The Little Red Dress (McCalls 6433) & the Pick My Pattern idea…

I enjoyed this project so much I’m feeling inspired to run a little sewalong/blog swopfest called “Pick My Pattern.”

What you talkin’ about Lizzy?

Well, here’s the story, Anne from Pretty Grievances sent me this pattern a little while ago. She thought it would look nice on me (clearly getting me into animal print wasn’t enough to satisfy her!). Apart from being the sweetest thing to do, it was lovely to have someone throw a dress into the virtual sewing change room to try!

from my personal stylist

from my personal stylist – the woman who got me into animal print!

Funnily enough I had looked at this pattern many times and not teetered over the brink with my online cart to purchase it. I suspect slightly more frivolous choices might have won the day… what me buy pretty dress patterns? NeverOK, only every other month…

This whole experience reminds me of going shopping with my friends, or rather when I used to go shopping with my friends! We would all troop into a shop, try on clothes – often trying on clothes that others suggested for us. And sometimes that’s when you find the best clothes of all – the things that you don’t think are you… but your friends know they are…


I think maybe a bit later in the year (there are soooo many sewalongs on at present my head is spinning!) and after my trip to London  (did I mention I’m going to London soon LOL), it might be a fun activity. People nominate, I conduct a random draw aka Kris Kringle style and people pick a pattern for another person. One pattern is relatively cheap to mail internationally… compared to fabric anyway!


I have not got around to hemming this Pick my Pattern creation yet but here are some pictures to share.

My Little Red Dress: front view

My Little Red Dress: front view

Next time around I think I will lift the neckline a little, as when I put this on I keep doing this…

My Little Red Dress - gape!

My Little Red Dress – gape!

I think I need a cut the back a size smaller. It feels a little roomy across my back but fits reasonably well across the bust, waist and hips. I made this in a crepe-type fabric, it’s fairly bulky and I think this has caused issues under the arms, the seam is quite thick and heavy. The sleeves are double thickness – and this fabric is reasonably heavy – making for three fabric thicknesses in the armhole seam. That’s a whole lotta fabric to contend with.

My Little Red Dress back view

My Little Red Dress: back view

I love love love the skirt pleats – how cute are they! I think next time I might make the sleeveless version in black. I think this is the most work-friendly pattern I’ve made up and I think black would be very practical. I made the very stupid mistake of inserting a slightly smaller zip than suggested (hey it was in the stash – I can hear you tsk tsking Winnie). It’s a bit of a wiggle to get off. Worse I made the mistake of trying it on one morning just after I got after the shower and it was VERY humid. The lining stuck to my skin (I had not catchstitched it down at the waistline, I know I know, more gross stupidity) and the lining tore along the zip as I pulled it off. Stupid weather!

Despite the fititng mishaps (hey not everything is going to be a winner first time! Plus the fabric was on sale so no tears there) I think this pattern is a great shape. I love the shape and the style. I have this tiny sneaking suspicion that the swayback poses of the model have something to do with the neckline of the dress being so low and how the shoulder pleats cause the sides of the neckline to gape a little. It could just be a SewBusyLizzy body flaw… I think having the back slightly more narrow and the neckline a tiny bit higher would alleviate this gaping problem. Then again I checked out the McCalls website and the models have similar fitting issues. I think the depth of the neckline needs to be raised. I don’t think this is a modesty thing. I honestly think the depth & shoulder pleats create an issue together.

I did really like the instructions with this pattern. They are very clear and better still they have quite a good outline of how to tissue fit the pattern.

So thanks Anne for picking my pattern. I think I will be making this one again – always a good sign that it’s a winner!


I feel like I haven’t had any time to myself lately – which is kinda true. I’ve managed to squeeze in the odd 15 minutes here and there (when you are fitting it in around dinner, bathtime, dressing for work and more it is very frustrating and exhausting) and made a muslin of a vintage dress pattern… out of a doona/duvet cover… and it’s actually not that bad! More on that soon…

Oh and I also made a gorgeous shirtdress… well I like it!


And what to you think of the Pick My Pattern concept? Hot or Not? Would you be interested in participating?

84 thoughts on “The Little Red Dress (McCalls 6433) & the Pick My Pattern idea…

  1. That’s a very cute but work appropriate dress! I love the pleat detail in the skirt, it’s the first thing I saw in the pattern envelope photo!
    Love the idea of the pattern swap too!

  2. I made this same pattern up in a drapey poly crepe and I had the same fitting issues you’re talking about. Lots of neckline gaping, back was bunchy and way too roomy. Granted I was still figuring out how to fit a pattern well so I was a little blind when I worked. I ended up making 9 bodice muslins! And still the end result was gapey and so on.

    I like this Pick My Pattern concept. I know I overlook tons of patterns for one reason or another and it’s nice to get suggestions. I’m in.

    • That’s interesting that our fitting issues are the same! It’s such a lovely design I’m going to have another go soon.
      I think Pick My Pattern will be fun for exactly the reasons you say. I’ll probably do it post-holidays which will be about May.

