Fashion Blog,  Sewing

McCalls 5850 Summer Dress Pattern Review (From A Bedsheet!)

This month finances have been  tight, there have been car repairs and furniture buying, road tax and travel. All of this boring, necessary, grown up spending didn’t leave much room for me to buy fun and crafty things or to buy new clothes. Upcycling is at the heart of crafting, so when I wanted to make a new summer dress and couldn’t really justify spending any money on new fabric, I had a scout round the house for household textiles that I could use instead. After eyeing up the curtains in various rooms (and only being put off by the laboriousness of having to make new ones) I came across the perfect solution – a bedsheet! I love the faded pastel striped pattern on this sheet, so pretty for summer and one sheet is plenty to make a full dress.


The pattern I used is McCalls M5850 Dress Pattern which is part of their ‘Create It’ range. It works in the same was as the McCalls 6466 prom dress pattern in that it gives a number of different bodice and skirt patterns that can be mixed and matched. My dress is made using the thin strapped sweetheart necked bodice and full skirt but there are options for a bubble hem and tulip hem and strapless and one shouldered versions.


I laid the sheet on the floor and cut out the pattern pieces being careful to match the pattern of the stripes. I lengthened the pattern because I wanted the skirt to reach my shins rather than finish above the knee as per the pictures on the pattern.


The McCalls 5850 pattern is very simple and easy to follow, the bodice is easily constructed and is made in 4 pieces.


Still going strong, I used my faithful method for turning spaghetti straps.


The only slightly trickier point of the dress is (again) gathering the skirt, just be sure to use strong thread that won’t strap as you gather it, there’s nothing more frustrating! I didn’t take many pictures of the actual make up of the dress as I flew through it so quickly!

You obviously don’t have to use a sheet to complete the pattern, you can, of course, buy fabric and it will look great. Although I quite like thinking of it like I’m in bed all day while I’m wearing it!


This is a really great pattern, it’s easy to adjust the length of the skirt so it could be a mini dress too and all in all only took an evening to make up.


Skill: Beginner to Intermediate (you need to be able to gather and to fit a zip)
Timescale:  3 hours
Finished piece: 5/5 – a great summer staple.

I’ve gone for grungier casual styling here with White Converse All Star Hi Tops, a silver locket (a gift from my mum) and my DIY rhinestone festival headband but the dress is very versatile and can easily be styled up with heels and a clutch bag or summer sandals and a floppy hat.





  • Louisa

    Hi, I’m new to your blog. I think your summer dress is great. I’ve just made 2 sundresses for my daughters out of old sheets and pillowcases. I love a bit of upcycling! Look forward to following your crafts x

    • Catherine

      Thanks Anoushka 🙂 I found it when I was clearing out some drawers and set it to one side as I liked the pattern so much! I think it’s been in our family for years, I’m not sure if that’s weird or not! haha. x

  • Rebecca Lindsay

    Beautiful dress. I want to pass on a tip I was given about ten years ago and it works wonders for gathering fabric.
    Instead of making 2 rows of long stitches, make 1row of a zig zag stitch on the longest and widest setting in the seam allowance. First lay the end of a narrow string under the pressure foot. Stitch over the string with the large zig zag without stitching through the string. You can tie a knot at both ends of the string after zig zagging. Pull the string to the desired gathered length. Knot or sew down the ends with a tiny straight stitch. After construction you can remove the strings and finish with serging.

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