Red Rayon McCall’s 7381

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

The photos of this dress were taken at the launch party for my friend Melissa’s brand new sewing book, Sundressing. Check it out – the book features designs for both women and girls and shows you how to alter a simple bodice block into all sorts of fun summery dress designs.


I finished this dress at the last minute, the day of the party. The details can be difficult to see with this fabrc so here’s the line drawing:


This rayon came from… I’m actually not sure where but I’ve had it for years. I at one time cut out some sleeves from it. I don’t know where the rest of the shirt/dress those sleeves were to be attached to are now however…

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

The pattern is McCall’s 7381 version C. I liked the front ties and back elastic waist. I sewed a size 12 but I think this pattern has too much ease. I’ll go down a size next time. I helped combat the ease by tightening that elastic in back but the dress is still a tag big in the shoulders and bust.

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

The only bit I messed up: I gathered the sleeves. I misinterpreted the “ease-between-dots” dots as “gather-between-dots” dots. But since the cap gathered so well it makes me wonder just how much extra ease was built into that sleeve cap? Oh, well. It doesn’t really affect the dress at all.

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

Maybe it’s the rayon or the stitched down pleats at the skirt and shoulders, but this dress has a vaguely 1940s vibe.

Justin says I look like a candy cane, and I say “why you gotta hate?”

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

Anyway, I love this dress. It works perfectly in a drapey rayon. The method of construction seemed more sophisticated than other Big 4 patterns I’ve used in the past, specifically regarding the bodice. I would have expected them to pull some unnecessary hand sewing nonsense in the lining attachment but they didn’t.

McCall's 7381 Rayon Dress

The way the front bodice piece attaches to the lining to create the ties is rather clever and the cross-over panel in center front closes with snaps. The slightly upcurved waistline in front is a nice detail as well.  The overlap in front is held together by 3 snaps. All in all, this is a great little frock perfect for everyday wear and for parties!

  • Cute dress – I love the tie at the front! And I’m digging the candy cane vibe… it just means it’ll work for holiday parties too! 😉 I was sad I couldn’t make it to the launch party, but I’ll definitely have to check out the book!

    • I hadn’t thought of that, I’m going to add this dress to my holiday party list now, too 🙂 Thanks!!

  • Oooh, this pattern looks so lovely – I’ve been looking for something just like it. Thanks for sharing. Love the fabric you picked and the pretty backdrop.

  • lisa g

    This is so cute! I love the waist detail. Will have to add this pattern to my list!

  • Jessica Walker

    Oh goody–I’ve just finished the bodice on my version, so it’s inspiring to see your lovely finished one! I’m really liking the sort of origami pleat that happens along the neckline on the way to the tie…

    • Yeah, the pleating to make the tie is pretty cool. Thanks!

  • It looks super cute! Love it! And the styling is really great too 🙂

  • I love the fabric. Love the pattern, too! I don’t remember this pattern standing out but I think I need it.

    • Thanks, the dress they use on the envelope cover is so patterned that you can’t see the design details. I always hate when they do that, easy to miss a good pattern that way.

  • Helene

    You do not look like a candy cane! More like a chic barber pole! Haters gonna hate, just wear it all the time because you look great!

    • Lol!! Chic barber pole, I’m gonna remember that next time.

  • lsaspacey

    Cute dress! I just bought this pattern so this review was well-timed. Reading the description for the dress, they describe the bodice as loose-fitting and I always try to first check the pattern language with their company-wide ease chart. FYI: loose-fitting means 5-8″ of ease for dress bodices, so yeah, I’ll definitely go down a size when I make it too!

    • Wow, I didn’t even know they had an ease chart! Thanks so much for that. 5-8″ is huge.

      • Helene

        I didn’t even know this existed either! It has probably just changed my life! Thanks!

  • Mikhaela Reid

    Super cute, I love the fabric!

  • Great summer dress and I love the vintage vibe!

  • Ros Jess

    I like your candy cane very much! Do you think that with extra fabric added to the pleats at the front and extra length on the front, the dress would be suitable as a maternity dress? I am struggling to find maternity patterns which don’t call for jersey fabric and I have a cupboard full of summery cottons

    • Yes I do think it would work with a couple modifications, adding depth to the pleats and length like you said and raising the waistline about an inch. As it is ne the dress would work for early maternity but not later.

      • Ros Jess

        I have now made my version of this dress for my daughter and i am pleased with it. I have added an extra central pleat and also added an inch or so to the top of the skirt at the front. I am very pleased with it. Don’t think I can send a pic otherwise I would