McCall’s 7199 Waterfall Cardi

By | December 23, 2015

I had to jump on the waterfall cardi bandwagon. It was inevitable.


Just about every pattern company has released a pattern like this in the last year, and I definitely could use more layering pieces in my closet. I snagged McCall’s 7199 when it was new, and now that waterfall cardis are everywhere, it was now or never.


I had a few challenges sewing the pockets and side seams. I almost never add pockets to garments. I’m not sure, but it’s entirely possible that I’ve never added a pocket to a garment. Some people love pockets, but I’m Switzerland on them.

So, I’m not sure whether it was the directions or my lack of experience, but I definitely had to go back and do some cleanup to make the outside of the pocket openings look smooth. Maybe it was a marking or basting error? I’m not quite sure what I did wrong, but increasing the seam allowance with a second row of stitches solved it.

Also, one of the pockets dips low and creates some bulk near the hem. I noticed it when I was hand-stitching the facing down and decided to just let it be. Since it was only on one side, I’m assuming user error here–that I placed that pocket a bit low, causing it to rest on top of the bottom seam and bunch up.

In the end, I really don’t need the pockets. They’re a little oddly placed — about 4″ behind where I instinctively want to place my hands. I’d like to make this again, and next time I’ll edit out the pockets.


Another issue: the lower side front segments ended up a bit wavy and wonky. I must not have had the fabric even when I fed it through the machine or something. When pressed, it’s smooth, but in actual wear, it’s kind of puckery. I’m not going to fix it, but I will pay extra attention to the seams on this piece if I make it again.

Speaking of which, I really like this pattern. It grabbed me immediately, and I wanted to make the front-zip version on the model. I’m not totally sure why I didn’t… I think I wanted to avoid buying a specialty zip. I forsee making that version up at some point. I also love the color-blocked view (similar to how LeJanarosNotions made it), and would love to try that.

If the pattern didn’t take so much yardage, I’d be making these right and left. Because of the drape and the self-facing, it does take a sizable amount. (Although, I did notice that Suzy Bee Sews made a cute periwinkle version without facings, so that’s always a possibility…)

I spent a ridiculous couple of hours laying the pattern pieces out and cutting into the fabric. I was determined to maximize my yardage and try to eke another garment out. (I totally get this from my mom, who refuses to be dictated to by any “suggested layout.”) I fussed and fooled with placing the pieces, crowing with triumph when I found a layout that spared at least a yard. And then I noticed that a couple of the large pieces were “cut 2 on the fold” Whomp whomp.

Overall, I’m not totally thrilled, but that’s just because it’s so normal, so wearable. Apparently, I’m in the mood for something exciting or challenging or sexy. This is a cardigan. Nerd alert. I’m sure I’ll love it and all but… it’s not scratching the itch I suddenly have.


That said, I really love the lines of the back of this piece. The curves around the shoulderblades are gorgeous! I want to use the back pieces for tops and dresses, it’s that cool. You can see the lines really well in the Mabey She Made It version.

My notes:

I didn’t have a full inch (recommended) to take up for the sleeve hem. If you have long arms, consider adding a bit more length than usual to the sleeves, just in case.

There’s a reasonable amount of hand-stitching required. Having a way to clean finish the facing by machine would be cool. I get that it might interfere with the purposeful topstitching elsewhere on the garment, but I might play around with options next time.

This pattern runs true to size. I cut the 8 (6-8-10-12-14), and I’m glad I didn’t size down to a 6. The arms and shoulders are just right, and you need a bit of room to fit a layer underneath. I’m wondering if I could even make this in a non-stretch and get away with it. There doesn’t seem to be any negative ease anywhere.


I found the instructions to be solid, overall, with the side seam/pocket exception. (They’re not bad, but I totally misunderstood them the first go-round.)

The back is nice and long. It’s not quite full-on butt coverage, but it’s close. If you’re looking for something to go with leggings, consider adding just 2-3″ of length along the bottom curve of the back and you’ll be good to go.

The fabric is a ponte from WalMart. I picked it up on the same trip I bought this striped knit. It was cheap, and we’ll see how well it wears over time. Also, because of the front facings, ponte ended up being a bit heavy and bulky. I’d recommend a thinner knit if you’re considering this pattern. What I would really love is to make this in is a lightweight sweater knit.

I tried styling this in a few different ways to play around with it.

Here’s what didn’t work:

What is even going on with this look? Am I countrified circus ringleader? Fail.

What is even going on with this look? Am I countrified circus ringleader? Fail.

The shirt is too bulky, and the collars fight with each other. Plus, the lengths don’t help each. Big fat nope.

Here’s what you can do with it:


Belt it over a dress. It does add bulk around the waist, but DGAF.

You can also pin it closed. It won’t completely cover your torso, but it’s a nice option.


So, another solid though not spectacular make on the books…

6 thoughts on “McCall’s 7199 Waterfall Cardi

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Thanks, Margo! I ended up sewing a matching tank to give myself more options–now it goes with way more of my handmade items! I look forward to seeing your version!

  1. Jenni Wiltz

    The belted styling looks amazing! I wouldn’t have thought it would lay down so nicely. It looks waaaay more voluminous when left to its own devices. I might make this if I could figure out how to make the collar/lapels with faux fur…

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Yeah, the whole thing has way more body than I was expecting. I could totally see you in a faux fur collar version! You’d probably need to attach it separately, though. I find it hard to believe you don’t have a super glam detachable collar stashed somewhere…

  2. Karen

    It wasn’t just you with regard to the pockets. I am currently making the zippered version of this for my daughter for Christmas and am tearing my hair out with the pockets! I have been sewing for over 40 years and have made many garments with side seam pockets, but I followed the instructions as written even though they seemed wrong to me. And of course, I believe they are. McCalls needs to rethink these.

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      So good to know! Phew, if someone with experience is seeing red flags here, then I feel a lot better about my reading comprehension skills. 🙂

      Thanks for letting us all know — and good luck with the version you’re making for your daughter! (Gift sewing can be more stressful, since we want things to be perfect for the recipients, right?)

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