Red One-Shoulder Dress

When I ordered this fabric from EmmaOneSock, I was planning a summer blouse, but once it arrived, I could not get the image of a one-shoulder dress out of my head.  After a few days I wondered why this was so...perhaps I had been reading too many fashion magazines with red dresses in them?  So I google-imaged "red one-shoulder dress".  My gosh, could a red fabric be used for anything else?

I planned to wear this dress to a big Christmas function, then at the last moment decided that I really needed to wear something more demure.  Finally it got an outing at my bookclub Christmas party.  That's one of the things I love about bookclub.  I can wear whatever I like and everybody tells me I look wonderful!  Such lovely ladies.

I accessorised with my silver clutch.  In the background you can see the Christmas stocking my mother embroidered for me and the Advent Calendar my sister made for my kids.

I also like to wear the dress unbelted, which is how I will probably wear it on Christmas Day.

The fabric is very vivid!  I am not familiar with the designer Caroline Herrera, but this fabric was listed as being from her collection.  It is silk with the texture of a seersucker.  It is subtly embossed with shinier flowers, which are not showing up in the photographs. 

The pattern used is McCalls 6118.  I bought it for the one-sleeved version after seeing Anne Hathaway wearing a similar dress by Roberto Cavalli.  

The pattern should have been a 1 hour quickie but I had a lot of problems.  In a pattern review, I read that the reviewer found the sizing to run large.  I am not familiar with McCall's sizing.  It seemed a bit silly to muslin such a simple style, so I compromised and just muslined the neck band.  I made square shoulder and forward shoulder adjustments, which is what I would expect to make.  Then when I made the dress up, it was way too big, so I took in a total of about 6 inches from the sides  (1 1/2 inch each seam). 

I sewed a beautiful blind hem.  The fabric texture was perfect for a blind hem.  Then I had to unpick it all because the hem hung much lower on the non-shoulder side.  I didn't want to make the dress any shorter by taking up the long side, so I just made the hem much smaller on one side than the other.  The dress is still uneven, but that was the best I could do without going shorter.  I handstitched the second hem because it no longer ran on the cross-grain and I thought that I would not be able to control the hem very well by machine.

I did put the ribbon on the shoulder, but did not tie it in the bow suggested by the pattern.  My ribbon was cut on the cross grain instead of the bias because I was short of fabric, but because of the fabric drape, I don't think that this matters.

I added a bra stay to the dress, under the arm of the non-shoulder side.  This stay tucks into a strapless bra, so that the dress does not hang down on that side, or slide down over your bra when you bend over.  I have previously written instructions to make a similar decollette stay.  It is basically a length of boning inside a casing, which is hinged to the garment with fell stitches.  Close-up photos are shown below.  Sadly, these photos do not show the beautiful french seams that I made the first time I sewed the dress, but the modified double-stitched seams after I took it in. 


  1. Lovely dress! looks fabulous on you.
    I also love the bra stay, what a clever idea!
    I have some silk there to make this up, now am more inspired to do so now that I've seen how great yours looks.

  2. Hey Katherine, I just discovered your bog by accident, I was just Googling how to attach bathers elastic. It gave me such pleasure to read.
    I noticed that you also have an Elna and Overlocker. I have the Elna SU Air Electronic which I love, it is the fourth Elna I have owned, starting with the Green side control machine.
    You remind me so much of myself years ago!!
    I have been sewing since I was ten and I am now a Nonna. I am just in the process of finishing a swimmable Mermaid Tail for my granddaughter. This will be a family Christmas present for her. Cheers to you and keep up your wonderful sewing blog.


  3. I love your dress , I think it looks especially nice un-belted . I really like the textured fabric it's really beautiful . The bra stay is a great idea .

  4. This is such a pretty dress, and perfect for Christmas. I'm intrigued by your bra stay, and will file that away in my crowded brain for later.

  5. I really love that. I think u given me the idea for my New Years dress.

  6. Gorgeous dress - great colour and so stylish. The fabric sounds wonderful. Many happy wearings to you!

  7. What a beautiful dress. And how versatile that you can wear it belted or not. It looks darling both ways.

  8. I love red! The fabric is really beautiful and I really like this dress, especially without the belt. You look fabulous in it!

  9. lovely red silk and the dress looks absolutely stunning on you. Just the perfect thing for the festive season. I like it both ways as well.

  10. Hello Katherine!

    You look MAAAAH-velous! And I'd vote yes on the law to allow such red fabric to only be made into such one-shouldered red dresses. How lucky you are that Christmas is a summer thing!

    Thank you, Katherine, for stopping by my blog and sharing such kind words. And also for sharing the opinion of your daughter--because that counts the most, right? I am very grateful and touched. Please don't be a stranger! We have a flickr group and forum and those are populated to a great extent for whatever reason by some awesome Aussies.

    Happiest holidays to you and yours!

  11. This dress is simply stunning! Perfect for the Christmas season! I like it both ways, but I think the unbelted look is my favourite too... it looks quite "designer" this way.
    Your idea for a strapless bra stay is an excellent one, that I'm filing away to use myself one of these days... Thankyou for your inspiring designs!

  12. Merry Christmas Katherine xxx

  13. You look absolutely stunning!

  14. Very cute and love the Bra stay tip!!

  15. So beautiful, I prefer it without the belt, but you look gorgeous both styles.

  16. I'm inspired! What a great dress - this will be so comfortable on hot summer days, especially unbelted, while still remaining thoroughly chic! The fabric looks lovely too, such a cute texture.

  17. I love this decollette stay and your dress too. I would like to find where I could purchase that silicone stay that is used around the neckline of one shoulder dresses and tube type neckline dresses. It is seen on the inside of bras also. It adheres to the skin to prevent slipping. Any assistance?

  18. I've made a New Year resolution to say thank you to my favourite bloggers, because I seldom comment. Thank you!