McCall’s 7542 times two: Bubble and Tulip Sleeves

Hi all! I meant to post this earlier this week, but a horrid stomach virus took me out of action. According to my doc, it’s extremely contagious, but the good news? You can’t catch it by reading my blog :).

Spring hasn’t exactly sprung here, but I continue to sew as if it has! These two versions of McCalls 7542 are my attempt to lighten the mood in my closet by adding some more statement sleeves. It is one of the hottest trends around, probably because they are pretty fun to wear! You just have to believe warm weather is on it’s way when you’re wearing something this fun.

Bubble sleeves are how version one is described.IMG_5297Okay, I’d never heard this term, so I googled it, and was amazed at the varied interpretations of the word, ‘bubble’. The bubble look is made by simple gathering. After you’ve gathered the sleeve, it’s turned up to the outside to make the little ruffle where it attaches to the elbow of the main sleeve. It isn’t hard at all, and it’s a great way to take an ordinary sleeve to something special.


IMG_5324For fabric, I used a cotton shirting from Fabric Depot, and a remnant of rayon that I found on the sale rack there. Of course I love them both because they’re blue :), but they are also dreamy to sew with. The cotton shirting is crisp, but not too heavy, and feels as good as silk to wear! I wish I’d bought more of this!

My second version is with tulip sleeves.IMG_5386I made this version out of cotton double gauze from Fabric Depot and I love the way it drapes. The tulip sleeves are created by two pieces that overlap before you insert the sleeves into the bodice. It isn’t tricky or hard. These sleeves need to hang softly, so a cotton that was stiff or heavy probably wouldn’t work. I could imagine these sleeves would be fabulous out of rayon or silk or crepe. In fact, I just might have to try this again out of one of those yummy fabrics!

McCalls 7542 was easy and fun to sew.

The instructions are great, and I was happy that it fit without any modifications. I just made the size that I usually do in McCalls patterns. I made the longer version both times. I’m short waisted, but the cropped version was even a bit too short for me, and I wanted to be able to tuck them into my ruffled wrap skirt.  This pattern is a pretty quick sew because it doesn’t have a back zipper. The back opening is just finished with a hook/eye. I made it in a Saturday afternoon!

Both versions are part of my capsule wardrobe.


M7542 is going to be a TNT pattern for me, and I love how many options you get with this one purchase. I’m definitely a fan of the statement sleeve trend, so I wouldn’t be surprised if I don’t end up making all of these options!

My only ‘issue’ with these ‘makes’ is that on my second version, the tulip sleeves fall open all the time.  Even though the pattern instructions don’t tell you to stitch the two overlapping pieces of the sleeve together, I’m tempted. But then, the drape-y look might be ruined…What to do? Opinions welcome…

McCalls Pattern Company is having a #M7542 Contest to see who can make the best version of this pattern! How fun is that? There are even prizes. I just might have to enter:).

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!


17 thoughts on “McCall’s 7542 times two: Bubble and Tulip Sleeves

    1. Thanks, Sue! I am a bit partial to that navy version as well, and I think it’s partially because that fabric was a dream to sew. I became rather attached to it:)

  1. On the sleeve, tack it by hand to see how it behaves and then decide from there.

    I love every single version of this pattern I’ve seen. I can’t wait to dig in myself.

    they both look fantastic on you!!

  2. Cute! Your white version is my favorite. I’m also working on that exact same version right now. What size did you cut? I cut a size 10 but now I’m wishing I’d cut a 12. It feels a bit tight. Plus, I accidentally cut the front into two pieces instead of cutting on the fold, so I lost some seam allowance there. I guess I was rushing. I also cut the lengthier version, too. I don’t have enough high-waisted pants to wear crop tops. If I can get my hands on a pair of white linen high waisted pants I’ll make another version in a fun pop of color. Enter the contest!

    1. I can’t wait to see yours! I cut a size 10 but tapered to a size 12 at the hips. This is what I always do with most patterns because I am very narrow in the shoulders and bust compared to my waist and hips. If you lost a bit in the front because of your new ‘seam’ in the front (I do stuff like that all the time because I’m watching Bloodline or some other bingey thing while I sew), maybe you could add seam binding to the side seams so you can use 1/4 inch seams to give you more room? I can see you in White high waisted linen pants with a cute cropped version of this. OMG, that would be perfect on you :). I’m looking at patterns for high waisted shorts…haven’t found one yet..

  3. Love both! I’ve seen versions of the drapey sleeve in a Milly dress ( see if you can find it-it’s a good look for you) but they may be reversed with the opening on the underside. Sorry to hear about the stomach bug. That’s a nasty one!

    1. Thank-you! I’ll definitely take a look at the Milly dress. I’m obsessed with drapery sleeves right now. Yes, I’m so glad that virus has passed and I hope I never see it again…

      1. Hello again! You can find the Milly dress on the Nordstrom website. Just look for Milly butterfly sleeve dress. The sleeves are a bit longer but I think they are similar to yours.

  4. Currently making version D but you have inspired me with these two. They look really great!

    Did you lengthen the upper sleeve on the bell sleeve top?

Leave a Reply