Taking a very simple pattern, adding two designer features, and styling the  finished garment with your favorite accessories is a recipe for a POWER DRESS! Oh my goodness!!! When I finished this McCall’s 7531 Sleeve Hack & Belt, all I could do was clap my hands. Another vision brought to life! YES!


Pattern Information

Unfortunately, McCall’s 7531 is out of print. The equivalent, McCall’s 6886, is also out-of-print. Honestly, I didn’t think they would ever remove these patterns from the line-up because they were wildly popular. However, I’m guessing they’ll put out another one to replace them. I sure hope so, because McCall’s 7531 is probably my all time favorite. I’ve sewn it at least 8 times, maybe 10.

McCall’s 7531 is a fitted knit dress with length, neckline, and sleeve variations. Views C & D have a back slit opening. It’s a beginner-friendly, “Learn to Sew for Fun” pattern. If you have it in your collection and are interested in making one for yourself, I have a Sew Along Video on my YouTube channel for beginners. The Sew Along does not include the sleeve hack and belt.


This has been my “Go-To-Pattern” whenever I want to sew a Bodycon Dress. I’ve sewn it with various types of knit fabric, including stretch sequins. The simple design makes it the perfect pattern to practice matching stripes, plaids, and other prints.


Inside the Garment

I used my Baby Lock Zeal sewing machine to sew the main seams, using a Narrow Zig Zag Stitch (2.5 length; 0.5 width). To finish the seam allowances, I used the Baby Lock Vibrant Serger. It’s not necessary to finish seams on knit garments because the fabric doesn’t fray. However, I like the look, so I always finish the seams. For the hems on the neckline and bottom of the dress, I used a Zig Zag Stitch, sewing close to the raw edge. You can sew the entire garment with a Serger. Now, let’s take a look at the inside of the dress.


Fabric Options

I used the leftover fabric from the Allie Olson Hive & Weaver outfit I made recently. You can see that project HERE. McCall’s 7531 calls for 2-Way Stretch Knit Fabrics. When I first laid eyes on this Olive Cable Sweater Knit from my local JoAnn Fabrics, I fell in love instantly, so I purchased extra. I’m so glad I did because I had just enough to pull off this beautiful pattern hack.

Notions Information

This pattern doesn’t require any notions beyond thread. However, if you’re using a knit fabric with lots of stretch, I recommend stabilizing the shoulder areas with stay tape, clear elastic, or interfacing, so that they don’t stretch out of shape. I used a Covered Belt Buckle Kit that I ordered from Mood Fabrics for the belt. The Self Covered Buttons were purchased at my local JoAnn Fabrics.

Alterations Information

This is one of my TNT (Tried and True) Patterns. If you’re new to sewing, a TNT is a pattern that you have altered to fit your body. I omitted the back slit opening and added a sleeve cuff and belt to take it up a notch. For the sleeve cuffs, I used New Look 6000 (Out-of-Print). The belt was sewn using a pattern piece from Vogue 1950.


Styling Options

I had fun playing with shoes and purses for styling . I wore a beautiful green brooch that gave the dress a vintage flair. Because the brooch makes such a classic statement, I kept the other jewelry simple. I wore a small pair of rhinestone stud earrings, a simple bracelet and ring. The beautiful olive color lends itself to various shoe options, so let’s take a look at some of my styling choices.

Styling Option 1

For this first look, I wore a pair of animal print shoes with a matching clutch purse that I made years ago. If you’d like to make your own clutch, check out the DIY Clutch Sew Along Video on my YouTube channel. 


Styling Option 2

The next look gives off a classic vibe. I styled the dress with a pair of Burgundy, patent leather pumps, and a Vintage Handbag that I’ve had for many years. I love this look so much. I can also see it with a scarf around the hair and a pair of sunglasses – Audrey Hepburn style.


Styling Option 3

You can never go wrong with black pumps. But when they have polka dots and a bow, it’s a special kind of extra. I paired the shoes with a cute little velvet clutch.


Styling Option 4

More animal print for the lady! This time I styled the dress with another animal print pump and a foldover clutch that I made a couple of years ago.


Styling Option 5 - No Belt

If you’re not a fan of wearing belts around your waist, the dress looks just as beautiful without one.


Wearing the Dress

I wore the dress last weekend to a local speaking engagement. Whenever I get hired to speak at Women’s Events, I want to look sharp because it makes me feel good. It was a 5 hour event and I was completely comfortable wearing the dress the entire time. I wore the white animal print shoes and they were comfortable too. I knew I would be standing a lot while signing books and taking photos with the guests. I took a pair of animal print flip flops to throw on during lunch break and at the end for packing up. I’ve included a couple of photos from the event.

Talking with the guests afterwards is my favorite part of speaking at events. I get to hear their feedback about how the message impacted their hearts. I am so honored to be chosen by God to empower women in the area of overcoming trials for the purpose of thriving in life, for His glory. If you’re ever in need of a Speaker for your Women’s Event, you can CONTACT ME HERE. If you would like to hear my story about overcoming two of the most devastating trials of my life and the 4 STEPS that I took to heal and thrive again, check out my book; STEP Into It, Overcoming Trials that Lead to Purpose.

