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! 🙂






Posted by

I love to shop, but I also love to sew my own clothes, and am currently on a mission to improve my (fairly basic) dressmaking skills. I confess to going into shops and being outraged at the prices of some (not very well made) garments (is it an age thing?) and think "huh, I could make some thing at least as good as that for less" (is it something to do with coming from the Indian subcontinent?) So this blog details my sewing endeavours, both good and bad....I love to nosey through other people's sewing everyone can get to see mine.

5 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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