Hot! The “Plaid Rhymes with Bad, Sad, and Mad” Dress

The Facts

  • Fabric: orange and turquoise plaid cotton/wool/poly (?…I really don’t know.) blend (stash)
  • Pattern: McCall’s 6433 (stash)
  • Year: 2011
  • Notions: thread (stash), zipper ($3)
  • First worn: for photos on September 5, 2012
  • Wear again?: Meh.
  • Total price: Not sure how much anything originally cost at this point. Zipper and lining fabric together were <$7.

Because my mother’s side of the family is Scottish, Irish, and English, there is a deep, genetic appeal to plaid/tartan for me. The MacNeills of Barra Island are the closest relations (motto: “Conquer or die.”), along with the Duncans, but my family tree includes several clan names going back hundreds of years (McGill, MaGill, MacKenzie, McClure, McKenna) and they all have their tartans…

I like this more modern take on the tartan with great fall colors and a nice, non-itchy fabric with a good hand. I believe this series of plaid fabrics at Jo-Ann’s was called “British Frenzy” or something. I remember finding this strange at the time because I couldn’t imagine a Brit being in a frenzy. The British have always seemed, in general, to be a stately, decorous people. Of course, everything in life is always blown out of proportion in the States (everything’s epic, a saga, breaking news, never-before-seen, blah, blah, blah), so it is a typical Americanization.

I bought this fabric specifically to use in a bias cut skirt because it’s an even, squared plaid (I know there is a technical term for this that is escaping my brain…). But as I thought and thought about it, I realized that the colors are too unique and I would never have a top to go with it beyond white or brown and neither thought appealed to me. So, a dress it would be. Which meant I would need far more fabric to get a bias cut look out of it. And this fabric has been in the stash for at least two years, so shopping for more wasn’t an option. Anyway, I had this pattern I’d been dying to make and I wasn’t sure how plaid on the bias would look pleated.

What I like about this pattern: the extensive directions about fitting and altering to get the perfect fit, because they made me feel this dress would be perfect. What I don’t like about this pattern: the extensive directions about fitting and altering to get the perfect fit, because it made me think I needed to lengthen the bodice when, in retrospect, I see I should have just left well enough alone. Also, I don’t like the face the model is making.

And I’m not a huge fan of the neckline. Way, way too low. I should have altered it so that it was higher and more squared. It can’t decide if it’s a square neckline or a v-neck. And I’m second guessing the pairing of this fabric with this pattern. Does the pleated section just look weird? Do you even see that it’s pleated anywhere? I can’t decide.

With the fit issues and my generally blah feelings toward this, I’m not sure how much wear this will get. Which sucks, because I love the fabric. I will have to find a chocolate colored tank to wear underneath or make an insertion with the lining fabric. I’ll try to like it this fall, but if I don’t wear it much, I’ll just send it to the thrift store and try the pattern again with the non-altered waist length, the altered neckline, and a solid color fabric. In fact I was feeling so meh about this I didn’t rush to get a picture and make sure the post was up in time. Ho-hum.

Oh, well. You can’t like everything you make.


Erin Bartels

Erin is a copywriter by day, a novelist by night, and a wife, mother, dressmaker, quilter, zoo docent, painter, poet, and photographer in between. She only gets paid for the copywriting.


Comments are closed.

  1. What about a matching chocolate collar to alter the neckline?

  2. Don’t send it to the thrift store! This dress is super cute! I see what you mean about the bodice being too long, but other than that I think it’s perfect! I did have to look for the pleats, but then I could see them and loved them. If you do purge it, send it to me! ;) But I vote yu find a way to feel comfortable wearing it, because it’s really cute!

  3. Your sad face and sadder tale say it all – but you did make me smile. I do like that fabric and hope that a few tweaks make it a new favourite.

  4. That is, indeed, fabulous fabric! Maybe give yourself some time and space from it and then go back to shorten/alter the bodice and neckline (the collar idea sounds promising)? It’s funny, I’m making up this same pattern right now and will also have to modify this super-low neckline.

  5. I agree, love the fabric, which looks good on you, however, I think you might redo the bodice and neckline to see if that makes it more to your liking.

  6. I L-O-V-E this dress! And want to steal it from you for my own wardrobe. Yes, the pleat is somewhat hidden by the plaid but I’m enamored with the fabric and deep neckline. I read recently that a standard measurement in pattern fitting should include maximum depth of fashion neckline for your personal comfort… guess this is an example of why. Hopefully you can find a mod that works for your taste.

  7. Not everything we make is great, right? However, your dress isn’t bad, but I see that your don’t really like it all that much. Think of it as a test run. Next time you’ll know exactly how to improve it.

    I love that photo with the book in front of your face. It says a lot about how you feel. :)

  8. Awwwww….it’s a really cute dress, and a really cute pattern, and you do look cute in it, but I can see how it isn’t quite working. Do make the pattern again in plain fabric though – it has so many possibilities!