Friday, September 17, 2010

Butterick 5382, Pleat Neck Empire Waist Dress

B5382 Thumbnail

Based on what I see on the street, the pleated neckline trend is still going strong so I decided to make my fabulous hot pink and black G Street Fabrics $2.97/yd knit print for possible inclusion in my Turkey wardrobe out of Butterick 5382.

I had previously purchased nearly identical Vogue 8593. However, the Vogue does not have a waist seam and I have pretty much given up on dress patterns that don't have a waist seam. For a serious pear like me, it is the rare pattern in which I can cut a 6 or 8 shoulder/bust and a 12 or 14 hip in one length of fabric and have everything work out in the way it hangs and fits. I really need a waist seam that will allow me to dart extra fabric into the lower half. A waist seam also allows for much better swayback correction. So I was overjoyed to see the Butterick pattern come out with the waist seam and skirt darts. V8593 can be made into a great tee as demonstrated by KBenco, so the pattern won't go to waste.

This dress was so successful and so easy once you put in the pleats (only four pieces, plus sleeves and a way to finish the neck) that I decided to go ahead and make it again with short sleeves.

Small Bust Adjustment As with Burda 11-2008-111, I found that where the shaping for the bodice and bust is in neck pleats, the small bust adjustment is done by shortening the lower edge of the bodice piece at center front, tapering to nothing at the side seams. Here, the shape of the bodice pattern is actually concave at the center front and it would be more trouble than it's worth to adjust the pattern piece. Once the pleats are made in the fabric, it's easy to cut off that lower curve.

Hand tack facing The most challenging part of this pattern is finishing the neck, simply because there is a huge amount of bulk with pleats upon pleats. For the pink version, I actually used the facing (*gasp*). The black/pink fabric is a thick, spongy, cottony (yet polyester) knit and there was no way a binding would work. I lengthened the back facing to give it more weight and help it stay in place better. Once sewn in, I hand tacked it at the shoulders, the front pleats (hidden by the other pleats upon pleats) and the center back. The plus side of this thick fabric is that although there is no seam at CB, my hand stitches taking up a few threads of fabric don't show.

Knit Binding and Topstitching The black and white fabric was purchased from Fabric.com with all the Vera Wang pieces back in January for $1.95/yd. However, based on the product code, it is not actually from the VW Lavendar Collection (it doesn't match the style/colorway, either). It's one of those really stretchy wovens that are so stretchy they're almost a knit. Not lightweight, but not as thick as the black and pink fabric.

I decided to finish the sleeve and hem with a serger rolled hem in black, so to continue the black finish motif I used a black knit binding at the neckline, intending to act somewhat as piping. I cut it about two inches wide (should have done 3, given how much bulk it has to fold over), folded in half, sewed it to the right side of the neck with the cut edges aligned with the neck edge, rolled it to the inside leaving just a hint of it showing at the neckline, and topstitched in place. I probably should hand stitch the seam allowances onto the pleats at CF, but so far they have stayed in place.

I had been planning to get myself a Brother 1034D serger for my birthday because the tension on my secondhand White is not great. However, it had been behaving so well and I have been spending so much on travel lately that I decided to defer it. But for this project I couldn't get a good rolled hem on this fabric so now I'm considering whether I should just go ahead and get it. For the hem edge, I folded the fabric along the hemline and then serged juuuuuust next to the fold. I miraculously did not cut into the fold anywhere! This gave it more body for the serger to grab onto, but the tension wasn't enough to actually roll the hem to the inside.

Pink Side The Price of Swayback Definition This knit dress pattern is drafted with a zipper at center back. I thought that this was one place where a knit dress might actually need a zipper because the neckline appeared narrow, but several of the pattern reviews said it could be left off. Sweet!

For the pink version, I cut the bodice back on the fold but the skirt with a CB seam for swayback purposes. I had to tweak the length of the back dart, ultimately adding about 1.5 inches. I also had to shorten the front dart about an inch to give myself more belly room. I didn't fit the swayback closely because I wanted to keep that room in the belly.

However, for the black and white version, I decided to do an exposed zip using a metal zip I believe I bought at Jomar a couple years ago. This trend has been around for so long that I'm sure I just gave it the kiss of dress by finally making a dress with one but that's ok. Because of the zipper feature, I wanted a close fit at the swayback because a baggy exposed zip was not the sexy look I was going for here. However, you can see the price I pay for swayback definition: belly definition. Before you protest: (1) I know I'm slim (and I work hard for it), it's a proportion thing. (2) Especially looking at this picture, I can see that with the architecture of my body there's just no room for organs if I had a flat belly. This was taken first thing in the morning when my belly is at its flattest *and* I was sucking in. It normally sticks out about 2 inches more than in the photo. For real. I generally look about 5 months pregnant. I think I will only be wearing this dress when it's cool enough for tights. Tummy-sucking-in tights. Not to mention that this fabric is the plasticky kind of polyester; definitely can't be worn when it's hot anyway (warm, maybe, but not hot).

