Thursday, July 17, 2014

Butterick 5780, Fold Neck Dress

B5780 Thumbnail

I sewed!  Pattern Review is having its stash contest this month.  I am not a contender, but it did help me focus in deciding what to make now that I can finally sew.  I decided on Butterick 5780, a pattern that surprisingly has not taken the blogosphere by storm.  It's a flattering, interesting sheath dress with nice design lines.  It's a copy of the Reiss Taruca Sculptured Dress, which was $340 according to this blog post.  I think the issue with the pattern that has held it back is its suggested fabric:  ponte.

Let's talk about ponte. I think I have fallen out of love.  One the one hand, it is a miracle fabric.  A knit with all the easy-to-sew, easy-to-fit, easy-to-wear qualities we love, but that skims over all the lumps and bumps and is universally flattering.  What's not to love?

One word: pilling.  For the love of all that is holy, the pilling.  While I've found a few gems of quality ponte, almost everything I make out of it is garbage after the second wear.  Ugh!  What a waste.

The other issue is that ponte is a rather thick fabric.  This dress is necessarily constructed with a side front bodice stay/lining, and the pattern (and original dress) call for it to be fully lined.  With the fold in the side front piece and all the seam intersections, every review on PR complains about the bulk.

I never had any intention of making this dress in ponte--it begs to be more structured--so I used a very stretchy cotton twill I got from Fabric Mart last July for $7.99/yd (they called it sateen, but I would call it twill).

Given the Ease of Doom characteristic of all Big 4 patterns (yes, even Vogue), I figured it wouldn't be a big deal to make it in a very stretchy woven rather than a ponte, especially as several reviewers mentioned that it ran large.  They also mentioned, as I found to my chagrin, that there are no finished garment measurements anywhere--not on the envelope or the tissue.  Seriously, Butterick.

Bodice Side Front and Full Stay/Lining

Luckily, my awesome brother and sister-in-law gave me an Etsy gift certificate for the holidays, which I used to buy 5/8" SA Curve rulers.  I traced off the pieces, and used the rulers to mark the 5/8" seam allowances and was able to get my own finished pattern measurements.  Which, as expected, were pretty close to right for a woven.  I added to the waist--but ended up taking all that and more off when the actual dress was constructed.

The other thing reviewers complained about was the grody half-lining for the bodice.  As drafted, the bodice lining only goes to about halfway down, right at boob level.  The reviewers said you could see the line of the bottom of the facing/lining.  Again I say:  Seriously, Butterick.  The center front bodice and back bodice were easy--just use the same piece for the fashion fabric and lining.  The side front stay/lining just required lining up the armscye with the side front bodice, and completing the stay/lining from the boobs down.

I did a slight SBA by shaving a little bit off the curve of the center front bodice at the bust.  The fit on the bust is not enormous, and the fold does a little bit of subtle bust-building for a flattering finished result.

Swayback and Broad Back

I also did a broad back adjustment on the bodice back, and split the swayback adjustment between the bodice and skirt.  In addition to folding out length for the swayback, I also made the flat back seam into a curve over my swayback.

The instructions for construction are good but not great.  There's a little bit of origami involved and there are some things that aren't covered, like which direction the strap flaps are to be sewn on the underside of the side front (I did one right and one wrong--and I still can't tell you what's right.  I think you fold the strap toward the center--here's a look inside the fold).

You start by sewing the center front and its lining together at the neckline to finish it.  I raised the neckline by 1/2", I don't really know why.  It's neither too high nor too low at the raised level, but I'll probably cut it as drafted next time.  As I sewed it, I realized that unless your fabric needs lining, only the side front stay/lining is necessary.  You can finish the center front neck and bodice back armscye with bias tape.  Oh well, it looks nice on the inside.

Next, you pin the bodice side front to the bodice center front at the princess seam.  Easy enough.

Bodice Side Front Stay/Lining

Now it's time to attach the bodice to the side front stay/lining.  Start by pinning the side fronts together at the armscye to get a clean finish on the armscye.




