Thursday, April 24, 2008

Butterick 5179

I am pretty much the Queen of TNT Patterns. I work my TNT patterns so hard that I bet some of you think I never sew from new patterns...well that is just not the case! Sometimes fashion changes just enough that if I want to be "in" I have to set the TNT aside and work on something new.

So I present to you my version of Butterick 5179:

This is one of Butterick's new spring/summer releases. I purchased this pattern because last summer I saw a woman walking down 57th Street wearing a sleeveless version of this dress. I wanted that dress bad! Even though several of the pattern companies offered this dress in a sleeveless version, the Butterick pattern caught my eye because it had a short sleeve, which I thought would work better for me.

Some stats

A crinkled lightweight, border print linen purchased from Textile Studio.
Lining - white 100% cotton batiste from Metro Textiles.

22" beige zipper, fusi-knit interfacing, rayon seam tape

Pattern alterations

*Body of the dress
~Added 3" to the length of the dress - Tres Bon Babble (Bonnie) made this dress and noted that the dress was a little short. So I added extra length to the pattern, thinking that I could always cut it off later if the dress proved to be too long.

~I used the pivot and slide method on the front piece to add approximately 3" to the waist and hip area of the dress.

~Added an additional 5/8" to the back seam tapering from the waistline down to the hemline. Even though the pattern states the finished width at the lower edge of the size 22 dress is 57.5 inches wide, I knew that I wanted the body of the dress to be at least 60 inches around to give it a more flowy feel.

~After I flat measured the pattern, I decided to add one inch to the width of the sleeve.

~I added an additional 1.5 inches to the bottom of the sleeve. For me, the sleeves were just a little too short and would not be flattering to my bodacious arms.

~I also added a 3 inch band to the sleeve - again to give the sleeve more length but also to bring part of the border print up higher in the dress. This border was attached to the hem of the sleeve, then folded in half. Finally I stitched it flat.

I have to admit that I don't read pattern instructions anymore. Probably because I am usually making the same thing over and over again. This time, however, I had to follow the instructions pretty closely since it was the first time I was using this pattern.

The most important thing to note, is that I used a border print for this dress. So the pieces were laid on the cross grain of the fabric. This allowed me to use the border most advantageously. When I originally thought about making this dress, I wanted the yoke to be made from the border also, but I didn't have enough fabric left over to execute that idea. And I think not having enough fabric to cut the yoke from the border print made the dress look plainer than I wanted it to.

So I added a thin soutache trim to the neckline and the sleeve bands to bring some more definition to the top of the dress. I also added a flowery-type pin to the neckline again to give more life to the top of the dress.

I am sure you're wondering what that little brown piece is on the back neckline. Have you ever had a facing piece come up just a smidgeon short? Yeah, me too. So this was my solution ~ to add a piece of the rayon seam binding to the end...most of the time no one will ever know ~ unless of course you are sharing photos on the internet! *smile* Now this shouldn't have happened because the interfacing was block fused to the fabric prior to cutting out the facing pieces but things happen and I had to "Make it Work!"

I cut out a lining for the front and back pieces only from the cotton batiste. The fashion fabric while pretty was lightweight and a tad sheer so to give the dress a little oomph for early cooler spring days and to prevent everyone from seeing through the dress, (not a pretty sight let me assure you! LOL!!!) I lined it. I didn't think it was necessary to line the sleeves, however, and the lining is attached to the dress at the yoke line and at the armholes.

After inserting the lining, I sewed the yoke to the dress. I arranged the gatherings on the dress front and back and then pinned the yoke piece to the dress, as the pattern dictates. Next I basted the yoke and dress pieces together. Finally I took the entire piece to the sewing machine where I placed the gathered side down on the sewing machine and sewed the pieces together. A good press caused the gathers to lay very flat.

This is the point where you put the zipper in. I have to admit that I prefer to put a zipper into flat pieces rather than an almost finished dress. Because of this I chose to put the zipper in by hand so that I could better control its application.

Finally I hemmed the lining and then after adding rayon hem tape to the bottom of the dress, I hemmed it. Another good pressing and it was done.

