Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mercy me! Ah've finished ma dress!

You may remember this post.

Butterick 5606 is not a pattern for the faint hearted.  In fact, if it weren't for the power of the internets, I may have chucked it all in.

I opened up the pattern and read through the instructions.  All looked easy enough on paper.  "Yep, yep, yep", my mental dialogue was going, "Not a problem".

#dailyimage2011 30 Dec Sewing plans

Cutting out was okay - a bit tricksy to get all the skirt in but I'm pretty good at getting the most out of fabric.

I adjusted the back so it wasn't so low - do these people not wear bras or something?  Managed to piece the bodice together and then came across the sleeve gussets.  That is where things became unstuck.

Butterick 5606

Firstly, the pattern pictures didn't make sense to me.  When I attempted to follow the instructions I couldn't get the seam to lie flat... it was all puckeroo.  I consulted with my MIL who was staying and she also couldn't work it out.

I had several tries but each time the seam ripper had to be applied. Again and again.  My temper was disintegrating in inverse proportion to the amount of cotton landing on the floor.  I put it up in disgust because I had to make dinner, but while I cooked I decided to turn to Mr Google, and found this post.  Well, hallelujah it finally made sense!  After dinner I tried it out and it worked first time.  By this stage my fabric was looking a bit worse for wear, but fortunately I could use it for the lining.

The rest of the pattern went ok.  I managed to muck up the pockets a bit and they gaped open, but I've fixed that I think.  MIL kindly did the handsewing on the lining for me while I was at work which saved me some time.

I didn't make the belt as per the pattern - couldn't be bothered.  

Would I make it again?  Yeee-ees, but I'd do some things a bit differently.


Firstly, I'd probably find a cotton with a bit of stretch in it - the bodice is quite a tight fit for a busty wench like me - and I'm not proficient enough to fit it properly to me.  I don't have a mannequin, and it's impossible to do it on ones self.  I like the fitted look, it's just a tad on the tight side.

I would probably make the version without the bow at the back because I can't tie it myself, which means I have to ask DH to do it.  I fear DH is not the most expert in tieing dress bows.  Perhaps he'll get better the more frequently I wear it?  But yes, the button back strap option is possibly better.

Imitating great white shark 50's style?
(this is my "Great White Shark with Fruit" look)

I'd also remember to factor in a longer zip having adjusted the back hole to be higher. (I mean duh, I didn't think of it at the time but it means it's slightly harder to get the dress on by stepping in).

I like the pleats at the back of the skirt, it fits well over my butt without adding bulk.  The skirt is almost a circle skirt and swishes beautifully.  In fact I'm considering cutting out a skirt from this pattern and attaching it to a waist band because I like the style and length.

And just to get the vintage look, here's one with a Lightroom retro treatment...

Just need some white gloves and a matching hand bag and you can call me Joan.


  1. It's beautiful Penny, well done!!

  2. Very, very nice and I think you were very brave tackling the pattern

  3. Gorgeous, Penny :)

  4. well you have some patience and persistance. I have the white gloves and handbags and hats that would work with that outfit. Love the dress and wow you are rocking it with those red shoes those shoes.....are they they ones you bought in Melbourne? Loved the poses and playfulness in those shots too. I did think that Miss L might be able to tie your bow for you - giggles.....

    1. yep - the shoes are the ones I got in Melbourne. :)

  5. Very nice Joan! You are clever :-) Shoes are awesome - go superb with the dress. (Can just imagine R tying your bow! Be intense concentration!!) ;-)

  6. Wow, cleaver you.. looks so retro and I love it too..

  7. Well done! I could never even attempt something like that :)