I started sewing Butterick 5951 late in the winter of 2016 and before I knew it, the weather turned warm and spring was on the way. Instead of completing this dress – I tucked it away, unfinished, in my cedar chest to deal with later.
Later is now here; I just finished this dress and I love it now more than ever.
I’m pretty certain I bought this pattern thinking it was a vintage reproduction pattern; to me this dress screams 1940’s in a great way. It has all of the features I love on a vintage garment – gathered shoulders, high back neckline, and a swishy skirt.
I cut out the bodice size that the pattern envelope dictated that I cut. But I ended up taking in the waist by a total of 4″. Another way to think of this is: I stitched the seam allowances at each side seam deeper by 1 inch. I had to taper this down to zero at the armscye since I didn’t want the sleeve and armhole height to be affected.
I could have taken in the waist a bit more, but I was planning on always pairing this dress with a belt. So I left the bodice with some positive ease which is preferable as it makes typing easier during work. Low and behold, my trusty black belt went missing for the photoshoot. Ugh.
I’m a sucker for wool crepe and even more so when I find there’s a pattern to it instead of a solid. In my fabric search, I don’t come across patterned wool crepes very often and snap them up when I do.
This fabric is from Emma One Sock (sold out last year – sorry) and it’s something very different than my usual tastes. For one – I never!!! ever!!!! wear yellows of any sort. Yellow and my skin tone just look awful. I pondered for quite some time before purchasing this fabric and thought I’d give it a shot since the mustard shade is toned down by a lot of greys & blacks.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it doesn’t look that bad. Perhaps it helps that my hair is now red/auburn instead of my natural, dirty blonde.
Long sleeves on a dress is new for me, too. I generally sew short sleeved dresses as I find they’re more versatile. If its cold, I wear a cardigan and if it’s warm, I’m all set. Doing so stretches a dress into three seasons here in Chicago, instead of only being able to wear a dress for one season.
Last year, I was tired of winter and tired of being cold which is what prompted me to cut out the long sleeves in the first place. All I can say is that I’m really happy I did.
“Past Liz” has great ideas sometimes as it is keeping “Current Liz” warm during this winter photoshoot. lol
Talking details – I omitted lining the bodice and skirt of this dress. This wool crepe is snuggly warm, opaque, and not at all scratchy so I decided to skip a step. I’ve been wearing slips under my dresses more often so it didn’t make sense to add it and have two linings.
If you have this pattern or are contemplating purchasing it, be forewarned I drafted my own neckline/collar facing since I omitted the lining.
I simply traced around the front bodice’s neckline with some tissue paper to make my own facing. I was sure to trace the grainline on the new facing piece also.
And my finished neckline on the inside:
The only thing I dislike about this dress is that the fabric design really hides all of the lovely pattern details. Of course this is my fault for making this pairing…
Even in this closeup it’s challenging to see the beautiful rushing of the waist-to-bust darts.
Ahh well… All I can say is that I really love this pattern and a second one is already in the works for the spring/summer. If I sew for summer now, it means spring comes faster right??? heh
I love a center-back, lapped zipper insertion best of all the types.
I’m the crazy seamstress who will even go as far to create a center back seam on a bodice just so I can install a zipper there instead of at the underarm seam. They’re so uncomfortable at the side seam and are challenging for me to put on, so I always avoid them if I can.
Luckily, this pattern was drafted for a center back zipper. But I loathe sewing a zipper all the way to the top of a high neckline, so instead I left the top portion free and fastened it closed with a hook and eye.
Felix was finding great humor in how tiny my feet look and you can thank him for the detailed shot of my shoes.
Well that’s all I think I have to share on my dress.
I continue to be enamored by 1940’s style garments & patterns and I hope to be able to sew more of them in the coming months. I do realize this is all in my control – what I sew. But for what it’s worth, I’m committed now more than ever, to sew only the items that I feel like sewing. I’m sewing up those special garments that I’ve been long desiring and making them a reality.
Time is too short to sew boring things – don’t you think?!