You are currently viewing SWING DRESS FROM SUMMER TO FALL + TIPS

My ‘swing’ top and dress pattern (McCall’s #M7407) has been a hit with all ages and seasons! I chose to bring my navy one into my fall wardrobe with my wrap unlined overcoat in the long version with the tie McCall’s #M7479.

I want to share a few different ways this has been made from Summer to Fall, plus some Palmer/Pletsch tips for sewing knits from the Knits For Real People  bookI love the dress AND the top but it’s the dress that I’ve made about 10 times this summer! I also love how my mom made it in a sweater knit for fall with sleeves; this pattern really works with all weights of knits and if you lengthen the armhole (because it is drafted for knits) you can even make it in a woven. I did in a rayon print.

The two pictured below are rayon ITYs. The navy one has sleeves and in the summer version I went sleeveless and left it un-hemmed… these kind of knits don’t ravel or roll. For more of my tips on this dress you can check out the earlier blog post on ‘Fashion Knits- Designing With a Simple Pattern’.

Pati’s WORD + tips:

I love this pattern and this is my favorite of the three I made. It is a fairly lightweight rayon/spandex jersey.

Even though the design is flared and very forgiving for my fuller hips, it doesn’t look like a sack on because it is fitted through the chest area. I did do my high round and sway back alterations and added ½” of width to the upper sleeves. I knew the knit would stretch, but too much stretch in a knit in the upper arm area can emphasize larger arms.


I had never used fold-over-elastic until working on writing Knits For Real People  with Sue Neall. While writing about it I bought many different types and colors of FOE and played. I just happened to have the perfect color for this top, but it was the same width on both sides of the fold. Often one side is wider so you can sew it on first and fold the wider side to the right side and topstitch, not needing to worry about catching the underside. Since you don’t need to stretch the elastic, I folded it over the raw edge (I cut away the seam allowance) and made sure the jersey raw edge touched the fold. I pinned often parallel to the edge. Then I machine basted down the middle. Then I very SLOWLY and CAREFULLY edge stitched the elastic to the neckline. Here is some art for the knit book.



Knits For Real People

Italian printed jersey

Since I decided to use a self-fabric band and since this fabric was very stretchy, I fused SewkeysE ½” fusible knit tape over the stitching line to give the neck a little stability while also allowing it to stretch enough to get over my head.



SewkeysE Extremely Fine Fusible 1/2″ Knit Stay Tape


I used ¼”-wide Lite Steam-A-Seam 2 to hem all of my tops/dresses, both the bottom edge and the sleeves. I love it! Just stick it to the edge of the wrong side. (For the jerseys, serge the edge first to keep it from rolling.) You can lightly iron on top of the paper to adhere the fusible web before removing the paper. The web is sticky on both sides, so I then just turned up the hem ½” and stuck it in place all the way around. Then I pressed the hem 10 seconds at a time until I made it around the dress. I sometimes topstitch, but often I just leave it since the Steam-A-Seam has held well for me.

rayon sweater knit

This fabric is a little heavier and has purple with abstract circles printed on the fabric.


It seems redundant to use a similar color for all three tops/dresses, but I have a terrible time finding prints I love and these were it! I added 4” to the length, but to get it out of the fabric width, I had to make a V-shaped fold in the pattern tissue to narrow the skirt a bit. I bought some great soft leggings from Soma that are a tiny bit sheer, but with the added length, I feel fine, as an old lady! Ha!

I serged the band to the neckline and turned the seam down and edge-stitched to hold it there. I wore these tops while teaching the pant workshop in October and will wear them all winter long!

We would love to see your swing dresses!


Make sure to hashtag #M7407 on instagram!

Thanks for reading! Pati + Melissa

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Patricia Yeakley

    I’m going to give this one a try. I’m a bit leary of wearing this type of dress an leggings. It looks great as a dress and top.

  2. Dianne Robertson

    Oh my goodness. The FBA was so easy to do on this pattern. I didn’t have to keep looking at a video to figure out where to cut. Thank Heaven for the
    considerable designers at Palmer/Pletsch! I think I’m going to start sewing again and read my copy of Fit for Real People with new understanding.

    1. Melissa Watson

      Thanks so much for the comments Dianne! More surprises for you… we have a new FFRP book coming out in MAY! Lots of new info and fit tips!!
      Thanks for reading!

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