Not Your Mother's Muu-muu!

by Koetiquemade
7 Materials
5 Hours

Have you noticed the trend in summer wardrobe lately? Everyone seems to be craving comfort. Caftan’s and Muu-muu’s are everywhere . They seem to be much sexier than your moms old house dress of the 80’s and 90’s though. Either that or my brain just decided to act it’s age. One pattern that I keep seeing over and over in my Instagram feed is the McCall’s M7742. It’s darling on almost any body type and it looks so cute and comfy! I guess you could say it’s a new take on the Muu-muu, with a splash of sex appeal.

I’ve been dreaming about copying this pattern since March. My husband even helped me scroll though page after page of fabric online. We finally found this gorgeous Rayon Challis form and knew it would be perfect. I love that my artist husband will help me look at fabric. He often has a very good eye and can bring a different perspective to the table. I have never once hated anything he picks. He’s been know to cruise through the fabric aisle at Walmart and make a purchase without me.

I’ve studied every post and picture I come across of the McCall’s pattern. It looked simple enough to sew but after looking at the line drawings there were a few design details I wasn’t loving. For instance, the V-neck was lower than I preferred and I didn’t like that the gathered tier was part of the underarm. It just seemed weird and unnecessary. Also, in reading posts from people who had made the M7742 pattern, they said they didn’t like that the back was just gathered in the middle (see below image). So a few makers widened it so it could be gathered all the way around the front and back.

Pictured below is the line drawing of the McCall’s 7742 compared to a dress from Zara. I wanted my dress be a cross between both these dresses.

I really like the idea of using what I have. That kind of mindset keeps my spending down and helps me waste less. It’s also fun to challenge my brain to think outside the box. I was sure I had an Indie Pattern in my stash already that could be used to duplicate this commercial pattern.

The pattern I immediately thought of was the  Esma Top by Blank Slate Patterns. It has a V-neck and cuffed sleeves. Shortening the shirt wouldn’t be a problem. With the easy construction of this pattern I knew omitting the cuff and adding a ruffle to the sleeves would be super easy as well.

These are the simple things I did to hack this pattern into one of my favorite summer makes:

Size up one size

Shorten shirt to bust-line apex

Make ruffle for sleeve

Make gathered tier to attach at bust-line apex

I usually fall into a size medium in Blank Slate Patterns, but I wanted a loose comfy feel of the McCall’s pattern so I sized up one size to a large. Once I had printed, assembled and cut out the pattern, I measured my pattern against myself to see where I needed to shorten it.

I decided that 5 inches under the center V point at the neckline would be perfect. So that’s where my first mark went. Then, because I wanted the gathering to be under my sleeve rather than part of the sleeve like the McCall’s pattern, I measured two inches under the armpit and made a mark. I connected the two marks with my French Curve Ruler so it would have a slight curve like the inspiration picture.

For the back I just measured two inches down from the armpit and drew a line straight across. Then I just cut both pattern pieces on the lines I made. I saved the pieces so I could tape them back on if I wanted to use the pattern for a shirt in the future.

I had to make a sleeve ruffle as well as a gathered tier to add to the bust-line. To do this you can either sew together your front and back bodice pieces at the shoulders, leaving the side seam open, and measure the sleeve opening. Or you can measure the front and back sleeve opening on both pattern pieces. I Measured the pattern pieces. The front and back sleeve opening came to 19 inches. I rounded up to 20 inches to make it easy and multiplied it by 1.5 to get 30in. circumference. The reason I did 1.5 rather than 2 was just preference. I wanted less gathering. I also wanted my ruffle length to be between 4-6 inches long. So I knew my sleeve ruffle would need to be 30in x6in. and I did a 1/2in hem.

For the bottom tier I did basically the same thing I did for the sleeve ruffle except because the pattern pieces are cut on the fold I had to multiply both front and back by 2. So the front was 22in. and the back was 22 in. = 44 in. x 1.5=66 inches circumference for the gathered bust-line tier. I wasn’t quite sure how long the tier needed to be so I sewed the bodice together, then tried it on and measured to my knee. I determined that I needed to make it 30 inches long. I had a lot of fabric for this project so I was able to cut out a 66in x 30in piece of fabric. However you could also do three 22in x 30in pieces (give or take). I did a 5/8in hem.

Oh my goodness this dress turned out exactly how I imagined! I literally could not be happier with the results. It came together so easily and because I got to decide the design details, there were no weird surprises or complicated construction methods. 

This TNT Indie Pattern  The Esma Top by Blank Slate didn’t let me down. This is one of the many reasons my pattern stash consists of mainly pdf indie patterns.

Hopefully this inspired you to hack a pattern you have in your stash to make the summer dress of your dreams. Or maybe you’ll look at all your patterns as a just mere suggestions, even a “Blank Slate” with endless possibilities. Let me know some of your favorite patterns to hack so I can check them out too!

Happy Sewing My Friends!


The Esma Top Pattern

I am an affilaiate for Blank Slate Patterns. I recieve a small comission when my links are used to purchase patterns. It doesn't cost extra to use my affiliate links.

Meet your new closet staple. Esma is a woven t-shirt pattern with a flattering V neckline and a cuffed sleeve finish. Make your Esma special by adding the optional waist tie, or crop it and finish with a hem band and tie. With all the woven fabrics to play with, this pattern is one you'll sew over and over!

Esma features: 

  • Faced V neckline
  • Cuffed cut on sleeves
  • Optional waist tie for shaping
  • Optional cropped length finished with a tied hem band
  • Suitable for woven fabrics

Sizes: Women's XXS-3X (bust 30-53")

Suggested materials:
  • Dress or shirt pattern   (
  • 2-3 yards of woven fabric
  • French curve ruler
See all materials

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