This is the first pattern I've made from scratch in awhile so it took me a little longer than usual to complete. Also, I had to go back and add some embellishments to take away from the "housedress" look that the dress had when I originally finished it.

I have to say that the finished dress is only okay in my book. It is not fantastic. It is not "Wow!" It is just okay. But that's fine because it's the first time that I used the pattern and I'm still getting acquainted with it. I will make the dress again using a different type of fabric, something a little bolder and making sure that the hem and yoke are sewn from contrasting fabrics to give some definition to the dress. I may even experiment with a three quarter sleeve...

Will I wear the dress...sure. It kind of grows on you! And my photographer, DD #3 did say that it looked way better on with make-up and shoes than it did on the hanger. This particular version of the dress will not be a star in my wardrobe, but it's a good starting point and a reason to make other versions to explore the pattern's possibilities.

Now to my questions for today...Has this ever happened to you? Have you had high hopes for a pattern and fabric combination and it just wasn't what you expected when you finished it? Did you knock the pattern? Did you question your abilities? Or did you realize that on any given day, what you see in your mind and what comes out of your sewing machine might not match up? Talk back to me!

More pictures of the construction process can be found in my Flickr album. I am off to work on a TNT cardigan! *LOL*


  1. Carolyn, I really like this dress on you, you look great. You've done a wonderful job "customizing" the pattern.

  2. I think if you could have used the border on the neckline, you may have liked this dress better. My eye was drawn to the border at the bottom instead of first being drawn to your face. The trim at the neckline helps, but I think it needs a bigger shot of colour near your face to balance out the band at the hem.

    However, that being said, it is still a very pretty dress and the shape is flattering on you. I know you will work this baby for all its worth and I can't wait to see all the future versions!

  3. I agree, this is a very flattering style on you. And it's amazing what a difference the trim and flower made.

  4. I love this dress on you Carolyn! I LOVE the fabric!!

  5. Carolyn, good job trying a new pattern. It works for you.

  6. I bought this beautiful pink floral fabric last year. Really, really wanted a straight, somewhat fitted, long sleeved dress for early spring. I decided it was time to make it 2 weeks ago. I didn't cut out the sleeves before I assembled the body, and it's a good thing. I tried on the body, and hubby said, "Fits great. Don't like the pattern in that style." I promptly ripped out the zipper (why throw away 2 bucks?) and threw out the dress. So, this weekend, the fabric is trying a new life as a sundress. We'll see how this works. I like this dress on you; the contrast borders "make" it.

  7. This is a cute Spring dress. I love the fabric.

  8. I really like the dress. I was wondering as I was reading why you didn't use the border on the yoke...and your answer was what I thought was the case. The dress would look great for work in grey and black as the contrast! Lots of possibilities.

  9. I agree with what the others said as well, and you DO look good in it! I absolutely love the fabric as well.

    I'm dealing with a similar problem right now, which is really frustrating being that I'm new to sewing. The pattern looked great on the package, but once on me it looked like I was wearing a uniform. I'm altering it now (and flying by the seat of my pants).

  10. I think the dress looks very nice on you, pretty and professional. I do agree with the comment about using border print around the neckline; the darker solid color with the dots would draw the eye up to your face and would give the dress a more finished look overall. I have three or four yards of this fabric and am still deciding what to do with it for my summer wardrobe. I know I had a pattern in mind when I bought it last summer, but off hand I cannot recall! I think the colors are really wonderful. Linda

  11. Great dress, Carolyn! You did a fabulous job with the border print.

  12. Carolyn, I have problems matching patterns and fabric with dress patterns. I think because I love prints, which can take over fast when it covers a large part of the body, I seldom get it right. The last dress I made, Debbie Cook said it all, "you aren't wearing the dress, the dress is wearing you." I don't think the fabric is the problem on this dress, but I like it on you. I'm sorry you not as pleased with it.

  13. I like the dress on you. I am thinking that if you want to give the illusion of a matching yoke then how about getting a chunky red necklace that will complement the red borders. Or course, I have no idea where you would find something like this.

    I have this fabric. I bought enough to make a skirt. I absolutely love this fabric and was wistfully looking at it yesterday while I pondered which style skirt to make. And then lo and behold you made a dress! I now love it even more. And I am adding this dress pattern to must have list.

