This Butterick 5130 style was all over RTW and I was pleased to see it in the Butterick catalog. A few people on Pattern Review made it and I was totally sold.
I had a vision of actually making this (*gasp*) in a solid, specifically, an avocado colored solid. I was on the hunt for such a fabric the last time I went to NYC, but couldn't find any such color at Spandex House (they tend more toward primary colors) but then I found this print on the street-level floor and fell in love. It was $8/yd, which is steep for me, but I had to have it and knew it was specifically for this dress.
The bodice is designed in several parts and the seam allowances are used for the elastic casings, which is a nice, easy way of doing things. I would quibble a bit with the design/construction order, as you insert the lower elastic into the bodice back and construct the dress before creating the back neckline/raglan sleeve casing, and I found it difficult to keep my fabric flat and create an even casing with all that elastic ruching already in place. However, after completing it I tried to figure a way around doing this (the lower elastic ends are caught in the armscye seam) and couldn't come up with one so maybe it's unavoidable.
They do that annoying thing where instead of publishing a chart in the instructions to tell you what length to cut the elastic they have tissue pieces that you are supposed to use as guides. I really do not understand this. I totally understand including pattern pieces even for things that are simple squares like belt loops--unlike BWOF, which gives you the dimensions and has you draft it yourself--because they are aiming at both beginning and experienced sewists. But the elastic guides do not fall in this category. So I have attempted to create my own. I couldn't find a WYSIWYG application in Blogger for tables, so excuse me if I have bad code. (I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get rid of the huge space--I don't see it in the code.)
|Size 8||Size 10||Size 12||Size 14|
|Piece 9 (bodice upper and middle front)||13 3/4||14 1/4||14 1/2||15|
|Piece 10 (boduce back)||14 3/4||15 1/4||15 1/2||16|
|Piece 11 (waist)||28||29||30 1/2||32|
|Piece 14 (back and sleeve neckline)||22||22 1/2||23||23.5|
I cut the elastic for size 8.
For the bodice upper front, I shortened the elastic 2 1/2 inches
For the bodice sleeve/upper back, I shortened 4 inches.
I expected the waist elastic be too big, but it fit surprisingly well. Perhaps having something to do with the fact that it was up on top of my boobs instead of under them.
So I added another row of elastic *under* the bust, using the selvage as my casing and my duct tape double to get it approximately parallel to the floor. I don't know how well I succeeded, but with all the elastication and gathering a little crookedness isn't noticeable.
I wondered if my boobs had suddenly dropped and I was now low-busted (quite a feat with an AA cup), but just about everyone on Pattern Review had the same problem and added another level of casing as well. I was a little surprised by this problem, as the pattern was otherwise well thought out, well-drafted, and well-designed, and my problem with the Big Three is the drafting for huge, low boobs that requires me to do massive SBAs. Odd.
The instructions for the sleeve are for a regular casing at the hem, but I decided to echo the topmost front bodice casing, which is stitched about 3/8" and 5/8" down from the top to create a little bit of a ruffle above the casing. I took about a 1 inch hem in the sleeve, and stitched two lines for the casing at 3/8" and 5/8" and I like the way it picks up that bodice ruffle.
This summer one of my comfort-zone departures was to make shorter dresses, so I shortened this one 1.5" in cutting. Because of my height, if I cut things as drafted they are massively long so 1.5" seemed very conservative. But perhaps having to do with my additional casing I felt that it ended up *too* short. I wore it unhemmed once, but was just unhappy with the length. So I thought about it and decided to add a band at the hem and topstitch with a twin needle to make it look like a design feature. It doesn't really show much in person or in pictures because of the busy print, but you can sort of see it here. When I wore this in Hong Kong (site of the thumbnail harbor photo and the walk at the peak on the right) AllisonC noticed the hem band, but thought it was an intentional design feature so I'm satisfied.
This was a great dress for summer. I took it with me to Asia and to Spain where it worked with footless tights for cool days. The shoulders are very wide set so I had to wear clear bra straps and make sure they were tucked away inside the sleeves, but other than that it is not fussy or uncomfortable to wear as the elastic need only be fitted, not tight. I hope it's still in style next summer!
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.