McCalls 7688: DIY Sweatshirt Dress Featuring Custom Printed Fabric from CottonBee

McCalls 7688 sweatshirt dress made using custom printed sweatshirt fabric from CottonBee

Hi Readers,

I liked the looks of McCalls 7688 as soon as it was released: ruffles and ruching? You know I was all over it, so much so I ordered it from the States in the Thanksgiving sales. It so happened that CottonBee Fabrics, a new to me custom fabric company, based in Poland, were also kind enough to get in touch at around the same time to ask if I wanted to try out some of their fabric. Thanks to them for providing the fabric for this post – as ever, all opinions are my very own honest ones.

McCalls 7688 sweatshirt dress made using custom printed sweatshirt fabric from CottonBee

Let’s talk about the fabric first. I used one of the preloaded designs available on the website. There are literally hundreds and hundreds to chose from. I particularly appreciated the fact there are lots of modern, abstract designs to peruse. And of course, you can always upload a design of your own. For some reason, the particular design that I chose doesn’t appear to be listed: if I find the details after publishing this post I will update with a link.

McCalls 7688 sweatshirt dress made using custom printed sweatshirt fabric from CottonBee

CottonBee were kind enough to send me a sample pack first. They print on to cotton jersey and interlock, woven fabrics such as cotton, linen, voile and satin and lycra and sweatshirt jersey, which is what I selected. This is a 90% cotton, 10% polyester non-brushed sweatshirt jersey, which is looped from the back. I prewashed my fabric first on a hot 60 degree wash and there was minimal colour loss. I found it easy to cut, press and sew and it is comfortable to wear. The only thing to watch out for is that the colour is printed onto a white base, so I don’t know how suitable it would be for very close fitting garments, if you chose a dark print. Communications with CottonBee, at least for me, were fast and friendly, and delivery, which was by courier, was fast and smooth. All in all, I was very happy; I think prices are reasonable and I would use them again.

McCalls 7688 sweatshirt dress made using custom printed sweatshirt fabric from CottonBee

Now on to the pattern. This is a relaxed fit pattern and so minimal alterations were made. This pattern has you leave raw edges on the hem (of the view I made) and also on the sleeve ruffle hem (which I added from a different view). I know you can see the underside of my fabric…which is white…I just have to embrace it and move on…but in future I would probably try and use a fabric with two good sides. I still like the style a lot. It’s just a great casual pull-on-over-tights-and-boots-and-go kind of dress. And it’s a quick make. One thing I should mention which I am not so sure about is that the arm flounces don’t meet on the underside, and so you can see in the picture above: there is some curling and wrong side of fabric showing. I am guessing this is to minimise bulk at the underarm intersection. I am still undecided about whether to remove the flounces.

Pattern Review

Pattern Description: 

Loose fitting tops and dresses have sleeve variations. A, B, D:Sleeve and hem bands. C: Hood, hem band, pocket, sleeve casings with purchased ties. E: Sleeve bands, front casing with purchased ties.

I made view E but added the sleeve flounces from view D.

Pattern Sizing:


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?


Were the instructions easy to follow?


What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I really like the casual style and the ruching detail in front. If I am being honest I am undecided about whether to remove the sleeve flounces. Nothing to dislike as such.

Fabric Used:

Custom printed non brushed looped back 90% cotton 10% polyester sweatshirt fabric sent to me by CottonBee Fabrics.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • Removed 2.5 inches from the sleeve length.
  • Lengthened by 2 inches – including casing piece.
  • Twin needled around neck and stabilised shoulders using clear elastic.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might sew again. Yes, I recommend.


A fun and easy to wear addition to my wardrobe.

McCalls 7688 sweatshirt dress made using custom printed sweatshirt fabric from CottonBee

This was my last make of 2017 and I wore it on Christmas day. All caught up now…onto 2018 sewing! 🙂





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By day I work in the exciting world of pharmaceutical regulatory affairs, registering medicines (!), but by night I turn in to a sewing diva, making all manner of clothes in my beautiful sewing space (which you can tour using the link at the top of this blog). I love how sewing and sewing clothes that fit my curvy body continually challenges me. I enjoy working with all different types of fabric, and whilst I don't like to put restrictions on myself and say I won't buy RTW, the truth is that I probably rarely do buy it, preferring the fit of my own me-made clothes. I love to use natural fibres where ever possible and colourful coats are an obsession of mine! Sewing is both my addiction and my therapy. You can contact me at

6 thoughts on “McCalls 7688: DIY Sweatshirt Dress Featuring Custom Printed Fabric from CottonBee

  1. It looks great Manju. I actually don’t mind the look of the white showing as the dots are white, so it matches. Maybe in another colourway, it might irk me.
    I love the shape of the dress on you and of course, I love the ruffles.

  2. Wonderful project, your sewing is always inspiring! I would remove the ruffles, they seem (to me) to be too busy & competing with the ruching, visually

  3. You’re so adventurous! I love this. But I agree re the flounces – they’re ok but I think take off one only – looking at this page – take the left one off first to see how it looks. I think asymmetric might look great! But the hem – could you turn it under and hand stitch it down? I think it would be worth it. Tack it first to check how it looks. You could machine tack it first.

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