What do you think?

Which shoe option do you like? I would love to hear your feedback. Scroll to the very bottom of this page to leave a comment.


Thank you for stopping by today! 💕

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(DISCLAIMER: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a small commission on qualifying purchases. All opinions in this post are my own.).)

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This Post Has 63 Comments

  1. Susan

    Your styling is wonderful! The white animal print shoes and bag absolutely elevate this outfit. The dress is an unusual colour and this combination really works.

  2. Anna

    I love option 2. Very classy and vintage.

  3. Di

    Your outfit is perfect! I’m just learning about sewing and it’s easy to see that you can teach someone a lot. I’m very eager to start learning from you.

  4. Kimberley E Oliver

    Once again, Anita, beautiful pattern choice. Absolutely stunning on you. Thank you for being a woman of class.

    1. Di

      Your outfit is perfect. As far as which shoe to wear, the burgundy seems to be for professional outings, the leopard for fun professional or romantic outings. Both are beautiful. I have a feeling you could wear a gunny sac and you would look beautiful.

      1. Anita Morris

        Thank you Kimberley! Yes, I love that the different shoes give different vibes for the dress.

  5. Mamie

    Beautiful 👗 I love the dress with brown leopard shoes.

  6. Monica

    Perfect and beautiful. I love sleeves and 3/5 length is my favorite. I see more and more the results of the changes you made this past year.
    God is truly guiding you to your full purpose.
    Keep sewing and speaking.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you Monica! I love 3/4 sleeves too. This has been an incredible year of intentional focus, change, and more healing. I’m in awe of God’s power to bring clarity through healing. Thank you for noticing, sister.

  7. Trish

    Anita, WOW what a fabulous dress. I have that pattern and now you have inspired me to finally make a dress with this pattern. I love the look with the white animal print. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you, Trish! Yaaayyy! Pull that pattern out and have some fun!!! 🤗

      1. Ida Harrington

        As always – you did an excellent job with this dress.
        Thank you for always sharing! I love looking at the behind the scenes.
        Can you recommend a dress form distributor?

        Thank you,

  8. Irene Spanner

    You always look so fabulously chic and a stylish and you are stunningly beautiful in that green cable knit dress, especially loved when you teamed it with the animal print.

  9. June

    Oh now that’s a hard one, because the dress is stunning and all the shoe options look great, thats saying a lot for me because I’m not into animal prints at all.
    I really love your work, you inspire me to keep improving and challenging myself.

  10. Debra Everett

    I really like that 👗 🥻 dress, it’s beautiful. You are an awesome seamstress .

  11. De

    Stunning! I remember other dresses you sewed using McCall’s 7531 and the green retro dress you sewed using pattern New Look 6000. That dress was ideal with its collar and cuffs. Each of the looks with the various accessories are so fashionable; you’ll look chic in either of them. I have McCall’s 7531 in my collection so I plan to pull it out and add it to my “To Sew” list. The idea of the belt and cuffs is transforming. I’ll have to adopt it. Now to find some cuffs!!! You keep coming up with these top sews – thanks so much!!

    1. Anita Morris

      Hey De!!! You’ve been here for a long time. The retro dress remains my most popular make since I launched my blog. It’s still my favorite dress I’ve every made. Have fun sewing your dress.

  12. Bernice

    Beautiful garment and awesome job!! My favorite shoes are the burgundy shoes. They dress looks great with either shoe, but the burgundy shoes are my favorite look.

    1. Lynette P.

      Hi Anita,

      This dress does not look the same with the clever details you added. I know that you have sewn this dress multiple times and loved each one. This dress right here, definitely takes it up a notch or three 😊. I hope your subscribers get a chance to watch the YouTube video sewalong. The video is so detailed.

      I’m going with both animal print shoes, then burgundy then black. I sometimes don’t think outside the box with wearing shoes. If I made this dress, I would have gone straight for the black shoes 😅…..but I’m trying to get better.

      Thanks for all the details and pictures…I find it very encouraging.

      Have a great day!

      1. Anita Morris

        Thank you so much Lynette! I laughed when you said you’d go straight for the black. LOL! Sis, can you believe I’m about to sew up another McCall’s 7531 dress. I have just enough leftover fabric from another project. So exciting! 🤗

    2. Anita Morris

      Thank you Bernice! Yes, the Burgundy shoe is stunning and seems to be a favorite so far.

  13. Linda D.

    You look great and I need to get back in the gym. Can you give your diet tips? What has been your workout routine and/or diet for the past 6 months? Looking for inpsiation. Perhaps you’ve talked about this already and I missed it. The dress is perfect, too, thanks for those details. I bought this pattern after your YT video on it with the many dressess/options shown. I recall the pattern matching was specatular . . . . . Do those earlierr versions of this dress still fit being it’s sort of a body/con hugging pattern? Take care. Best, L

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Linda! Yes, I’ve been on a life changing journey in 2023. Switched over to a Whole Foods Plant Based Lifestyle in July to deal with inflammation in my body. I feel like a new woman since making that change.