Burrito Fold for Bodice Side Front

Then you burrito roll the side front and the center front together, and encase them in the stay pinned over the already-sewn princess seam.  You can only do one side at a time, obviously, but once you do one side the other side is not any more complicated (you don't have to do any finagling with the already sewn side).

This is the part where the reviewers seemed to have trouble.  I actually had more difficulty puzzling out how to attach the front to the back.  It's not difficult and I've done plenty of projects with the same design of having a back "collar" extend from the front to the CB neck (including a self-drafted one), but somehow this one took me a minute to find all the match points.  Maybe because it had been so long since I'd sewn.  It was only a few months, but I felt so rusty on this project!

Pin Skirt to Bodice, Not Catching Lining

Because the bodice center front and lining were sewn as one to the bodice side front, the lining could not hang entirely free at the waist (with fashion skirt sewn to fashion bodice and skirt lining sewn to bodice lining).  I prefer to have the lining separate from the fashion fabric to avoid weird bunching and twisting, so I sewed the skirt and lining to the bodice separately everywhere except at the bodice center front.

Lining Hangs Free at Waist to CF



You can see my hand in there illustrating that the lining is hanging free past the bodice center front.

I never know what to line stretch wovens with.  Here I used a stretch mesh purchased as swimwear lining, which is fine for this dress.  It didn't need much opacity added to the fabric, and I don't anticipate wearing tights with it.  If anyone has suggestions for a good stretch woven lining, I am all ears!

Zipper Starts Below Back Collar

As drafted, the entire center back seam is open and the zipper installed.  I don't have great success getting super-square corners at the top of a zipper, and I really didn't want a weird zipper at the top of the collar.  So I sewed the collar and one inch below closed, and then installed the zipper below that.

Burrito to Machine Stitch Lining to Zipper

Because of that, it was a little tricky machine-sewing the lining to the zipper tape (using this method). The first time I tried to pin the lining to the zip I ended up with a water weenie that couldn't be unfolded.  Good thing I tried before actually sewing it!

I realized I was going to have to burrito it again, folding the entire dress to the inside and wrapping the lining around.  It worked!  And sewing the second side was no harder than the first.

Zipper Inside





I ended up with a nice clean finish on the inside, no hand sewing involved.







Double Fold Hem



I did a double-fold machine blind hem.  At the back slit, turned the slit allowance toward the right side and then accidentally stitched along the first fold, rather than the second.  Fortuitously, this resulted in a nicer looking hem than if I had sewn the second fold, as I intended.  I will have to remember that for the future.

Front



Along with the new sewing room (which is totally makeshift at this point, just barely unpacked enough to sew) I have to figure out a new photo location!  I thought the spot at the top of the stairs would be good because there's a skylight, but the skylight is over the stairs, not the landing, and the lighting is uneven--a little too artsy shadowy.  The photo from the thumbnail was taken without flash and you can see that all the light is coming from the (viewer's) right.  With post-production, though, maybe that's ok.  Using the fill flash (this photo) results in harsh colors and a flat photo.  I'll figure it out!



And to make this post even longer and whinier, I lost all of my photos.  Again.  My hard drive died and my iPhoto library had never backed up in Time Machine.  Again.  (Everything else was backed up.)  Tears were shed, and unblogged projects were lost (having learned from bitter experience, I usually don't delete from my camera until the photos have been uploaded to flickr, but wading through thousands of pictures will take many, many hours I don't have).  And because Apple cannot currently generate codes for iPhoto credit in the App store (really?), I am having to learn new software.  It's only $14.99, but on principle I absolutely will not buy iPhoto myself.  (I'm told the issue is that in the old version I have the iPhoto library won't back up if iPhoto is open.  Which it always is.  So I need the new version.)  Blogging will continue to be slow!


And then there's the photographic challenge of shared space: the self-timer photobomber!

