McCalls 7948: DIY Snake Print Tiered Dress

McCalls 7948 snake print tiered dress

Hi Everyone!

Today I am sharing a dress which I think will split opinion. This is McCalls 7984, made in a snake print viscose. Before we go any further let me say that I know my waist is my narrowest point, and I do like to wear things which emphasize my waist, or draw attention to it. But from time to time I like to try different styles, and, although this dress is not my husbands favourite (“looks like maternity wear”), nor my daughters (“looks like a nightie”), I like it. Here you can see I have chosen to wear it layered over a merino wool polo neck and opaques and booties, but I think this dress will actually be amazing in summer with fresh white trainers or sandals.

McCalls 7948 snake print tiered dress

The pattern itself is very good. I did do a FBA and as ever you can check out my full pattern review below. One thing to note, I haven’t seen too many of this pattern made up, but one that I did spot didn’t seem to have that much in the way of fullness through the tiered sections. I did add extra width into my tiers to account for the FBA that I did (see below for details). I don’t know if I was making this again if I might take a little of the fullness out, but I think it’s just that perfect combo of comfort and ease.

McCalls 7948 snake print tiered dress
McCalls 7948 snake print tiered dress

There is a lot of gathering in this dress, and I think fabric selection is really key here to get the look you want. I think in this viscose the dress just moves and falls beautifully, but making it in a cotton or something with more body would change the look completely. I have seen a version of this dress made in baby cord and also in a (wool?) plaid and both looked great.

McCalls 7948 snake print tiered dress

Pattern Review

Pattern Description:

Dresses have back opening with thread loop and eye, and sleeve variations. A, B: Side pockets and pleated skirt. C, D: Gathered skirt with ruffle. D: Flat lace trim.

I made view D but modified the sleeve length.

Pattern Sizing:

6 – 22

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 like the tiers (ruffles), ease of wear and comfort. I think this style of dress is actually very on trend at the moment. It’s a great dress to have on hand for summer but I think it works all year round.

Fabric Used:

A snake print viscose.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • I cut a size 18 through the bust, shoulders and arms and graded out over the waist and hips. The grading out was probably completely unnecessary.
  • I did a 1 inch FBA and left the bust dart in place, but left the waist darts unsewn.
  • As a result of the above FBA alteration, and leaving the waist darts unsewn, I added 2 inches to the front of skirt pieces (again, probably completely unnecessary), and this resulted in an additional 4 inches of width being added to the front upper skirt and an additional 8 inches of width being added to the lower ruffles (I just cut 2 of the 3 ruffles with the extra width). I have not seen that many versions of this dress made up, but I think as designed it maybe doesn’t have as much fullness as mine. If I made this dress again I might think about taking some of the extra fullness out, but it works fine in this viscose fabric.
  • I did a 1 inch full arm adjustment.
  • I lengthened the sleeves by 10 inches and finished the openings with a casing and narrow elastic.
  • I omitted the pockets.
  • I ended up shortening the length by 2 inches.

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

Yes I might make again. Yes, I recommend.


Very easy to wear and definitely one of the most comfortable dresses I now own.

Until soon!

McCalls 7948 snake print tiered dress

Posted by

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

25 thoughts on “McCalls 7948: DIY Snake Print Tiered Dress

  1. Manju, I love everything about this dress! When sewn in a lightweight fabric with a wonderful drape such as your viscose, the classic trapeze dress is flattering and fun. Very clever layering to make this dress work year-long!

  2. This is really cute. I love the gathers and the easy style. I want to look for that baby cord version just because it must drape so differently. Happy sewing!

  3. This is amazing. In theory I think it wouldn’t work . But in practice – it has. I don’t know how you make it look so good. I’m short too but I doubt it would look good on me. Well done! It looks very good ! And floaty!

  4. I love this dress on you. My husband doesn’t like this type of dress on me either, but I love to wear them, Very pretty.

  5. Hi sewmanju, Just wanted to say that this style looks fabulous on you! Unfortunately They’ve sold out of the size I need so I’m trying a slightly different pattern, hopefully I can modify it to fit like this one does. Fingers crossed. Thanks for your continual inspiration! Ruth

  6. I love this Manju! It’s very flattering and as you say, I’m sure it will work just as well in Spring with trainers or sandals. I’ve recently made the Fibre Mood Mira which is very similar in style and I’m now contemplating which fabric to use for a second one.

  7. I love this! I’ve been changing my style over the last year or so to less fitted clothes. As I get older (and a little more bulgy), tunics/dresses in knits with leggings are my go-to, especially as I work at home quite a bit and comfort is important. I think my husband wasn’t a fan at first but he’s now used to it and complimentary 🙂
    I’m a big fan of yours – keep blogging!!

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