McCall’s 9900

This skirt pattern is, without a doubt, the pattern that cemented my interest in sewing vintage. My wardrobe largely consists of items that are vintage inspired to some degree, as well as menswear inspired. But I had been hesitant to sew dresses and skirts, as I thought I wouldn’t get much wear out of them. 

I largely wear trousers and shorts because I find them more comfortable, and wearing them prevents the dreaded thigh chafing that I am desperate to avoid. However, having cottoned on to some amazing anti-chafe bands which have held up even to hours of dancing, I decided to test making both a skirt and a dress. I was browsing the Facebook Pattern Selling groups, as one does, when I stumbled over a post from a seller with a gored skirt in waist size 30”. It had never been used – a fact which the seller had frustratingly written on the pattern in pen, and a quick check dated the pattern to 1953. I knew it had to be mine.

When it arrived I was in heaven as I unfolded, ironed and traced. The fact that it came in several panels made it quite economical to cut out too. I was able to easily fit the skirt onto a second-hand sheet of soft blue gingham and had lots leftover. Which was as well, because I hadn’t realised it was a six panel skirt – not four, and then I ended up making several mistakes with the waistband that meant it required re-cutting another two times. That’s what I get for having the iron up too high, and then cutting before triple-checking…

As with a lot of vintage patterns there’s an assumed level of knowledge. Meaning that the instructions were minimal, and if not for pictures would have fit on half an A4 page. This did lead to some confusion, in particular as the waistband instructions seemed to be very out of order. But having made several waistbands before I was able to muddle through and get the third iteration in place – including some of the best hand sewing I’ve done to attach the hook and eye.

It’s safe to say that this pattern is an absolute winner. It’s not so tight on me that I can’t easily tuck in a blouse or shirt, and it also has the perfect length for my figure. The multiple seams allows for a lovely drape, and the narrow waistband is also quite flattering. Although I am a little disappointed I couldn’t find “belting” to see what that would have been like, versus modern fusible interfacing, I am still quite confident it’ll hold well. I also feel like this is the best covered zip insertion I’ve done to date – using a second-hand zip, and a Youtube tutorial by Sew Over It for regular zipper insertion.

I have added this pattern to the keep folder, in the hopes of getting enough experience to hack it later to add a pinafore aspect to the front…

Pattern: McCalls 9900

Views Made: One-size, W30″

Pros: Very economical pattern layout, very quick to assemble, multiple seams would allow for room for fitting.

Cons: Instructions are a little lacking, and there are no pockets – but these are easily overcome!

Would I recommend it for beginners: If the instructions were a little more detailed, I would. But it may be made harder for beginners due to the sheer amount of assumed sewing knowledge.

Would I sew it again: Absolutely, and as soon as I find more good bottom weight fabric I have every intention of making another one.

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