A 1940’s Inspired Butterick 5951

I was standing over my sewing table contemplating what sewing pattern & fabric I wanted to use for my next project.  I has having a very hard time committing to cutting into this wonderful rayon print.  My husband walked in and gave me that extra push I needed to using this extra special fabric.  He said casually and matter-of-fact ‘If you love that fabric – use it’.

I’m so glad he convinced me I needed to sew with this fabric, as I’m smitten with my new dress.


I bought this fabric in September last year from Stitch Sew Shop in Old Town, Alexandria (just outside of Washington, DC).  I was in town for a family wedding and was able to stop in for a quick visit.

I really love being able to take the opportunity to pick up a crafty souvenir for myself.  It will always be a reminder of the lovely day I spent wandering around with my husband and of the wedding festivities.

This fabric is a rayon or viscose substrate with this glorious tropical print.  It’s very delicate and light weight.  As such I used a microtex needle size 60, the same size I use with linings and silks.

I don’t remember the exact yardage I bought, but I had intended to use this for a different dress pattern.  Sometimes the mood strikes and plans have to change.


Would you be surprised if I told you I used Butterick 5951 for this dress?  Its the same pattern I used to make my grey & yellow wool crepe version.

I feel like every new project I make lately ends up being my new favorite.  But seriously folks – I feel wonderful in this 1940’s inspired dress.  Everything about it makes me happy.

While it’s easy to head to my backyard for photos, this dress called for putting in the extra effort to go off-site for photos.

I headed in my car and drove a whopping 5 minutes to the Museum of Science and Industry to take a few photos.  Originally built during the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, it was restored and re-established between 1920-1933 as the museum seen today.


All sorts of rushing on the bodice: the shoulders, sleeves, and front darts.

Similar to my wool crepe version, I created my own neckline facing as I opted to not line this dress.  You can just make out the outline around the neckline where I hand-stitched the facing place.

True to form, I used my favorite closure method: hand-picked, center-back lapped zipper.  The collar is fastened with a simple hook & eye closure.

The pattern stated to use elastic at the sleeve to create the rushing/gathers.  I did one sleeve and it failed miserably!

Instead I formed two rows of gathers to secure it all in place.  I’ve used this method from other vintage garment instructions so I new this was the right solution to use here.

My own addition is the self-made belt and self-drafted patch pockets.  I knew I wanted to add some pockets on the front to give it more of a vintage flare.  So I created a tulip-shaped pocket with added rushing to mirror details found in the bodice.

Belt closure is a vintage, navy plastic.  I don’t recall where I picked this up unfortunately.

It was such a windy day out I had trouble keeping my hair tamed.  I decided to give up and go for that wind-swept look.  lol

While I didn’t make any major modifications from my wool crepe version of Butterick 5951, I did decide to cinch up the bodice more on this version.  I often rely on belts to snug up the waist of garments, but this 40’s-inpsired dress called for a more close fitting bodice.  It’s still blousey, but is cinched more at the waist and upper hip.

And just for fun – I turned an image greyscale.  :D

This project now serves as my reminder that my favorite fabrics (that are waiting/languishing on the shelves) can turn into my favorite dress.

In: Sewing

Blogger for 6 years and counting, I am a passionate creator who loves to tinker.

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