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February 14

Butterick 6292: Valentine’s Day Dress

The holidays were a bit hectic for me this year with all  the traveling we did (Washington D.C., Atlanta, Indianapolis, then suburbs of Chicago all in the month of December).  Needless to say, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed and rushed to try to make my holiday dress in time for Christmas.  I ended up cutting the project loose about 5 days before Christmas since I still had several gifts that I needed to finish knitting as well as other last minute shopping.  I felt bad about it, but I know it was for the best.

So I decided that my holiday dress could become my Valentine’s day dress, since it’s bright red.  (I’m actually not going out on Valentine’s day since I don’t want to contend with the crowds.  But I may wear it anyhow for a home-cooked meal.)

Here’s the pattern cover for the vintage Butterick 6292:

I have a major weakness for wrap dresses, and I thought this particular pattern was even more special since it only has the illusion of wrapping.  Which means there’s no coverage issue to deal with (if you catch my drift, ladies).

Although I don’t have the long waist and legs that these models do, I would say my dress came out almost identical to the pattern cover.  The only alteration I’ll make next time would be to either add an additional pleat in the neckline or to shift them over closer to the middle of my shoulder.  I felt like the top of the bodice needed a bit more detail than it currently has, and I think an easy shift of the pleats would solve that problem nicely.   But in the meantime, I  was able to incorporate my (new) vintage pin I bought at ‘A Touch of Vintage‘.

Here’s a closeup of the bodice (and my pin), and self-covered belt.

And here’s the back view.

(Don’t mind my snow boots in the corner… we just had 20+ inches of snow in Chicago. heh)

Without having the Christmas time crunch on me, I was able to incorporate a few new techniques into the construction of this dress, beyond what the regular directions called for.  I added a horsehair braid at the hem, a waist stay, a handpicked zipper, and a self-fabric covered belt using a vintage belt kit I found on ebay.

My waist-stay:

My handpicked zipper:

And my horsehair braid (all 6 yards of it):

Of course I found out how to do all these lovely techniques on my favorite blogs!  I used Gertie’s tutorial about the horsehair braid, and I used Sewaholic’s tutorial for the waist stay as well as the hand-picked zipper.

I whipped up the fabric covered belt myself, and all I can say is I now know how NOT to make one.  heh  I partly used my book Better Dress-Making by Ruth Wyeth Spears for the construction, but it lacks the details to make it perfect, so I winged it where I had to; you can’t see that part from the outside of the belt, and I fear to show you the inside.  Let’s just say, I’m much closer to writing up a tutorial on the subject since I’m learning a lot from my mistakes.

The other tricky thing about this dress was trying to perfect the fit of the kimono sleeves (batwing sleeves or dolman sleeves, if you prefer).  The armholes are not fitted like traditional sleeves, but yet I wanted a fitted bodice, without too many wrinkles.  It’s a tricky business getting these sleeves just right.  It was less an issue with the final dress since I used a double knit fabric, which has a lot of stretch.  The first muslin in a regular cotton was pretty bad, but I fixed the bulk of the problems in the second one.

All in all, I think it came out nicely.  Next time I make this though, I think I’ll use a lighter fabric.  The double-knit is has lovely drape, but it became really heavy with the full skirt, and the waist seam became a bit thick for my liking due to all of the layers as well as the waist stay.

I’ll leave you with my attempted twirl pic!  And I hope you all have a lovely Valentine’s day with your significant other.  And if you find yourselves without one this year, make sure to indulge and treat yourself to something nice today and just have fun livin’ it up.  :)

  1. The dress really looks great, it’s good that you didn’t decide to rush it before Christmas, it’s better because of that.

  2. Tasia / Feb 14 2011

    So pretty! I love the way the skirt hangs, it’s flattering and fun! What a lovely Valentine’s Day dress, you look fantastic!

    Glad the waist stay and hand-picked zipper tutorials were useful – don’t you love how easy it is to do the hand-picked zipper? And it adds such a couture touch to projects. Have a great day!

  3. Mia / Feb 15 2011

    Gorgeous! I love skirts with a horsehair braid, they drape and twirl so nicely! I look forward to your belt tutorial.

  4. Marty J. / Feb 15 2011

    Wonderful job, Liz! I can’t believe that you haven’t been doing this your whole life! You’re amazing at it!

  5. monkeysocks / Feb 16 2011

    That is such a beautiful dress! I absolutely love the colour and it looks great on you. It’s nice to see a full skirted dress in double knit, I’m always a bit worried, like you say, that there will end up being too much bulk and it won’t hang right, but yours looks great-it hangs really nicely round your hips and looks just the right volume.and your waist looks tiny! The horsehair braid certainly seems to work well, a nice volume without a petticoat.

  6. Gina / Feb 16 2011

    This is so pretty, I love this dress, I am very impressed with your abilities! You are very talented not many people can sew a dress and make it this beautiful. the shoes are great. Great Job!!!

    • Liz / Feb 16 2011

      Thanks so much!

      The shoes are actually shoes from my wedding. I searched high and low for these (since I’m a woman’s size 4). Looking back I have no idea how I survived the whole day in such high heels.

  7. Cait / Feb 18 2011

    It looks beautiful! you did a fantastic job :)

  8. Adey / Feb 19 2011

    This dress is lovely Liz and I love how the skirt drapes!

  9. Tasha / Feb 21 2011

    Your dress is gorgeous! And all the details look great. I bookmarked the horsehair braid info because I’m starting to sew more, and dresses and skirts are high on the list, but I hate hemming curves (grr). I definitely need to try that out sometime.

    I followed you back over here from my blog and added you to my feed too. Love the blog. And I see hey, you’re also from Chicago. Hi from the Windy City too. :)

  10. Natalie Peeters / Feb 23 2011

    Love the dress! The colour is really beautiful too…

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