Exposed ZipI install an exposed zip just like a regular, non-invisible zip: baste the center back seam, right sides together; press seam. Place zipper over the seam, in this case on the outside of the fabric. Stitch. Unpick basting. At the lower edge of the zipper I turned in the little extra flaps of zipper tape and at the top I caught them in the neck binding.


My only quibble with this pattern is that the sleevecap of the long sleeve is too high and pointy. I thought that would be the case when cutting it, so I basted it in and it created a little peak at the shoulder. I rounded out the curve and it installed much more smoothly. The sleeves are a little slim cut as well, but of course I serged off my seam allowances (did both dresses almost entirely with serger construction) so oh well.


Pink Front Circles Front LOVE this pattern, tummy psychosis notwithstanding. Of course, my taste in crazy prints means that the neckline pleating detail is pretty much lost, but I know it's there.

I am calling the black and pink version my "architectural dress" because both the pleating detail and the print are architectural. I spent a lot of time laying out my fabric to get the best looking print layout, resulting in an uncharacteristic amount of wasted fabric, and I succeeded beyond my expectations. I love the way the bodice front and skirt match up and I *think* the print matchup there is low enough and close enough together that it does not look like peek-a-boobs, just like a cool design feature. I like the pattern placement on the sleeves, and the long lines on the skirt lengthen my short legs.

I'm not quite as crazy about the black and white version. However, I hope the boyfriend will like the exposed zip (though he doesn't notice clothes 98% of the time--my fashion is wasted on him unless it's short and tight, but this is sort of both so fingers crossed) and it looks good under a black jacket for a work thing that doesn't require a full suit, like a speaking engagement.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

39 comments:

Pammie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pammie said...

Fantastic dresses!! I see you are back in your medical boot!!

I'm impressed with your output despite your injury!

Trudy Callan said...

Wow! Those dresses are super gorgeous. I especially love the one on the left.

I received a beautiful blogger award on my blog. I know you don't put awards on your blog, but I still wanted to do a mention about you anyway because I love your blog so much. I'm going to copy and paste what I said so you don't have to read the whole post if you don't want to or have time; it's a bit long because I tell ten things about myself and then name other blogs I would like to pass this on to. I wanted to let you know about this so that you know just how much I appreciate and love your blog and the trouble you go to to share with us each week.

Here is what I had to say about you:

"I also would like to mention that I would like to award this to Gertie of a Blog for Better Sewing and Trina of the Slapdash Sewist, but I don't think they post awards on their blog. Of course, they are welcome to mention that they received this in a post or post it in their sidebar if they would like, but there is no obligation. I'm okay either way. I just wanted to mention them because I love their blogs so much, and they are a daily must-read. I'm sure you will agree. You probably already visit them, too. Who doesn't? They have the most amazing blogs and are such amazing dressmakers."

Trudy
www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

Mary said...

Well, how do I choose which dress is my fave? I just can't. I am drawn to the b/w due to the cap sleeves and the swirls...it just looks frivolous, in the nicest way. I like the exposed zip too. I would buy or make this dress in a heartbeat. I also like the black/pink dress with its byzantine print.

tanitisis said...

Those are lovely. My favourite is the pink---I lovehow the pleats and the pattern interact. The fit of the black and white is gorgeous, though. I share your round-bellied pain... I too tend to look 5 months pregnant if I'm not careful (which is a real joy around my oh-so-tactful in-laws, I'll add). The swayback definitely makes it worse :).

Karin said...

Both dresses are winners. I am also a pear and I think your comment about needing a waist seam is spot on.

I prefer the short sleeved version where you have done the sway back adjustment. Your belly looks normal to me. I think if you look at people from the side, the line of their lower back tends to parallel the line of their tummy. It's just anatomy. People only don't look like this when they are airbrushed in stills. And then, you are in uncanny valley territory.

Finally, I think you might be right about exposed zippers. I was on Oxford Street 2 weeks ago and the big H&M on the corner of Regent's Street had dresses in the window with exposed zips. By the time stuff trickles down to H&M it's probably at the end of it's run.

Rosie said...

T - I like both dresses on you. Hope your leg is healing well/quickly.

KID, MD said...

Both dresses are fabulous! The prints distract a bit from the boot. ;-)

Little Hunting Creek said...

These look AMAZING - I especially love what you did with the fabric design on the pink one. Gorgeous

Clio said...

I can't decide which dress I like better. Both are great. I totally hear you with the waist seam - I have the same issue.

BTW - I just posted about the Jalie panties test wearing...

Rachel said...

