McCalls 7020 Cowl Top Turned Dress

Cowl Neck top with Chico's necklace

Cowl Neck top with Chico’s necklace (old)

As I move into 2017 and take inventory of my lengthy list of sewing projects, I am reminded of the bloggers who took great time to review their versions of sewing ‘Hits and Misses’ of 2016. ¬† There seemed to be a plan from the start of the year to execute specific garments for their wardrobe. ¬†This requires organization and planning skills, which I admire. ¬† However, I am more impulsive. ¬†If I need a jacket, I make one. ¬†If I get inspired by a great pattern, I collect the fabric and necessities and get started. ¬†Maybe perusing blogs will inspire me to make something similar because I can! Allowing myself to be drawn into a creative swirl often results in garments that have served a practical purpose, ¬†a creative ‘itch’ that needed to be scratched, or because I needed some time alone to recharge in my happy sewing space.

Have you ever come across a pattern that just draws you in but you don’t know why? ¬†This simple McCalls 7020 pattern did just that. ¬†Maybe it was the fabric, or how it looked on the model or maybe it’s simplicity. ¬† Not sure. ¬†At first, I planned to make a top (View B) out of this to wear with jeans. ¬†But then I realized that I had enough fabric to extend the top into a dress minus pockets. ¬†I love the idea of pockets and I truly love them but only if they can be sewn down either to the waistband or directly to the front of the garment.

Cowl Neck of McCalls 7020

Cowl Neck of McCalls 7020

My favorite part of this pattern is the cowl neck. The pattern piece is weirdly shaped which is probably why it drapes so nicely. ¬†This fabric is a waffle weave Henley-like fabric purchased at my local mill end store. ¬†Since fabric content is a guess at that store, I would say it’s contents would be a rayon, cotton and poly blend.

( Side note about mystery fabric content: ¬†My rule is the Fabric Must Stand The Washer And Dryer Test. ¬†How will it survive? ¬†Sometimes the fabric improves with washing and drying. ¬†You may choose to launder the fabric differently into the future, but that first washing is crucial. ¬† The results of the washing may change the direction of the project. ¬†Is it softer? ¬† Does it have a new texture, drape?…etc. ¬†Remember that you are getting a great deal because there are NO FRILLS, UNKNOWN FABRIC CONTENT OR CARE DESCRIPTION. ¬†You are on your own. ¬†I happen to love this fabric challenge because my success rate is about 95%. ¬†Maybe it comes from years of working with fabric that I am confident that it will turn out. ¬†Like most things, practice makes perfect. )

Back to the dress РIt is a bit thin for a dress, but since I knew I would wear it with tights, it was fine.   I made up a size  M 12/14.

My son’s dog, Outlaw, was a bit bored, but still well behaved while we took some photos.

Are we done yet?

One construction change I might make for next time is to eliminate the center front and back seams and instead place them on the fold.  It would also save some sewing time making this an even quicker project to complete.   The center seams interrupt the pattern if using a print.

It makes sense in View C where stripes are featured.

Man, this is boring?  Fetch, anyone??

Here, you can see the front riding up. ¬†It appears I need a Full Bust Adjustment! ¬†Hummmm. ¬†I don’t usually need to make that alteration, but when I see the front hem line drawing up, it usually means that fabric is being taken up by a larger bust. ¬†I found myself tugging at the dress to keep the front even with the back.

My second change would be to make the bicep/upper arm circumference larger.  My goal was to have this be a looser knit shift dress all around, but the sleeves are a bit tight.

I will probably make this again but choose stripes instead and make a top and widen the sleeves to be more comfortable. ¬† Now that I’m thinking of it, I have some striped fabric in my stash that I could use for all of these changes. ¬†It would also be nice to add a slightly hi-low hemline to the top. ¬† Stay tuned…

These days, a loose style cowl neck is the closest I will be getting to a turtleneck. ¬† I don’t seem to need many layers year round while living in Arizona. ¬†This loose cowl also allows space for a necklace.

Please be a squirrel....

Please be a squirrel….

Using this same pattern, I loved seeing Mimi G Style’s hoodie. ¬†Have you tried this pattern? ¬†Thoughts?

Happy sewing-


Posted in DIY Sewing, Inspiration and tagged , , , , , , , .


  1. I love that fabric! This looks super comfy while also looking pulled together. That last photo of you and Outlaw should be your music album cover, LOL.

  2. Hi, Dana. I just found your blog via a Bloglovin suggestion and am reading backward. Although I’m old enough to be your mother You and I share a similar body shape and style ethic. I’ve made this McCalls pattern twice, views b and c. I too love cowl necklines! How I deal with fronts that ride up on knit tops is to angle the center front down from the side seems bout an inch, then smooth the curve. Avoids a FBA when you don’t want a dart. I love this pattern. Happy sewing!

    • Kathy-
      Thank you for the tip!! I’m going to try this out for the FBA substitute. Also, I’, SEW glad you found my blog and that we have sewing for a similar body shape in common. It is often difficult to find someone out there in the sewing world that shares the same style, body shape, and sewing skill level. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

  3. I am newly back to sewing after many years, and I have started sewing with woven material and skirts. They have turned out lovely, and I feel like I want to sew knits. I particularly love this pattern. I have a question about knits if anyone could help me. How closely does the knit need to stretch to the recommended amount on the back of a pattern?? I have noticed that some knits don’t stretch much at all before becoming misshapen, and others stretch a lot. I have found a really nice knit on Spoonflower (I love all the equestrian themed fabrics, I’m an equine vet and avid dressage rider), and it is not that stretchy. I would love to use it for a tunic styled top. Am I being unrealistic that it’s appropriate for that? It has stretch, just not that much. Perhaps it would be better suited for a jacket? Any help much appreciated!!

    • Hi Julie,
      I hope I can help. The stable knits often do not stretch very much, making them behave more like a woven fabric (Ponte knits). What I will do is check measurements and maybe size on up to allow for the lack of stretch. The fabric descriptions on the pattern often help guide you to the type of knit to use, as well. As for stretchy knits, I use stabilizing tapes like Wonder Under, Fabric Bond and Warm and Natural fusibles, etc., for the hems. These can be purchased at JoAnn, Amazon and Dana Marie Design, Co.. The stretch guide on the back of the pattern show the amount needed to allow for you to get in and out of the garment (negative ease). I hope that helps. Good luck. -Dana

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