McCall’s 7981 Skirt Sewing Pattern Review

In this post, I’ll review the M7981 skirt sewing pattern by McCall pattern company. I’ll share what I like and don’t like about this mid length skirt sewing pattern, as well as things I’ll do differently next time.

McCall’s 7981 Skirt Sewing Pattern Review

McCall’s 7981 sewing pattern overview

If you are looking for a simple and easy to sew skirt pattern, you might want to check out the McCall’s 7981 skirt pattern by McCall Pattern Company. This pattern is an unlined skirt with waistband, button front and pockets. You can choose between a gathered skirt or a flared skirt, and between a above mid-knee length or a lower calf length, so 4 views in total.

In this post, I will share with you my experience of sewing view B – gathered skirt and lower calf length, as well as my evaluation on the design of this skirt pattern.

My McCall’s 7981 Sewing Project

I always like a classic gathered skirt, so I chose View B without any pattern modification, which is a gathered skirt with side front pockets(different from a lot of skirt designs) and at the lower calf length. 

To be honest, I’m also interested in view D, so maybe that’ll be something I make next time! 

First of all, here’s what my finished McCall’s 7981 skirt looks like:

McCall’s M 7981 Skirt Sewing Pattern View B Review
McCall’s 7981 Sewing Pattern Review, sage green mid length skirt

And this is what it looks like when I’m wearing it:

McCall’s 7981 Skirt Sewing Pattern
Gathered skirt sewing pattern from McCall’s 7981

Cutting and Sewing Experience

Since this skirt pattern is fitted at the waist, I went with my 27” waist measurement, and decided on size M (waist 28-30”) to give myself a little wiggle room, since I don’t like my waistband to be so tight on my waist.

For the fabric, I used a mid-weight sage green twill fabric from my stash. I really like the color, as it is neutral enough to wear with different colored tops, and is all season friendly. Although the instruction says it will take 1.5 yards of 60” wide fabric to make the M size, I cut corners and ended up using less than one yard of it.

I arranged all five panels on my fabric side by side along the cross grain like a jigsaw puzzle, so that the grain is going vertically and will drape well when I wear it. In the end it is quite tight to fit all the panels as I had to shave off ~½” per skirt panel to make them all fit along. But it is not a huge deal as it is gathered style, so it is not going to affect other pattern pieces’ size or sewing instructions.

The pattern instructions are pretty clear and easy to follow, especially if you have sewn skirts before. 

And the construction takes little time to complete. The only time consuming part is sewing buttonholes and hand sew the buttons.

Fit and Comfort

I tried on the M 7981 skirt I made and found the fit was pretty true to size. The gathered skirt drapes well and flows nicely. Because I sized up slightly, the skirt was not very tight around my waist. But I could make some small waist adjustments by moving the waistband button towards the side to reduce the ease on my waist.

You can see in this photo that the waist band is not very snuggly on my waist.

mccall gathered skirt sewing pattern review
M7981 by McCall Sewing Pattern Review
I made the waistband button hole goes horizontally, so I can move the button left or right to adjust waist fit

Here are a few things I don’t like about this pattern:

Not enough gathering and flare

I don’t find the gathering was enough to make it look like a well gathered skirt, and I’d definitely like to see the skirt being at least 20% more gathered. 

Yes I shaved off the width of the gathered skirt by a couple of inches to save the fabric, but it shouldn’t not make a visible difference.

Side font pockets are not so flattering

When I saw the pattern, I thought the side front pockets are a good idea since adding things to the pockets won’t make my hip look wider. 

After wearing the skirt for a while I don’t think it is a good idea anymore. First of all, it’s not common to have pockets on the side front so when I put things there, the skirt looks a little weird. Second, wearing things in the front pocket is less comfortable than the pocket on the sides.

mid length skirt sewing pattern McCall’s 7981
McCall’s 7981 Skirt Sewing Pattern Review
you can see the side front pocket opening from this angle

What I’ll do next time:

View B: So I’m interested in trying View B again but with a few modifications. I merge the front and and side front panel on each side, and widen the entire skirt pattern to increase gatherings. I’ll probably leave the waistband as is or reduce it by 1-2 in to make it more fitted. 

View D: I would like to try View D in the near future. Since View D doesn’t use side front skirt panels, I don’t think I’ll make any modifications, maybe just shorten the waistband by a little bit to make it fit better.

Final Thought on McCall’s 7981

Although there are a few design details that needed improvement in my opinion, I did enjoy the sewing process of McCall 7981. 

The finished skirt is classic and practical and I found myself reaching for it quite often! Overall I’m happy with the outcome and will likely make it again with my own medications. 

I would rate View B of  pattern a 3.5 star out of 5. To see more people’s rating and review for this pattern, you can go to PatternReview.com – where I often check before buying a sewing pattern.

Have you made this skirt before or are you thinking about making it? Let me know your thoughts! 

Save it for later

I’ll review the M7981 skirt sewing pattern by McCall pattern company. I’ll share what I like and don’t like about this mid length skirt sewing pattern, as well as things I’ll do differently next time.

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