Hot! The “Third Time’s a Charm” Dress

Third-promo The Facts
Fabric: Blue Gingham – $5 for a bolt; Floral stripped cotton – $3 from estate sale; Rust cotton print from Stone Mountain & Daughter – $12
Pattern: McCall 6511
Year: c. 1946
Notions: None
Time to complete: 4, 3 & 2 hours
First worn: November 2010
Wear again? Yes. Definitely!

Total Cost for all three dresses: ~$20

After my sewing drought, I’m happy to say that I produced not one, but three dresses in the past two weeks that are all perfectly wearable. 

The pattern has been in my stash for quite some time, and though I really love the illustration on the envelope, I’ve put it aside because it just seemed like it wouldn’t look as good once sewn.

This dress has certainly been a tale of the three bears. The first version I made — the blue gingham — was just a bit too long. The second — the blue floral stripe — was a bit too short. It’s the third one — the rust color dress — that seemed to be right length. Along the way, I dressed up the neckline with a bow.

The skirt of the dress is gathered only in the front, and surprisingly, calls for more fabric than you’d think. Because the front pieces are so wide, they need to be cut on a crosswise fold and in all I’ve needed about 3 yards for each dress. The shortest dress ended up being the shortest dress because I just didn’t have enough fabric.

The pattern is so so simple. There are darts in the back of the bodice, gathering at the front shoulders and just the general construction. By the third dress, I’m was able to finish in about two hours.

I’ve been looking for a dress that would be super easy to teach women who want to learn how to make a dress in less than a day. I think that I might have a contender with this one. 

By far the biggest compliment about the rust version of the dress: One of the places I buy fabric is staffed by folks who really really seem to hate the customers. One of the staff members who has never even acknowledged me said it was a “great dress.” Mission Accomplished.



Mena Trott

Mena Trott started The Sew Weekly to document her attempt to sew all of her own clothes in 2010. Since then, she's made over 125 outfits and has way more clothes than she needs.


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  1. Wow! These are great! Third time is a charm–the rust dress is my favorite too (though I really like all of them!) great job!

  2. This is, indeed, a great dress. Retro, yet still modern- demure and modest, yet somehow sexy. It looks super comfortable as well. Thinking of all those truths it just might be the perfect dress!

  3. Amazing job!

  4. I have never brought this kind of pattern because I thought the sleeve length would be too short for me. I love where the sleeves fall on the arm. This is my favorite dress so far. It’s really pretty and I love that it’s something you would never find at a store. Nice job!

  5. All three are fantastic.

  6. The striped version is my personal favourite but all three are fantastic, and so flattering. Bonus that they’re easy to make, too! I like the new bangs as well ;)

  7. BTW how do you get all of these beautiful dresses in your closet?

  8. Hi, I love the dresses. I too like the blue stiped one best – and I think that length is perfect on you. I have loved reading about your dresses – very inspiring!! Thank you.

  9. I love them all so much! I wish I lived closer so you could teach me!!!

  10. They all look great, but I have to agree that the rust coloured one is the cutest…However, the floral stripe is a really close second!
    BTW, Butterick’s 5209 (a vintage pattern reprint) looks really similar to this one, if people would like to try it…

  11. I have to say I like the shortest length best on you, the others are a tick too long in my opinion! But a great style, you look lovely in them all!

  12. I think the middle one is the perfect length, actually! Love it!

  13. Oh my goodness–all three versions are so charming! I just love how you made three of them too; proof of a pattern that you’re in love with. ;) I just added this one to my wishlist of vintage patterns to find, in fact! :D
    ♥ Casey | blog

  14. They are all nice, but I love the orange one.

  15. They’re all great! But I LOVE the pattern (and the length) of the middle one :)

  16. New to your blog- I love it, very inspiring. I’m curious about how you are able to finish your dresses so quickly. It usually takes me almost that long to cut my fabric. Do you have a secret?

  17. just love your blog, only one request can you make the pic’s of the sewing pattern bigger? Am a collector of vintage fabric and sewing patterns and is for me hard to match the fabric with the sewing patterns, and you have a talent for it. Thanks so much!! Martha.

  18. Great pattern. I actually favor the shorter dress as I think the hem falls in a most flattering part of your legs. Very cute!

  19. Actually, I love the length & look of the 2nd dress (“Too Short”). Great job on all three, as always!

  20. the dress from the middle is so cute
    you are master!!
    good blog

  21. Did you alter the fit any, aside from the hem, on the rust dress? It seems like the other two, especially the short one, fit much better than the last. Maybe the deep blue and the belt just hide the frumpy bits. Show off those gams and wear the middle one!

  22. I just stumbled onto your site and I love what you’re doing! What beautiful clothes. You inspire me!