I Keep Pushing or My Review of McCall’s M5838


caught my eye when I walked into JoAnn Fabrics a couple of months ago. Seriously. The fabric, the pattern of the dress and the fact that it was polka dotted. All of it just seemed to scream – PICK ME! And I did. I fell right into that trap.

I’m going to go ahead and go on record as saying, I do not think that I can rock out the commercial patterns. There is just something about them. The wordiness. The ridiculous amounts of steps that you must take in order to get something done that should take NORMAL people two steps. It’s all crazy to me. I looked at this dress, and its lining, and didn’t give it a second thought. I scooped up this pattern:

and the polka dot material that it was already done in, and decided to have myself a merry old time creating Easter frocks for my two daughters. Let’s just say, it hasn’t been a party.

First, cutting the pattern was ridiculous. Or, shall I say, cutting the skirt out was ridiculous. There’s a portion for the front, and two back skirt pieces. Already having done Lil’ Miss Twizzlers Easter dress (that I shall talk about at a later date – possibly – maybe – maybe not) I learned that I just wanted to work with two square pieces. Then the process of lengthening and shortening without having any type of clear function as to WHAT I was supposed to do. Who makes these directions up?! I could spend a whole evening doing Amy Butler patterns, whipping out purses, and totes, and trench coats and skirts before I could complete this one.

There’s just too much to sew to, to create a lining. Instead of doing the outside of the bodice together first and then sewing the lining together next and then attaching the two, you’re piecing everything together like a puzzle. UGH!

And the zipper installation is enough to drive anyone bonkers. It has you baste the back together, apply the zipper in a ridiculous manner and then seam rip the basted stitch apart. Instead of just installing a zipper like a normal person. Which is why the back is not done. However, I’m okay with the results thus far. Not my best work, but definitely not my worst work either. Plus the ladybug thinks that I’m a sewing genius. I’ll take it for now. Especially since I only have a few years to practice all of this seam ripping and the works before she catches on. But I still have Lil’ Miss Twizzler too.
Here’s a sneak peek at what we’re working with.

Yes that back is still undone. I’ll figure out what I want to do with it when I finish drinking the fray check in my stash.

I’m kidding. I’m just going to go and down a couple of Pepsi’s.

But only after I figure out what to accessorize this with. I thought SHOPPING for Easter outfits was difficult.

But we know the reason for the season, and that I will enjoy.


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  • Reply
    Christine M of Hartlyn Kids
    March 28, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    I always have a problem with closures and do find those commercial patterns more complicated than it has to be. It looks good so far I must admit, I too have no self control when it comes to polka dots.

    • Reply
      March 30, 2012 at 5:04 pm

      Polka dots are SO. CUTE on little girls! And the zipper instructions are ridiculous. I just end up winging it anyway. It’s just more practical for me. If it turns out wonky, well that’s what sweaters are for! LOL!

  • Reply
    March 29, 2012 at 7:01 pm

    Looks great so far! I’ve been eyeing that fabric and pattern every time I go into Joann’s too. I’ve had decent success with patterns and always try to figure out what on earth they’re talking about (ha) at least once. I find the fit of store bought patterns are better than I would’ve been able to draft, apart from the fact that I usually use a 1/4 inch seam allowance instead of 5/8 inch. I read once that patterns aren’t to teach people how to sew so I don’t feel so bad when I do it my way. 🙂

    • Reply
      March 30, 2012 at 2:56 pm

      You should get it and then help me convince myself that I am not really unable to read a commercial pattern. It was mostly easy until I get to the zipper portion. The ways that I put them in is totally NOT the way that they explain it. I’ll live I guess and her smile is worth it definitely. Thanks for stopping through!

  • Reply
    March 30, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    So adorable! Once you finish it up, I know that sweet little one will definitely enjoy it!

    • Reply
      March 30, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      She’s been eyeing it since I’ve almost completed it, asking when will she be able to wear it. Thanks so much for the kind words and stopping by!

      • Reply
        March 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm

        I also want to let you know that I nominated you for the Kreative Blogger Award! See the details for the award on my post for 3/30/2012.

        • Reply
          April 3, 2012 at 4:44 pm

          Thanks so much for the nomination! I’ll make sure to have my post up soon!

  • Reply
    May 3, 2012 at 9:32 am

    Hi. I’m making view A of this pattern for my granddaughter (in a print with contrasting polka dot trim). I totally agree that they make these things much harder than they need to be. I have a question for you though. When attaching the bodice back to the bodice front the notches on mine totally do not match up. Did you have this issue? The way I am assembling it appears to be correct, but with things not matching up AT ALL I don’t want to get two steps down the road and realize I made a huge mistake. I sure would appreciate your response on this. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Mrs. Houseful
      May 3, 2012 at 11:58 am

      It’s not just you. The way that the pattern is created doesn’t allow for things to match up properly. So I just had to rig it where it came out the way that it was supposed to. Especially with the gathering. It was a total pain, and I’m not too keen on trying another McCall’s pattern anytime soon, and I have LOADS of them from a .99 sale that JoAnn’s had. I would LOVE if you post a picture of your creation when you’re done and tag me to it though. Even though McCall’s gets on my nerves a tiny bit, I’m sure that with some practice, I’ll be able to read the instructions and just assemble in a way that fits me. LOL! Good luck. – oh, and the way that they put the zipper in is atrocious too. Just be forewarned. I used my own way of installing it, and it went just fine that way.

  • Reply
    June 14, 2012 at 10:40 am

    Thanks for posting this. I thought it was just me. I am totally confused with attaching the midriff to the bodice. I have been trying to figure this out for hours now and I’m about to give up. Any advice? Thanks. Julie

    • Reply
      Mrs. Houseful
      June 14, 2012 at 3:12 pm

      I ended up matching the bodice just the way that I wanted and forcing it together. Not very “sew worthy” of me, but it ended up working. I guess my frustration is the fact that these patterns are SO wordy! It’s nerve wracking to me, and I figure I may try this again, just with some adjustments that make me feel like less of a sewing novice. I’m so sorry if that doesn’t make you feel better, because I think that I just depressed myself. LOL!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    I’ve never sewn with an Amy Butler pattern, so I cant compare the two, but I’ve always had okay luck with the big name patterns. Though, honestly, I NEVER (and I mean NEVER) baste my zipper in like they say to. I also don’t do a lot of other basting they recommend either. I know how to attach the sleeve, I don’t want to do it twice thank you very much LOL!
    The lining feels complicated from your description too. Which sucks. Next time, trust your gut and modify as needed =) It’s a shame the pattern wasn’t more straightforward, but the dress is totally adorable! =)

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