Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Butterick 5490, Triple Pleated Bodice Dress

Butterick 5490 Thumbnail

Sorry for my long disappearance!  I didn't mean to leave with no warning.  We had a series of deaths in the family, then went on vacation to get away from things, then the holiday season began...  Also, and this is so silly, but I *still* can't figure out how to get good pictures in my new place.  I tried a new location that might work.  I have been sewing a fair amount--especially right before my trip!--and hope to blog more regularly, at least once the holidays are over.  Thank  you to all who checked in on me; I really appreciate hearing from my sewing friends even when I appear to have dropped off the face of the earth!  I miss everyone.

And due to my long absence, I am way off schedule for the seasons.  I made this during the pattern contest, which was in July.  It's not getting much wear now!


Butterick 5490 has been on my list for a while now.  If you remember the Banana Republic Mad Men collection from a couple of years ago, the Betty Dress was quite similar in terms of the triple pleat in the bodice and the full, center pleated skirt (there's a front view here).

I knew those triple pleats would pose a small bust problem even more than usual, as all the reviewers observed that the pattern would not be flattering to a small bust as drafted.

Small Bust Adjustment Bodice and Lining

I folded out width from each of the pleats, as well as shortening the neckline between the bust and the shoulder.  The pattern has a separate front bodice lining piece, a luxe touch I appreciate in these designer patterns (this one is a Suzi Chin/Maggy Boutique), and so the lining needed to be separately altered.  The triple-pleat fashion-fabric bodice is on the left, and the double-darted lining is on the right.

Having worn the dress for a day, I realized I need to scoop some width out from the front armscye as it is digging into my arm.  This is likely to do with my forward shoulders/bad posture.

Broad Back Adjustment

On the back, I did my usual broad back and swayback adjustments as well as my fairly standard addition of a dart in the back neckline to prevent gaping from my forward head/bad posture.

This fabric was $1.99/yd from Fabric Mart, the special when I made the order.  I love the huge print and the colors, especially the little touches of orange.  I'm pretty sure it's a quilting cotton, though a good quality one.  As such, it is only 45" wide and I couldn't cut the front skirt the full width it was intended.  I cut the skirt as wide as I possibly could, but lost a pleat and about 10 inches of width.  The skirt is still plenty wide!



Interface Neckline of Fashion Fabric

Having learned my lesson on past projects that ended up with stretched out necks, I interfaced the fashion fabric and the lining at the neckline and armscyes.  The neckline feels firm and like it will stay in shape.

To make my quilting cotton a bit firmer I also interfaced the entire midriff.  This turned out to be a good decision.  Although I have totally adequate ease in the midriff (nearly 2 inches), the midriff has arrows radiating from the side seam toward the center.  When I lift up the neckline the arrows disappear, so I think they are due to the weight of the skirt on the midriff rather than the fit (good thing I didn't cut the front skirt in two pieces at the full width and make it even heavier!).  I imagine it would look even worse without the interfacing.  I'm not sure how to solve this problem in the future, except for just using lighter weight fabric so the skirt is not so heavy.

Assembled Front and Back Separately

Because I'm a little out of practice in sewing the Big 4, I wasn't sure how this would fit.  To give myself maximum possible adjustability, I assembled the front and back as separate units (the front and back bodice need to be separate anyway to do an all-machine clean-finish lining) so I could adjust along the side seam on the bodice, midriff, and skirt as needed.  As it happens, apparently the sizing hasn't changed at Butterick, because it was perfect with the seam allowances as drafted (I cut an 8 at the shoulders/bust and a generous 10 at the waist).




Front Bodice Closeup





The final bodice fit is very good.  The bust fits well (though it definitely has ease) and is flattering.  I should have taken a tiny bit more length out of the front neckline, which sits away from the body a little bit.  The neckline is also surprisingly low, lower than conveyed on the model I think.  I might raise it up 1/2 inch next time.

With Hat



All in all, a fun sundress for our cool summer!  I had a little fun with pulling out one of my hats for a vintage style look.  With the width of the shoulder this would be easy enough to pop sleeves on for a Fall/Winter look, though I'd probably go with a less voluminous skirt rather than the wide pleated sundress look.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

25 comments:

Beth (SunnyGal Studio) said...