I love your dresses. Thanks for explaining how you did the exposed zip. I am about to do an exposed zipper on a dress and that is how I was planning to do it. I am happy to know it works.

Adelaide B said...

Both dresses are great, but the pink is my favorite! You've done a great job matching things up. (This is my weakness. I just want to cut and go.)

meli88a said...

These dresses are awesome. I love how the border print, neck pleats and matching all worked out on the pink one. And the exposed zipper really makes the black and white one. I'm also glad that you never tell us what size you cut and sew because that would make me covet your wardrobe all the more!

Nancy K said...

Glad you know that you've got belly psychosis going on because otherwise I'd have to hate you. You look great, even with the brace. I hope that you are able to get rid of it before you trip. I do like the black one better too. The fit in the back makes it look slimmer perhaps? Anyway, I think it looks great on you.

Sewfast said...

They both look fabrulous and I love how you worked the print int the black and pink one! They both are smashing with the boot!

badmomgoodmom said...

I like the way both versions look; but you are the best judge about which you enjoy wearing.

The way the print and the pleating look on the black/pink version is 'shear' genius!

BTW, my build is very similar to your build and I have had people rub my belly and ask me when the baby is due.

Vicki said...

I hear you about the belly too. I am very short in the torso, so where else do the organs go but out!? But back to the dresses. Both are really nice. And I noticed how well the architectural dress matched up before you mentioned it. Great work. Not so slapdash!!

AllisonC said...

I really love both versions, you have got good value for money out of this pattern!

sewabeginner said...

OMG you have totally sold me on this pattern. That hot pink version is GORGEOUS!!!!!

Big in Japan said...

Total awesomeness! I actually like the closer fit of the b/w dress, you look great.

Jenny said...

They are both really pretty! I'm loving the mismatched boot look, too. :-)

Rebecca said...

I love both of those dresses! I have the Vogue version in my queue!

Nikole R said...

Just a thought, do you think the stomach protrusion could be more about your posture than your need for organs?

I say this because I'm not slim, never have been, and I've always had a stomach but I noticed that posture plays a big part in how we look and learning to sew made me realise that

Linda said...

Really like both dresses. Great job with the Architectural dress, the way you matched up the fabric was a nice touch.

Eugenia said...

Two fantastic dresses!! I love the style - I think that pleated necklines are very flattering and elegant looking. The way you have used the fabric in the Architectural version is very clever and it's such nice fabric. The exposed zipper on the black and white version is an inspired touch - it gives it a nice bit of 'edginess'.

Uta said...

Both dresses are stunning, and perfect for fall! Seeing what's worn on the street, I feel like the pleated neckline is going strong (at least here in Germany!), and it's a very flattering look.

kbenco said...

Both dresses are great, but the pink and black one is giving me a serious attack of copy -itis. The way you have arranged the pleats with the print is awesome.
Thanks for the flattering link to my t shirt attempt. I am now wishing I had done a better job on the binding....

Alex said...

Wow I love both dresses but the pink one is stunning I love the fabric!!! I'm usually horrible at commenting, but I just had to let you know how much I loved that dress.

ELMO said...

I love the way you matched the print, great dresses!

Carol said...

I love both of these dresses, but I want to steal the pink one.

mochimo said...

I adore both of your dresses!
Your comment about the exposed zipper having been around for too long now made me smile. I only recently saw my first 'real' one in a shop window here in Italy. And it was in a designer shop. And it was a dress of the new Fall collection. Everything is relative. The same is happening with the ruffle trend. According to what I read, it is almost passé in the US, but it is very current in Italy: we had a few for Summer and heaps now in shops for Fall and Winter. I just guess that 'street fashion' is really dictated by US movies and TV series, not the Milan fashion shows ;-)

BConky said...

I like them both. Cute. I think I'll pick that pattern up for my daughter in law.

Zena said...

Both dresses look great. I think the use of negative space on the skirt on the pink and black dress is especially flattering.

McVal said...

LOVE how your matched the fabric patterns! And how both match your cast...
Cool!

Our Heroine said...

Your pattern placement on the pink dress is amazing! The dress is so cool, and even if the pleats aren't obvious they add shaping and interest at the neckline.

You are hot! in the white dress! The fitted shorter style really shows off your figure. I understand not feeling comfortable without tummy control, but in the photos you look beautiful :)

Your fab knit dresses are a huge inspiration to me!

Angela said...

Fabulous dresses!! I love the pattern placement on the pink dress! It's a very flattering style!

gwensews said...

Those are both very pretty dresses and look fantastic on you. But oh, your poor leg!

Cennetta said...

Great dresses. Love the attitude.

Sigrid said...

Wow Trena, you certainly know how to use a print. What fantastic dresses. My favorite is the red/black one, but both are wonderful.