  3. Pretty dress! I like the idea of the pattern swap but I’d be nervous about picking something out for someone ~ but Anne was right on picking this pattern for you. It looks great!

    • Fear not, I’m sure that it’s less scary than it seems. It just depends who you get.
      I’ll post about it again in late May. I’m a bit busy right now and have a holiday coming up as well.

  4. Love the dress – and I think red is work appropriate too btw, doesn’t all have to be doom&gloom black now does it?! I really want to see your vintage dress creation. I have my eye on a few 50s dress patterns on ebay for a later-in-the-year project (after I’ve made the Cambie and the Washi and more skirts and tops etc etc etc).

    Pick My Pattern sound like a brilliant – but very scary – idea!

    • I’ve suddenly accumulated a stack of 1950s patterns. I think it’s best to buy in your size rather than grading the pattern. Printed patterns are also less scary than unprinted.
      This was my second vintages make and the fit is pretty good!

  5. This is a great idea, could we give a pattern we had in our stash, vintage or otherwise? It will be interesting/ scary to see if people ‘get you’ correctly! I really like your dress, the skirt especially and the detail on the shoulders. x

  6. such a great idea! i can’t really play right now because i’m pregnant, and i haven’t been brave enough to post a photo of myself yet, so no one knows what i look like! but, i’ll still have fun watching 🙂
    anne has great taste, and obviously knows yours as well. i love the pleats in the skirt!!

  7. I’m only a lurker at this point, but I think the “Pick My Pattern” is an original twist for a swap. If your experience is any indication, it will be very successful – this dress looks wonderful on you!

  8. Lovely dress! I agree, I think the neckline needs to be raise a bit and hopefully will help with the gaping issue. The pattern idea is great, although I’d be so nervous picking something for someone else.

  9. I have this pattern, I can’t wait to make it up! I would put my hand up for pattern picking however I have a no mu mu clause and I don’t think some people would respect that, if the social sewing ladies are anything to go by. 😛

  10. The pattern swap would be a fun idea. I do tend to think too inside the box when picking patterns and clothes for myself so it would be fun to see what someone else would pick. Your dress looks perfect for work and then drinks after. I agree with everyone else that the pleats are a very nice detail!

  11. Gasp. I was staring down this pattern just this morning… debating whether it would fit into my lifestyle or not, or whether I liked that unique neckline, whether the pleats would be difficult to make even, etc. I almost bought it but decided not to. Funny that you posted about it today! It looks wonderful on you. Maybe I should give it a try, too.

    I like the Pick My Pattern idea, especially because I’m SO unbelievably painfully indecisive about my projects sometimes, and really wish someone would just tell me what to make already!

  12. Wow Anne picked a great pattern for you, I can definitely see it in black and becoming a go-to dress. The envelope doesn’t do anything for me but your version is so much better, so many times I have not even noticed pattern until I see a great version on someone’s blog 🙂

    I think the pick a pattern concept is a neat idea, in Wellington us bloggers are talking about doing a kind of fabric version, where we buy each other a piece of fabric to make something out of, that’ll be fun!

  13. I have always liked the details in this pattern and it looks lovely on you. I am in for the pattern pick as long as it is after the mad men challenge. I am totally up for challenges this year!

  14. I think that an awesome idea! Others can often choose a lovely outfit that one would not choose for oneself because one has all silly ideas about what suits etc

    Red dress is great!

  15. Lizzy, what a fab dress pattern, never seen it before, but aren’t the off centre pleats lovely!? Very much a perfect choice for you.
    I didn’t tsk tsk, though, recognising we share zip stash limitations !! But bummer that lining ripped too!!!!
    The idea of picking a pattern is fun ( later in the year )

    • It is such a shame that we are swopping hemispheres! Yes the package arrived during the week. I sent you a tweet 🙂 its lovely and I so needed a gauge and chalk!
      I would pop over to see you but it’s cutting it a bit fine and I’m now booked to interview someone in Paris on 16th, meet-up on 20th and Madrid the next weekend. I’ve run out of holidays and money!

  16. this sounds very fun! and i like the new dress a lot. the detail on the skirt is a lovely touch! I think i need more dresses … not really but i love making them the most. 😛
    next week is march already! your visit is sooner and sooner (yes thats how time works but still yay!)

  17. It’s a really lovely pattern I think, and it’s translated well onto you! I love the pleats in the skirt 🙂 Your so right – sometimes it’s other people picking something you’d never pick for yourself that just works so well.

  18. This looks so pretty on you! I love the pleats, too. And I love the idea of a Pick My Pattern swap– actually, I have a pattern set aside for you, but I’ve been waiting to find a few more goodies to pack it up with. 🙂

  19. I LOVE this idea!!! I’d totally participate! 🙂 Your dress is so pretty; I especially love the pleats 🙂

    Also, you don’t have flaws, you have uniquenesses! 🙂

  20. Thats such an awesome idea you can count me in! I am almost keeping up with the challenges of late but this one sounds really fun!! I would do this even if my wedding was close hehe. P.S that dress looks amazing on you such a good choice. Very stunning and sexy I love the red!

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