Front Closeup-Full


















Meanwhile, however, whining aside, I am thrilled with this dress!  It is super flattering, fits well, and was untraumatic to sew.  An excellent entree back into the field.


It's well-drafted, and the fit alterations are almost there.  I should have rounded out the center back skirt seam as I have a teensy bit of shark fin at the CB hem, and the shoulders are a smidge too tall.

The pleats on the skirt feel like they stick out weird when I look down at them, and maybe they do, but it's a weird I can live with (I prefer it to a tummy pooch).

I will definitely be making this again for winter with sleeves, though I will trim the armscye to a shorter/normal length, as a dropped sleeve isn't flattering to me.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.


46 comments:

Sheila said...

The dress is beautiful... love the print.

Judith Stansky said...

The fit and coloring of this dress are perfect, but what strikes me most about your post is the thoughtfulness you bring to your sewing. I can follow your process clearly because of the care you take with your descriptions. Brava.

kathy said...

Flattering? How about smashing!

Cats and Calico said...

Great fit. Looks nice on you.

wendy said...

I love how this came out! The neckline is so cool & this is really flattering, which can be hard with sheath dresses sometimes. And, seriously, WTF is up with some patterns partial lining pieces. Really don't get that, either.

Meigan said...

Love it! This looks fantastic on you :)

annie said...

Thanks for your observations on ponte. In recent years so many sewists have raved about it that I thought maybe it had improved. Glad I didn't fall. Love your dress and the fabric you chose.

Nancy K said...

This dress is perfect for you. It's flattering and stylish.

Anonymous said...

Really pretty dress - and the fabric is nice too!
~Jen

Kelly D. said...

I did not and do not like the dress as shown on the Butterick website, but I LOVE your version! I think the print and the necklace really make it great.

Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

Fantastic, I love a cotton sateen dress they always look so sharp and the colors are great on you. Very nice shape and fit. sorry to hear about your photo troubles - what a pain on top of moving. OK - now back to sewing so I can see what other patterns you select :)

Clio said...

Welcome back and LOVE this on you! Both the style and the fabric are a big win! Orange is your color!

I used to really like the Sofia RPL double knit at Fabric.com for ponte roma - it was mostly rayon and resisted pilling pretty well. But I noticed recently that the fabric content seems to have changed to be much majority poly and there are a few reviews blasting it for pilling.

Lynn Barnes said...

Lovely finished garment. The skirt pleats do not look weird from the front.

I lived through the first generation of double knit fabrics, and so have deliberately shied away from ponte. I echo the sentiment of the little girl in the famous New Yorker cartoon, "I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it."

chelle said...

Of all the things you've made, this is one of the favorites. Really fabulous dress!

AngelatheCreativeDiva said...

Love the dress. The print is fantastic and it fits you perfectly. I need to pull this pattern out of my stash very soon. Thanks for the inspiration.

Michelle said...

Gorgeous! This looks great on you, and I love the fabric!

Audrey said...

I made this pattern as my Christmas party dress two years ago, black ponte skirt with sparkly top. Never thought to make it in a print. It looks great, very flattering on you.

MushyWear said...

I really like this dress made up in a print. Everything about it looks great on you. I have debated making this pattern for so long. I will have to remember to reference this post when I finally get to it. Thanks!

wastedmyweekends said...

If you're looking for luxe (like, super luxe) lining: I know Mood has loads of stretch silk charmeuse. I've used it for some colette clovers pants. It feels allllmost awesome enough to make up for the pain of the price. (For lining, anyway. I think ~$14-18/yard it's expensive but if you only want it for the bodice area that wouldn't be so bad).

RatRace said...

I agree with the other comments that this dress and the colors are pretty.

You did a wonderful job with this dress.

Vicki said...

The dress turned out lovely. Looks great on you.

SJ Kurtz said...

I love the print, and it really shows that dress off. Well, you show the dress off. Mostly, I really love your photos of your process. This is a lining process that really does work, but is the devil to illustrate. Well played!

aleah said...

