I actually sewed this Butterick dress up way before Christmas, but my love for it hasn't waned one bit. I wore it to the Sew Essential Christmas party, my friend's dad's 70th birthday party (rock and roll!) and will be wearing it tonight for a night out with the girls. Read on to find out why I love it so much and some super interesting construction methods too.
It has taken me until the grand old age of 38 to work out what sort of 'grown up' party dresses I like. For years I subconsciously associated strappy dresses with evening events and shunned dresses with sleeves as too covered up and casual.
Anyway the penny finally dropped and I realised dresses with sleeves can be dressy, are suitable for a much wider range of events and much easier to wear. In other words I still feel dressed up without feeling too OTT.
I know, how on earth did it take me so long to work this out?!
Sewing Pattern and Fabric
As a result of the glacial pace of my revelations I don't have many dresses in my wardrobe that tick this box and when I spotted this Butterick dress pattern I knew it fit the bill perfectly.
I loved the keyhole design at the neckline, the flared sleeves (and options for a ruffle hem sleeve too) plus princess seams for a great fit and the skirt looked a nice length.
The fact that we had some very 70s feeling gorgeous John Kaldor fabric to make it in was the icing on the cake. I loved the contrast of the blue flowers against the brick red background and the haphazard nature of the floral design.
Adjustment and Sizing
In commercial patterns I would normally cut a 10 on the top and grade to a 12, however, the 10 bust was 32 1/2" vs my 33 1/2" and the 12 waist was 26 1/2" vs my 29" and hips were 36" vs my 38". Therefore I cut a 12 on the top (34" bust) and graded to a 14 from the waist down (28" waist and 38" hip).
The size 14 was far too big on the waist and hips so I ended up cutting a straight size 12, which was still actually pretty roomy. I'm really pleased with the fit of the 12, although it has a lot of ease I like the way it hangs and falls and think it is in keeping with the style of the dress.
I made my usual high round back and forward shoulder adjustments (see a tutorial here).
The only other adjustment I made was to taper the armholes in slightly at the front. I'm quite narrow here and often end up with excess fabric, which creates nasty drag lines. Taking a little extra fabric out here worked a treat and the drag lines disappeared.
Fabric Print Placement
I decided to cut the bodice pieces from sections of the fabric with small flowers. The pattern suggested using a contrasting fabric for the panels on the centre front of the bodice, but I thought a clever use of the fabric would work just as well.
I also wanted to avoid accidentally placing big flowers on my boobs (!) and to make the most of the beautiful fabric.
I thought it would work well to show off the larger flowers on the skirt and sleeves and by a complete fluke they ended up scattered down one side, which I love.
The keyhole and bodice construction was incredibly interesting.
The centre front panel and front neckline was finished with an interfaced facing/lining the same shape and size as the bodice panel.
Meanwhile the back bodice neckline was finished with a neckline facing.
The back bodice shoulder seam was wider than the front bodice shoulder seam and the pattern suggested easing the back shoulder to match the front shoulder, however, I eventually realised the back shoulder needed to overhang the front shoulder so that the facing could be attached (see the image below).
All in all a lovely neat finish and very fun to sew.
I absolutely love this dress! I feel so comfortable yet dressed up when I'm wearing it, it is such a winning formula. I've started a peasant dress board on Pinterest to try and scope out some other ideas for similar designs and would like at least another three or four of these in my handmade wardrobe.
Have fun sewing!
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