Super cute. I love a sundress any time of year. That bodice is very nice on you and you could use with a slim skirt portion for a different look.

Anonymous said...

Your dress is beautiful. I love your posts and photos of the construction and insides of your makes. Sorry to hear that there has been losses in your family. Take care, katherine

cidell said...

Super cute. It's times like these I wish you were four inches taller and I was 40 pounds lighter :-)

cidell said...

As for photos... You might need an offside/ slave flash for your camera to help with lighting?

splintersnstitches said...

I'm so glad to see you back! And with such a cute dress, too! :-) Have you tried a lamp beside the camera? I'm not a photographer, but it seems like an angle-neck desklamp pointed towards the ceiling above you might give some more light? It can't hurt to try, and you've probably already got one around the house somewhere...

M Kate said...

This dress is lovely on you - very interesting color combo, and your hat goes well with it. Nice work on the pleats, too!

I am so sorry to hear of your losses. We are all glad to you have you back in blog land!

Russell1947 said...

You are too cute! And the dress is so pretty.

catspec said...

So sorry to hear about the sad family time. SO glad to see you back. :) This is a very lovely dress. I hope you will have a good warm holiday season. Hugs.

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back. Sorry about your family's losses.
Your dress looks great -- especially with the hat!

T. Sedai said...

(1) Yay! You are back!

(2) I am sorry to hear about all of the family troubles, hopefully things will be looking up for you soon.

(3) Totally understand about falling off of the blog-o-sphere... I feel like I haven't been posting as much as usual lately, though, if I sewed more things for me I suppose I would have more to write about.

(4) Your dress is awesome!

Mrs. Micawber said...

So sorry to hear about the reasons for your absence, and very glad to see you back! I think your new photo spot is a pretty good one. And the dress is adorable. What a gorgeous pattern too - makes me think of Marilyn Monroe.

Vicki said...

Very cute dress!

Dilly said...

Welcome back! It's funny, I was just thinking yesterday that I hadn't seen any posts from you recently. Sorry to hear about your sad news.

Well done with the adjustment of the bodice. I always hate adjusting this sort of bodice with pleats and details, but it's worked really well for you!

Valerie said...

Glad to see you again! I am sorry for the losses in your family.

The dress is lovely! Maybe boning would stabilize the midriff section?

Trumbelina said...

I was just thinking about you yesterday and almost squealed when I saw your post this morning (just too early for squealing). Glad you are back. And thank you for the pic of what you did to petitify the boobage. I have another pattern with similar pleats that I have abandoned because it was taking too long to figure out.
Sorry to hear about the deaths in your family. It seems to be that kind of year for us as well. It's tiring. I hope you are able to enjoy the holidays fully and get recharged for January. I'm looking forward to seeing more posts from you as you were missed.

Andie L. said...

That is a gorgeous dress and looks fabulous on you! Good job on the alterations. :) Also, interfacing the shoulders/neckline is brilliant for making sure they don't stretch out. Thanks for that!

Rory Franklin said...

I'm so happy to see your face -- and dress! I'm sorry it's been a difficult time, but it's so wonderful to have you back. And the dress is lovely. I saw this pattern and wondered if it would be too bulky with all of the pleats in the front. But it looks great on you.

Louisa said...

Surprised nobody mentioned that a waist stay might help support the weight of the skirt better. Could be retrofitted too.

Happy you're back and so sorry for your losses.

McVal said...

I LOVE those tucks! So much cuter than a simple gather!

Sue said...

Really cute! Particularly love the last pic with the hat! You will have fun in this frock!

emadethis said...

Welcome back. I'm sorry your absence has been caused by grief. The dress is lovely. This fabric holds the pleats so well. When the season rolls around again, I can imagine this being a wonderful dress for summer.

liza jane said...

Very pretty! I like all the pleating on the skirt, although I can't imagine it being even more full. I like the shape. Perfect for a sun dress.

Faye Lewis said...

Nice dress and fit Trena!

sz said...

Maybe try putting in a waist stay to hold up the skirt, instead of having the middriff do it? That would be in keeping with the couture sewing of the bodice.

Tonia2000 said...

So good to see you back! Love this dress on you. Sorry to hear about the difficulties you have experienced. Here's to 2015. Cheers!