      My workout routine:

      Mon, Wed, Fri: Lower Body Weight Training (1 hr)
      Tue, Thurs: Upper Boody Weight Training (1 hr)
      Mon – Fri: Walk at park (1 hr weather permitting)

      Water intake: 1 Gallon per day
      Sleep: 8 hours (as much as possible)
      Green Smoothies: 80 oz/day (7 days a week for breakfast)

      1. Lynette P

        Thanks for sharing this sis. You look great as always

  14. Mik

    What do I think? I think you’re fabulous. And the garment, as usual, is absolutely beautiful. Beautifully sewn. Beautifully modeled. Still say that JoAnn’s should tap you as a brand ambassador. You do their yard goods proud.

  15. Nancy

    Anita, you look gorgeous in all the different styles. Stunning! Gorgeous! I don’t have one that stands out because they are all great,,, but I think the last one with the black pumps with bows looks really classy. You do it all, so very well. Sewing and modeling. And you’ve lost weight too. But gorgeous. Take care. Nancy from Fort Wayne but currently visiting my #1 twin daughter in Fla!

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you Nancy! I love all the shoe options too. Yes, I’ve changed my lifestyle and lost a lot of weight. Feeling healthy, vibrant and energetic. Enjoy your visit with your daughter.

  16. Mary

    Anita, what a beautiful job you did. You look great. 😊

  17. Caroline

    Yes I think you look like you’ve lost a lot of weight as well. I noticed it a few posts ago but now it looks like it’s quite a bit. I hope all is well.

  18. Adrienne

    Miss Anita, OMG!! ALL of the looks are gorgeous on you. And the fabric choice is perfect!! It’s so hard to chose. I chose the red shoe (a little) pop of color. You look so beautiful.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you Adrienne! Oh, yes, a red shoe would definitely pop. And I have the perfect shade of red to wear with the dress.

  19. France

    Dear Anita!
    This dress looks good on you. It’s seems to me that you have loss a lot of weight. You look very beautiful. My favorite shoes selection with this dress are the one with animal print.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you France. Yes, I have loss a lot of weight. I love both animal print shoe options too.

  20. Dagmar

    Dear Anita, this is such a beautiful dress😊, I would wear something like this for my son’s graduation ceremony If I had a chance to experience the event once more again ❤️. You look stunnig😊

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much Dagmar! This would be a lovely dress to wear to graduation.

  21. Carmen

    Miss Anita, why do you make it so hard to choose? As usual, you have created another beautiful dress. I absolutely love the sleeve hack. As for the shoes, if I have to choose one it would be the brown animal print; then the burgundy, then the black & then the white animal print. See? I chose one without cooking just one! God bless you.

    1. Anita Morris

      Carmen!!! 😂 I totally get it! They’re all fabulous and I plan to wear each pair with the dress eventually.

  22. Trudy Callan

    All of the looks are gorgeous. Hard to choose a favorite.

  23. Laura

    I love how you modify the patterns and make them really original! I love the fabric and bought some in navy and the same green. I made a sweater dress with a cowl neck, New Look pattern; N6683. The fabric is a good weight for the cold weather in Northern VA.

    I have the pattern you made this outfit out of and never would have thought to use sweater knit. Thank you so much for all the new skills I am applying due to your generous sharing of your expertise. You always look wonderful. Maybe, you can do a blog on body forms. I really want to get one.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much Laura! I love this fabric so much. I haven’t’ fallen this deep for a fabric in a long time. I purchased it in several colors the first time. Then I went back and saw they had more, so I purchased even more than the first time. I’m gonna have a sweater knit sewing good time this season.

      I love the idea of using this fabric with a cowl neck dress. Ooohhh, that sounds fabulous! I’m thrilled to hear that you’re applying new sewing skills.

  24. Katherine Lighthall

    Absolutely stunning! I need more words to describe how impeccable and perfect this dress is! I love every look you shared; I’m going to go with the burgundy shoe look only because it is something a little different and unexpected. LOVE IT ALL SO MUCH! Your work and attention to detail is inspiring. Love your book, also, by the way! So blessed to have “met” you via social media! Keep up the great work and the inspiration!

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much, Katherine! Yes, I can’t wait to wear the dress with the burgandy shoes. I’m happy to hear that you appreciate the details.

  25. Mary Adkinson

    Great sleeve

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you Mary! The sleeve definitely elevated the dress.

  26. Martha Hinkson

    Beautiful work, you make sewing look so easy!

  27. Gwendolyn Terrell

    Another fabulous dress! The animal print shoes (both) are my favorite. Will be trying that zigzag stitch today…appreciate the tip.

    1. Anita Morris

      Awesome Gwendolyn! Yes, it works really well for me with sweater knits.

  28. Barb

    Hi Anita

    I love all of the shoe selections but if I had to choose one as my favorite it would be the burgundy shoe.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you Barb! I love the Burgundy option too.

  29. Anna

    I love this dress, Anita! The inside looks so professionally done. It looks amazing inside and out.