  14. First, I just love your attitude towards your dress. I like that you recognize what works about it for you and what doesn't. Now, I will tell you that I am 100 percent in love with the fabric, the trim and the way you worked it all to the best advantage. I think you look terrific. Honestly, you look like spring.

  15. Carolyn, the dress is cute and spring-like. I love all your touches to make this garment fashionable and wearable. Wear it with pride.

    I have to add that I can't wait to see what other winning combos you come up with as you become more and more comfortable with the pattern.

  16. Lovely dress and like the fabric combo. I'm currently working on a dress/tunic for my daughter and have high hopes that the pattern and fabric combination works in the end.

  17. I work my TNT's to death, too, Carolyn. Though I try different patterns all the time, I always come back to those TNT's. I think of them as variations on a theme and they can present as little or as much challenge as I'm in the mood for. In answer to your questions, there have been many times the pattern and fabric results were below my expectations or what I had visualized in my head. If I really loved the pattern, I tried it again or tried the finished garment on at another time, maybe I could tweak it or saw it from a different perspective. Did I question my abilities? Always! There's always room for improvement.

  18. Loving the print and the fact the you made it work despite your misgivings. It looks fab on you, perfect Friday office dress. mom use to drag me to Jo-Mar every other Saturday, i so remember the Pa Trim Store! Memories.

    Angie R.

  19. ok, much earlier today I didn't write so much a comment as a freakin' book, and it seems blogger took it off into cyberspace never to have been read. Crap!
    1. Yeah, we all have had the experience of not having a project live up to our vision or expectations, but I really think it's balanced out by the projects that start out as maybe just ok and turn into something we love.
    2. I really think it's time to visit MJ Trim. I'm thinking that you need to follow through on your vision of the border on the yoke. If you don't have any of the border fabric left then you can create the illusion of the dark strip by adding "jewels", trim, or even embroidery.
    Remember your rule of 3? This is needing the third element to be complete.
    It's ok, but I know you wanted it to be better than ok, and I think that a little more attention and embellishment will get it there.

  20. I think the dress looks great in terms of shape and color, but I agree with Shannon that it pulls attention away from your face.
    I am looking forward to seeing future version of this pattern.

  21. I like it, it definitely says "spring". Even if you only wear it a few times, you can chalk it up to learning experience.

  22. It is still a nice dress and like how you left sleeves unlined. I did like the chocolate set on another post. As far as something not working out, absolutely. One McCall tunic pattern that I thought would work well as I have RTW in similar styles, but the sleeves and bust were so large from so much ease built in, and I had a baby 3 mos ago, so I am still broad there, the blouse was too billowy. I scrapped it all.

  23. Carolyn, I always question my abilities and have outfits that don't quite measure up to my vision of what it should be. However, I do think you did a great job on this dress. There needs to be more umph around the neck. The flower seems to blend into the fabric and it was hard for me to spot on my monitor. Also the soutache braid looks very thin. Maybe finding a different trim or redoing the yoke in a solid blendable fabric will give it the proper "wow" factor.

  24. I think the dress looks very good as it is, but I agree with you and others that the neckline yoke out of the border would've moved it up to GREAT! I like Marji's suggestion of jewels (see EricaB's blog), or I was thinking even some fabric paint in a matching red and then you paint the whole yoke with a sheer wash of it?? I think Sew Stylish or another mag had something on that recently. Barring either of those, a wider trim would really set off the shape and would be easier and less messy too.

    Oh, almost forgot to say ... I love this fabric!!

  25. And what is it with the word verification things lately? They are all stretched out and warped and it takes me measurable time to figure out what the heck to type. Not your fault ...just ranting at Blogger for making me feel stupid. LOL!

  26. Carolyn, what a BEAUTIFUL STYLISH GORGEOUS looking dress!!! I think you got more than a dress, what you have here is a new TNT becaue this dress is awesome and I don't believe you'll make just this one (with all the fabric you have in hand, lol!!!)

  27. Carolyn, I love the border print! Very snazzy dress. :)


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated!


Related Posts with Thumbnails