Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Butterick 5209, Retro '47 Dress

Thumbnail

This one had been on my project list since June so as soon as it was conceivably early enough to start Spring sewing, it went to the top of the pile. It was so perfect for Miami that I had to get it done for the trip!

I love that the pattern has both a halter and a sleeve variation, but the dress is otherwise the same. It's unusual to find an evening dress and a day dress with the same lines. It sort of glams up the day dress, to my mind.

Bodice PatternI started where I always start, with an SBA. I pulled out some of the gather width based on my tissue fit. In the end, I think it wouldn't have been so bad had I made it as drafted and it takes away a little of the shape, but the horror of having a baggy, saggy bust on a dress often leads me to the more extreme end of SBA. I considered, rejected, but later realized I should have slightly shortened the V neck distance, which is a usual part of my SBA arsenal.

Hand Baste ZipI also used my usual invisible zipper insertion technique: Start by sewing one half of the zip in by machine. Then zip it up and carefully pin in place on the other side, matching lower midriff seam and marking bottom of sewn line. Hand baste a few inches in either side of midriff seam, then hand baste remaining length of zipper. (Sometimes I get lazy here and don't hand baste the remaining length; the important thing is to get the midriff/waist/whatever seams to line up exactly on both halves of the zipper.) Then sew in by machine. This gives excellent results. To my mind, there is really no need to hand baste both halves of the zipper.

Hem MethodI lined the skirt, which was not called for by the pattern. I decided to hem it by sewing the fashion fabric to the lining so it would have a nice invisible hem. When I pinned it in place, I found that it created a cute bubble-type hem so I decided to keep that effect rather than press it down.

I had stitched the bodice and midriff lining to the zipper, but left the lining free at the bottom of the zipper. This pic also shows that I pleated, rather than gathered, the skirt lining to reduce bulk. To sew the hem, I pulled the lower edges of the skirt through the hole between the lining and the zipper and stitched together.

Ok, the real truth is that I first pulled the skirt over the bodice and the lining up through the bodice and sewed together that way. This created a Moebius Strip that could not be worn by a human-shaped person. I had to unpick it and then figure out that I needed to pull the lower edges through the zipper opening. I should have thought to sew a layer or two of tulle there to keep the hem from flattening out, but so far it's still poofy.

I loooove this dress. It is so retro fantasy. My only disappointment--and really, that's a strong word--with this pattern is that the midriff cannot be piped or made in a contrast fabric. It's obvious if you look at the line drawings but my 2D mind did not grasp it until I was making it. The front midriff is an upside down V and the back midriff is a V. So the top edges of the midriffs are offset at the side seam by about 3 inches (higher in the back, lower in the front), and I think it would just not be pleasing to the eye to have the contrast or piping offset like that.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

18 comments:

cidell said...

Very cute kb. Very very cute.

Little Hunting Creek said...

I love how you did the hem, but I'll have to actually do it to figure out what you mean. It looks very chic!

Beth Conky said...

It's superb. Love it. So cute.

Lisette M said...

I just love this dress on you! The style and colors and gorgeous.

Birgitte said...

So chic, you look very glam in both the style and colors. That's how I do the zip too- although I handbaste everything nowadays, even the muslin :)) Just call me Monk...

Jillian said...

I love your dress! It looks great!

Lindsay T said...

This dress is great on you. Very flirty. Nice job on your photo montages, BTW. Maybe you could write about your technique.

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Cutest dress ever!!

This is a great silhouette on you.

Uta said...

A very pretty dress. The high waist is a really good look on you, I think. Isn't a summer dress the perfect piece of clothing? Makes me wish I could wear one now!

Sandra said...

WOW, this style looks really great, it suits you so well. Wishing you a happy summer and thanks for all the reviews :-)

Carol said...

That's a really great style dress and it suits you perfectly. I like the halter and sleeved styles, too. It makes for a very versatile dress. We can wear a dress like this pretty much all year round where I live, so I think I might just buy this pattern and add it to my neverending list of easter sewing!

Sew4Fun said...

Lovely dress! Definitely perfect for Miami (not that I've ever been close to Miami LOL). Retro dresses really suit you. You look great!

AllisonC said...

Very cute dress and the photo styling is perfect! I do my zippers this way too.

KayY said...

Gorgeous on the boardwalk! Have you never sewn a Moebius strip before?? I thought every sewist had done it at least once, trying to make a perfectly finished item...

Dana said...

What a perfect dress for Miami - it looks great!

Vicki said...

This dress suits you so well. Really pretty.

Faye Lewis said...

Now that is adorable!

oldest poison said...

*So* lovely!