Posts Tagged ‘Butterick B4790’

Remember that Retro Butterick pattern B4790?  Well, it’s finally finished!!

First off, apologies for the rubbish photos – I took some with my camera whose battery then died, so I took some with my phone, but when I went to upload them, the ones on my camera had not saved, so only rubbish phone pictures, I’m afraid!

The majority of the work was finished weeks ago, but it’s only over the past week that I’ve started on the hand-finishing: the ends of the binding, the closure and the hem.  I went for hooks and eyes hidden at the overlap with two strips of bias binding that wrap around and tie at the back.  I’ve found this to work well (it was debuted on Thursday night) as the hooks and eyes make it stable and the ties allow a certain amount of adjustment.  Plus, the two bows at the back look rather cute!

I did try out a chemise a la reine-inspired self-fabric sash first of all, but I found this added too much bulk around the waist – as this dress has little space between the bust and the start of the skirt, you need to keep the waist in as close as possible.  The bias binding sits much better, giving a much slimmer silhouette.

These photos are with the tulle skirt I made way back when as a petticoat – I’m pretty pleased as it’s worked rather well like this.  I’m glad I didn’t trim the tulle skirt, now!  Bonus, the dress works without a petti (those photos were on the camera, alas, or so I thought).

The only problem with wearing the dress on its own is that the underskirt part (which shows at the front) rides up when you walk.  A lot.  I was wearing tights at the time, so I’m not sure if it would be better without tights – perhaps it was because of static from them?  The other idea I had was sewing weights in the hem of the underskirt.  Question for you – have you any tips for stopping a skirt from riding up???  Please!  (My modesty needs them!)

My young man has taken to calling this my Superman/Smallville dress due to the colour combination – I didn’t think of that!  Nonetheless, I did receive some lovely compliments on the dress when I wore it out and I’m looking forward to wearing it for my MA graduation ceremony next month … beneath a delightful graduation gown, that is!

And a very blurred photo to give you an idea of the shape from the side:

Argh – I need a new camera!!!


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Follow the link for a taster of an embellishment tutorial in the book.

Wow, I must be a bit psychic (that, or it’s a coincidence, but that’s not so fun, right?) as my new book (The Party Dress) was waiting for me when I got home on Friday. I read it cover to cover that evening and here are my thoughts (having only read it, not tried it out):


  • The dresses are great – there should be something here to suit everyone.
  • There are good ideas for personalising the dresses and making different variations on them.
  • It’s written in a very positive way – he has an upbeat, friendly and encouraging tone, which is exactly what a beginner needs.
  • Gorgeous colour photos throughout with some fun photoshoots (giant white rabbits, anyone?).
  • Embellishment tutorials that you could use on many different projects.


  • I’m not convinced his examples are perfectly-fitting (there is some wrinkling) – surely this should be the priority in a book about how to make dresses that fit you perfectly? I suspect taking greater care and being more of a perfectionist would help.
  • The instructions aren’t always clear – sometimes I was reading them and couldn’t fully understand what he meant and the photos do not always help. I generally use more than one book when reading up on techniques, anyway.
  • I would disagree with some of his recommendations on what suits the different body shapes – for example, that short people should wear longer lengths, in fact they often make you look even shorter and tend to dwarf shorter ladies (I speak from experience!). I’m not saying short women should never wear long gowns, but you have to do so carefully!

And this point is neither positive not negative, but something for anyone considering this book to be aware of:

  • It does contain four dresses (and a basque top, which is used as the bodice/pattern for the dresses and can be made up separately). Considering the prices of patterns, you wouldn’t be able to buy four patterns for the £10 the book costs (I got it cheaper on Amazon Marketplace, so look out for copies there!), so I consider it a good deal for that alone (plus the block, bow and fabric flower tutorials), but some people might expect more from a book that is specifically about creating ‘the perfect’ party dress. Having said that, I do think that whatever your figure, at least one of these styles should suit you, and Simon Henry does give ideas for variations, so you could make four different takes on the same dress.

Anyway, overall, I would recommend this book, though I doubt it has much to offer the more experienced stitcher except for, perhaps, inspiration.

The other weekend happening – Priscilla Queen of the Desert: The Musical … Bloody amazing!! So, so much fun! Uplifting songs and story, amazing performances and a bus on stage – what more could you ask for? I had a fabulous time. Oh, and the costumes were out of this world – I never in my life thought I would ever watch a stage full of dancing men dressed up as cupcakes. Yep, I’m serious. If you get the opportunity, I heartily recommend this show and challenge you to leave it without a massive grin on your face!

And, lastly, back to dressmaking – the promised pictures of the wrap-over, nearly complete – the bias binding is all on now, though the hemming isn’t yet done and neither is the closure. I’ve tied a scrap of leftover bias around the waist and I quite like the effect, so I think I’m going to sew that at the wrap-overs and tie it at the back. I did originally try this with a wide strip of the blue poplin to create a large bow at the back, but this created too much bulk around the waist. My only slight concern is that adding this red bias changes the lines on the dress – does it spoil the shape?

(Sorry the photos aren’t fab – my camera is still being dead and the Boy’s one refused to work, too!  Only bad thing about my phone – rubbish camera.)

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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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