A couple of weekends ago I went to a wedding. It was a lovely wedding – very low key and relaxed. The ceremony was attended by just 8 people in a registry office, then the bridal party joined the rest of the guests at a function room for canapes and drinks. My friend and her new husband looked SO happy the entire time – I’m thrilled that they’ve found one another! But the point of this blog post is what I wore (yes, let’s keep the focus on me and my sewing) – Butterick 5883.
This is a dress that has been in the works for quite some time. I’ve had the pattern for ages – actually, when I googled it for this blog post I notice that it’s now out of print, so if you’re interested in it I suggest you locate it sooner rather than later! It’s a Suzi Chin Maggy Boutique design. From the Butterick website: Bias, self-lined, pullover dress has front shoulder pleats, concealed front neckline slit, wrong side showing on right neckline and drape, left armhole binding, and very narrow hem. FABRICS: Crepe De Chine, Faille, Georgette. Unsuitable for obvious diagonals. Designed for light weight woven fabrics.
This pattern was a bit of an “out there” one for me to sew. Did you notice that bit about being cut on the bias? In my experience bias cut dresses either skim over the body beautifully, or else they cling to every curve including the ones I don’t want to emphasise. I really had no firm expectations about how this would turn out once it was finished and on my body.
I used vintage John Kaldor polyester from deep stash for the dress outer, and a slippery mid-weight poly something from the Darn Cheap Fabrics $2 table for the bias cut lining. The lining fabric matched my skin tone really well, and provided opacity as the red printed poly was just that teensy bit sheer. I finished the neckline and armholes of the lining with bias cut from the print, so that if they peeked through it wouldn’t be all that noticeable. As it turned out the lining stayed perfectly in place, and allowed the outer fabric to flow beautifully across my body – none of that clinging to curves that I feared might happen! I wish I’d thought to take some photos of the lining.
The cowly foldy bits (great technical terms there) are narrow hemmed. I managed a narrow double folded hem on the sewing machine, which was surprisingly easy in this fabric, but you could definitely do better doing a rolled edge by hand. The ruffle that is inserted into the one side seam wraps over to form a sleeve on that side of the dress, whereas the sleeve on the other side is a simple extended shoulder.
Butterick rate this pattern as “easy”. I’m not quite as certain about that rating. There aren’t masses of pattern pieces, but there is a whole lot of bias going on. The lining is not identical to the outer dress, and some thought needs to be given when attaching the lining to the dress. It’s fully attached to the back neckline, which finishes the back neckline nicely, but at the front the lining is a scoop neckline that is completely free of the dress. Like most things, if you mark the pattern pieces carefully and take your time it will all work out okay.
Now I’m trying to remember what size I sewed and whether I made any alterations. I actually sewed this dress what feels like ages and ages ago! Instagram tells me that I finished it in August, but I know that I cut it out last year. That one took a while! I suspect I sewed size 14, and looking at the finished length on me versus on the pattern illustration I possibly didn’t shorten it.
I felt very glam and stylish in this dress at the wedding!