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Posts Tagged ‘50s dress’


What I have learned today about Butterick B4790:

• For a modern aesthetic or women shorter than 5’6″, you’ll probably want to make the skirt shorter. By 4″ if you’re as short as me!
• It really is easy and quick to make (though I’d already done the mock ups previously and the cutting/marking last night).
• The reviews are right – this dress does pull down at the back from the weight of the skirt. When fastening the front temporarily, I tried pinning the wrapover front through the underskirt layer and this seemed to help. I’m therefore going to have poppers attaching the bottom wrapover to the centre front as well as the two wrapovers together. (Sorry for poor explanation, I’m v tired!)
• The royal blue cotton poplin I’m using makes a very satisfying rustling sound -taffeta, eat your heart out!

And THE most important lesson when it comes to B4790:

• Tightening the wrapover front is the difference between frumpy and fabulous.

(So, please scrap my last, hasty post, which was made after a fitting where the wrap was only just crossing over – frump-o-Rama! I have since tried it on again with the fronts cinched in a comfortably tight way and it looks several billion times better! This has left me considering what to do with the closure – I’m tempted to use a tie front as it would be adjustable… It would also allow me to introduce white to the colour scheme, which I’d like to do to go for the whole nautical vibe – something I fall back in love with every spring.)

And something I learned about me today:
• I love the way freshly sewn and pressed darts look.

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On Tuesday night I made a toile of the bodice of the Butterick B4790 wrap dress.  It required a few adjustments from the original pattern:

(What I didn’t realise at the time is that I somehow missed out one of the darts on the underskirt – with that correction, the underskirt/front bodice section sits a lot better.)

Of course, the full overskirt will be attached at the natural waist – you can see the bottom of the wrap part, pinned closed at the front, where the overskirt will be attached.

I’ve lowered the neckline slightly – high necklines are not a good look on me – and have made the shoulder straps a fair bit shorter.  That’s not  much of a surprise – I think it’s fairly well established that at 5’2” and a bit, I’m not the ‘average height’ patterns tend to be made for, and I suspect I’m a bit high-waisted.  I’ve also written a note to myself on the toile to bring the shoulders in by about a centimetre as they were threatening to fall off my shoulders.

I had great intentions of drawing up the changes on my paper pattern pieces on Wednesday night, but I woke up feeling pretty rotten on Wednesday and after a day at work sneezing and sore-throating, I just wanted to lollop on the sofa for the evening … and the next evening and the next.

So it wasn’t until tonight (well, as it’s gone midnight, it’s now last night – Saturday night, at any rate) that I traced the toile onto greaseproof paper (what I use for my patterns).  Here’s my pattern laid over the original:

Here you can see my adjustments on the front bodice/underskirt a lot more clearly.  The darts on front and back were perfect for me – I was glad I didn’t have to fiddle with those.  While B shows that I’ve made the shoulders shorter, A shows that I’ve made the neckline a lot lower by comparison – high necklines look dowdy on me and actually make my bust look bigger (a large expanse of fabric will do that!).  C shows that I’ve also brought the shoulders in as I have quite a small frame above the waist – the original shoulders stuck out too much on me.  At D you can see how much shorter I’ve made the skirt (22″ from the waist) – below knee-length also looks dowdy on me (and makes my legs look even shorter!) – and that I’ve made the underskirt slightly A-line.  I’ve done this because: I don’t like skirts too tight around my legs; I have wide hips and a straight-cut skirt as on the pattern would have left a larger gap down the back or might even have pulled; the little extra fullness might help the volume of the overskirt a little bit.

Anyway – I’m enjoying working on this pattern, though I am finding it slightly weird to work without seam allowances (the raw edges will be bound with bias tape).  Next time I’ll have to show you the cute buttons I’ve chosen …

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