Fabulous! I would never have guessed this wasn't the recommended fabric, it seems like a perfect match for the pattern. I'm with you on the pilling ponte problem. I love wearing it and working with it, but it is so disappointing when a favorite dress turns all gross and pilly. I think I've tracked it to pontes with rayon content, so I try to only buy poly pontes (a different kind of ugh) and I dry my rayon pontes flat rather than in the dryer...
And I had the same photo-location dilemma when I moved. I love my new place but I miss my trusty old photo spot!

Kristy Chan said...

I don't know why I've overlooked this pattern because it truly is fantastic, especially I that gorgeous print you've used. I tend to shave the pills off my ponti knits after each wear, because otherwise it is really annoying

Little Hunting Creek said...

What a beautiful dress! I love the fabric, and it looks great on you. I like how nice it looks inside too.

centrallyisolated said...

Man, that looks fab! I especially love it styled with the chunky necklace in the last shots. I may have to take a look at this pattern!

liza jane said...

It is fantastically flattering! You look amazing. I love the fabric you chose. i agree with you totally on ponte. Everything I have ever made has pilled. I even bought a very expensive pair of ponte pants that pilled. Yuck. Who wants to wear something with little balls of fluff hanging all over it.

Maureen said...

This is one of your most beautiful makes. Welcome back to sewing and hopefully lots more blogging. This dress is so flattering I am very very tempted.

splintersnstitches said...

This may be my favorite make of yours so far, GORGEOUS!!! I would suggest tricot as a lining for stretch wovens as long as the stretch matched fairly closely, but I really don't know for sure.

Oh man! So sorry to hear about losing all your pictures! And so frustrating about the iPhoto thing--maybe try calling in and getting a different person? Not sure if it would make a difference or not, but might be worth a try.

Brenda said...

Absolutely gorgeous! You look STUNNING! This is your best make ever.

glorm said...

This dress looks as if it were designed for you. You look fabulous in it.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful dress! I am going to have to look up that pattern!

Janee said...

You should be really happy with this dress - the print is lovely, colors look great on you! About your concern regarding the skirt pleats - I was looking at this pattern yesterday, and it looks like you might have folded the pleat on your right side away from the center rather than toward the center? That slight change might help them fall more evenly and make you happier with the look.

Mrs. Micawber said...

That fold is a really stunning design detail - great fabric choice too! I've never sewn with ponte as the bulk always put me off (plus I'm not a polyester lover). So thanks for the summary of all the reasons not to start using it now. :)

So sorry about the photo debacle. It sounds awful.

sewmanju said...

This dress is gorgeous on you! Fab job.

McVal said...

It's beautiful on you!! Thanks for the heads up on the half bodice lining. YUCK!

AllisonC said...

Wow this is a stunning dress on you, I never noticed the pattern at all, yours looks a million times better. Also, you are the queen of the burrito roll!!

Loretta said...

Wow, that is a great looking dress, fabulous job. Very flattering.

Joy said...

Really gorgeous - the fabric is perfect for it. The design + fabric give it a sleek Japanese aesthetic, I think.

Linda said...

Great looking dress! I think making it from the fabric you chose was a good idea!

Kennis said...

It's a really cute and unique dress. And it looks awesome on you. I think the length of the dress/proportion fits you very well.

splainer said...

I've got this pattern in stash. Your version confirms my desire to make it, esp since I have a shape that is similar to yours. I'll definitely be using your excellent post as reference!

Anonymous said...

the color and fit are perfect on your. good job!

diane said...

Love your blog! I have used a tutorial you did on Aug 10, 2010 many, many times. Have you done one for lining a bodice that has sleeves? You made the other one so easy! Now I need one with sleeves!

catspec said...

This dress is just beautiful and very elegant.

Shannon said...

This is gorgeous on you! That fabric is perfect- so pretty! I love this pattern and have it in my stash. I have hesitated to make it because of the bulk issue. I'm going to have to get it out and try it anyway. Great dress!