I think the first version of Butterick 5520 that I saw was Eugenia's, with the lace overlay on the sleeves. I liked the dress as a classic sheath with embellishment possibility, and when I saw that it had a peplum I was really into it.
I associate the gratuitous peplum like this (a peplum in a jacket is both design and functions to add length) with the 80s, but it is not entirely out of date. Balenciaga put this sleeveless number with asymmetric front slit on the runway for Fall 2008 (although since F2011 just walked the runway, it is still not exactly au courant). Charlize Theron totally worked it on the red carpet without the arm covering thingies. But I don't need the peplum to be in style. It is a great shape for a pear--in exaggerating the hip, it actually disguises it.
I bought the wool at H&M Fabrics in NYC in November. At $10/yard, it was expensive by my standards, but I just adored it. Although PR's stash contest was running the past two months and I generally try to sew up stash, I just *had* to get this piece done. I felt like I needed to get it done while the current 80s moment is on. But when it was done I was surprised at how un-outrageous it is. You put the words "peplum," "houndstooth," and "hot pink satin" in the same sentence and you expect to be a little over the top, but this is almost...tasteful. Which is nice, because it should be able to stay in my wardrobe for many years.
I started with Broad back adjustment and small bust adjustment. When it was completed I thought maybe I shouldn't have done the broad back adjustment because when my arms are at my sides the extra fabric sags a little there and the back is overall a touch baggy. But later I felt vindicated because even with the broad back adjustment I popped the stitches on the lining under the arm when wearing the dress and vigorously messing with something on the floor. So I will have to deal with the slightly saggy back in order to have full range of motion.
For the SBA I narrowed the dart.
I also shortened the bodice an inch. I have a high waist but a long torso so I generally don't mess with the length of the bodice. Here, I wanted the waistline to be slightly high as I didn't want the peplum to hit me too low on the thigh. If I made this again, I would probably shorten the waist only 1/2 inch, but I am happy with where the waist hits me on this project.
I lined the peplum in hot pink rayon satin, purchased from Fabric.com for $2.79/yd last September. While I love the contrast underside, I wanted to ensure that it would not show unless the peplum flipped up. The first step was to trim the side and lower edges of the peplum lining to make it slightly smaller than the fashion fabric. This creates a turn of cloth after they are sewn together.
Anytime I am pressing a lining or facing, I always press from the underside. As I arrange the fabric for pressing, I make sure that I can see the tiniest edge of the outer fabric and then press. If you can see the tiniest edge of the outer fabric from the underside, you won't see any of the underside when the garment is on.
Here you can see that the pink satin lining does not show at all when the peplum is laying flat, and you can also see the tiny edge of the fashion fabric that shows from the underside. This closeup shows a little better how you can see the edge of the fashion fabric rolling over the lining.
I use invisible zippers almost exclusively. I will only use a regular zipper if the fabric is thick and crosses a seam so that an invisible can't be invisible (or if it is invisible, won't slide past the hump). I used to be competent at regular zippers, but I now do them so infrequently--no more than two a year and probably less!--that I have completely lost my touch.
The last time I put in a regular non-invisible zipper (I think it was over a year ago on my houndstooth fail dress) I decided that the next time I had a regular zipper to do I would just hand pick it. So that's what I did here. I basted the center back together as for a machine insertion, pinned the zipper, and sewed it in with a prick stitch (tutorial on Somerset's blog). It didn't take too long, maybe 25 or 30 minutes. I would have spent that much time sweating it over the machine and it would have looked terrible. I can see doing a fancy beaded hand-picked zipper for a special project.
I'm still not entirely happy with the zipper as I feel that the "lips" open up a little over it. I actually did my first lapped zipper to see if it's better when making the skirt of the leftover fabric so stay tuned for that...
Another downside of regular zipper--you have to hand sew the lining to the zip. Again, didn't take very long, but man, an invisible zipper is so much easier in about 12 different ways.
While the pattern is well drafted and all the parts fit together, for some reason the peplum just does not sit right for me. You can see that it sort of bulges out about halfway down. I had to take a hand tack on the front and back openings to get them to lay right. I don't know what that's about. In cutting, I spent a long time decided whether I wanted the peplums on the bias or the crossgrain for visual interest, but ultimately decided that houndstooth, peplum, and hot pink satin were enough visual interest and cut them per the marked grainline. So I don't think it's a grain issue (though the print is very slightly off grain and I cut with the print rather than the actual grain). I guess they need to be shortened at waistline at CF and CB for me? I don't know.
The final finishing touch for this project was a hand hem with hem lace. Here I did not do a fancy stitch, although I have seen hand blind-stitching and it is exquisite. I just went with my default, the whip stitch.
This was a rather painstaking project, starting with cutting everything out in single layer. Even that was harder than it could be because the houndstooth on this fabric are printed on rather than woven in, and they are very faint on the wrong side of the fabric. So the first piece was easy to cut, but lining it up with the second piece was no fun. However, all the houndstooth match and are straight, although the back hem mysteriously does not run straight on the right side. I counted the houndstooths at the CB and right side seam and there are the same number. I traced the houndstooths across the right skirt and they run straight across from the CB seam to the side seam. I just can't figure it out. I'm pretty sure I am cursed in this arena. However, it is not nearly as horrible or noticeable as the last one.
But a nice wool dress deserves painstaking and I don't begrudge any of the effort involved. I have only worn it once and will try to wear it one more time before cold weather ends. Knowing I have this in my closet will make next year's onset of cold weather bearable (but only the onset, not the duration!).
All photos are here and the pattern review is here.