plan was to make the red dress view with cap sleeves. However due to FBA and adding a bust dart at the under arm area, I created a situation where the underarm area was not going working well with the cap sleeve. More on this later.

Were the instructions easy to follow?Instructions were easy to follow though I deviated considerably.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I liked the look of this dress pattern when it first appeared on the McCall's website. The waistline darts with their unique shaping, almost like a starburst the way I visualized them, was the key attention grabber. I also liked the cowl neckline until I made it. Because of some of the changes I incorporated, the dress became an almost non-ending project. I do not like their instructions for attaching the top and bottom and did it my usual way. Also their instructions would have you line only the bodice and I chose to line the bodice and skirt as well.

Fabric Used I am unsure about the fabric type. I believe it is a rayon combination. It is on the thin side, with nice drape, tends to ravel but not excessive. I acquired it several years ago, maybe about four years, from Vogue Fabrics.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made I made a forward shoulder adjustment; I made a swayback adjustment in the back skirt; I added a lining for the skirt as well; raised the hipline two inches and lengthened the skirt two inches to accommodate for the hipline change. I also made a FBA moving the resulting dart at the arm area instead of increasing the width of the waistline darts.

The swayback adjustment I made was one I make on all of my skirts, where I take ½ inch adjustment at center back tapering back to original side seam allowance. I also added about 3/8 inch at the back hipline area allowing for fabric to fall over back hip fluff nicer.

The FBA was about 1.5 inches. I was concerned about increasing the bodice waistline darts to accommodate the FBA. My concern was being able to match up the front bodice darts with front skirt darts. I did not want to have a side bust dart so transferred it to the armscye area. Though I still think it was a good idea to do this, I drafted the dart going in an angle that was not going to be flattering and creating a strange alignment with the waist darts. Fortunately, I sewed the lining first and discovered the need for changing the direction of the dart toward the bust line before sewing the dress fabric. However, this change created an underarm design issue for me. I call it a design issue not fitting because I just did not like the look of the underarm after attaching the cap sleeve. I ended up removing the cap sleeve and making the dress sleeveless. I always planned to wear a jacket with the dress, so though I still have what I call a "low rise" underarm look, no one will see this when I am wearing it.

As noted the pattern calls for the bodice only to be lined. However I decided to line the skirt as well. Their instructions have you sew the bodice pieces first, sewing the shoulder and side seams. You then sew the skirt front and back together, and then attach this to the bodice unit. You will then insert the zipper. I sewed the front bodice and front skirt together at waistline, doing the same for the back pieces. This gives you a continuous side seam allowing for easy take up or let out if fitting requires. I then sewed the shoulders together. I sewed the lining first. This allows me to make fitting adjustments somewhat treating the lining as a muslin. Then I can transfer those changes when I sew the dress fabric. This is how I discovered the arm dart issue.

I was able to follow the directions for the pleating and stitching of the back cowl neck. Yet the pleating involves sewing through several layers of fabric. I thought originally of reducing the length of the neckline and I wish I had followed my instincts. After completing the dress, I added additional horizontal pleating at back neckline to help the drape of the cowl neck collar stay in place better when wearing.

I ended up taking a deeper side seam in the bodice tapering to 5/8 at waistline and then taking a deeper seam from hipline down. I also took deeper darts at the upper back area.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I am not sure that I will sew it again. I should, now that I have all the adjustments made. Yet I am not sure that I need another dress in this style. I do recommend it to others but consider sewing cowl neck collar differently. It is not an easy dress to make but it is not that difficult either. You do need to make sure that the bodice darts match up with the skirt darts.

Conclusion: Unique style dress. Instructions are good. Pattern pieces align appropriately. Would not recommend to a beginner with very limited sewing experience.

Back view

With Butterick jacket.


  1. Congratulations on getting it finished. It co ordinates so well with the jacket. Lovely outfit.

  2. Very nice! Looks like a classic to me.


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