Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Butterick 5520, An 80s Revival in Hot Pink Peplum

B5520 Thumbnail

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.

Balenciaga - F2008 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peplum like this (a peplum in a jacket is both design and functions to add length) with the 80s, but it is not entirely out of date.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.

Broad Back Adjustment 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.

Trim Edges of Peplum Lining

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.

Press From Wrong Side

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.

Peplum and Lining

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.

Hand Picked Zipper 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.

I've gotta say, I just love stepping into this hot pink satin lining. I feel like a character in a movie, maybe Jessica Rabbit.

Original Peplum Look 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.

Hand Hem with Lace

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.

Side

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.

26 comments:

KID, MD said...

Hot pink houndstooth!! I die. This is adorable and looks absolutely fabulous on you. Fine work, especially the zip.

Rachel said...

Oh my goodness that dress is to die for!!! I love peplums. Thanks for the info on invisible zippers. I am currently battling an invisible zipper as we speak. My fabric is thick and has horizontal pleats. Although, I think the skirt would probably look better with an invisible zipper, I am about to cry "Uncle" and just put in a regular zipper. I don't think it will show that much anyway.

Little Hunting Creek said...

This is SO CUTE! and I have this same fabric. I think we are fabric buying twins. although I bought mine 4 years ago, and am letting it age in stash. But now I am inspired.

montanachic said...

Really cute, I love houndstooth! I think the peplum gives it that little bit of vintage that will help keep it a classic style for you to wear for years. Good job on a big project.

McVal said...

That is adorable! I love houndstooth too. Thanks for the tips on how to make the peplum lining!
I got my patterns in the mail a couple days ago. THANKS!!! Will leave you feedback asap.

Karin said...

The fabric is fantastic and it did deserve a dramatic pattern like this! The flash of pink satin when the peplum moves will be terrific.

Clio said...

"gratuitous peplum" - now there is an underutilized phrase. heh heh heh. I love it - and the dress.

fabriquefantastique said...

I like the slight 'bell' of the skirt.

Uta said...

I have never seen a peplum like that - and turned a blind eye on 80s fashion - but if I were to revisit my heyday (teens) I'd definitely wear this dress! The hot pink is very much "you", and the pains you took with its execution were worth it, it looks fabulous!

Lisette M said...

I thought your zipper application looked perfect! You carry this design very well, the temperatures are going down tomorrow so take advantage and wear your dress.

Anonymous said...

Bless you for your broad back and small bust adjustments! I'm going to attempt your BB adjustment on a blouse that the "wearable" muslin should have had, so we'll see how that goes. I'm curious about the sag you say you have in the back of this garment. I have had oodles of problems fitting the backs/shoulders of every single raglan sleeve garment I've ever sewn. Perhaps it has something to do with the raglan cut? I've never quite figured it out...yet.

RiAnge Creations. Ltd. said...

Very nice dress. I love the zip application.
Angela

AllisonC said...

What a fun dress, I can imagine the lining looks and feels really luxurious. It looks really cute with the flower pin and belt.

A Sewn Wardrobe said...

You did a really nice job matching the pattern on this dress. It's clear it's a garment that took a significant amount of time and care.

I completely agree with you re: invisible zippers: they are just so much easier than regulars.

kbenco said...

This looks really fun and classic at the same time. I would not have thought that was possible! I particularly love the Jessica Rabbit inside.

Anonymous said...

sewing's good, but this is not a good look on you. Sorry to be honest, dear.

Adelaide B said...

You are really rocking the 80s lately! As you know, I hate the 80s, but you are doing the right 80s. Kind of Joan Collins/Linda Evans Dynasty.

Summerset said...

Looks great! Glad you could use the tutorial!

Happy Sewing,
Summerset

a little sewing said...

You totally crack me up, Miss Slapdash Sewist! You put a lot of care into this garment, with beautiful results. I like all the insights shared, like the ease in the back and how it's the right amount for comfort. Makes sense.
And yes- isn't it interesting how a peplum looks so good on a pear. Who would have thought?
Beautiful dress!

Reethi said...

When you said hot pink peplum, I was picturing something entirely different, but this is lovely!

Kim Hood said...

Snappy dress. I wouldn't beat yourself up about the check 'going off'. I remember going to the Jackie Kennedy 'White House Years' exhibition on a trip to NY and there was a suit proudly displayed (and in the book) where the check goes completely off on the skirt hem. Wear your dress with pride!

Eugenia said...

Wow! Fabulous version of this pattern. I love the houndstooth - I think it works brilliantly. I also love that you have made the peplum - I totally want one with a peplum now. Thanks for the mention :)

BrusselsSprout_Katharine said...

You're right, it is tasteful and yet stylish, you don't look like a lady who lunches. A woman who powerlunches, more like. That's strange about the peplum laying that way, I can't figure it out either, nor the back hem. But IRL you're not going to stand straight up for inspection very long, so no one will notice. The overall dress will stand out.

TE said...

I concur with the kudos already posted. Designs printed off grain are the bane of our existence. Keeping in mine BrusselsSprout's comment that you won't be standing still for inspection for long, may I suggest that you go for the ON GRAIN choice rather than the on print choice, when something needs to hang properly?

And, I'd bet you a nickel that your mysterious hem print creep is also due to off grain printing.

How come, when we pay double digits per yard, they can't print straight?!?!

Robin said...

Wow! You totally own this look. After reading about your process, I'm nearly inspired enough to attempt to sew something for me again. Heck-- I am so inspired I'm actually leaving a comment! Thanks so much for sharing. :)

Kathy said...

Just wanted to let you know that we liked your version of B5520 so much we posted a link from our Butterick Patterns facebook page to your blog. Great work!