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.

Comments (13)

  1. Kelly March 14, 2017 — 10:17 AM

    Beautiful dress! You’ve been making some great pieces lately, no wonder they are all your new favorites.

  2. Lauren March 14, 2017 — 11:18 AM

    What a perfect use for that fabric! You look fabulous :)

  3. Liz March 14, 2017 — 11:22 AM

    Thanks so much Kelly & Lauren.

    I really do feel like a broken record stating “It’s my new favorite”. I will say – I have recently committed to sewing what I truly want to make for myself, so I hope that is what shining through.

  4. I think this is *my* favorite of the dresses you’ve shown lately! It is gorgeous! That print, those details–divine! The colors really suit you!! The shape of the dress is super flattering too and I love the little ruching details on the cuffs and pockets. Well done!

  5. I love this dress! Such gorgeous fabric and a very nice shape on you. Fabulous!

  6. M. March 15, 2017 — 5:34 AM

    Your dress is really lovely and you look gorgeous in it! :-) The details of it are delightful! I think the style is just perfect for you.
    I’m also totally guilty of wandering around my precious fabrics and not using it. Hm, I think I’ll take your advice and just make something nice out of it! After all, that’s why it was bought.

  7. Lynsey March 16, 2017 — 3:07 AM

    Awesome dress, it looks amazing on and has so many lovely details. Love the fabric too.

  8. Sarah March 17, 2017 — 4:09 AM

    Gorgeous! Nothing wrong with every new project being a favourite! Winning!

  9. Lacey March 18, 2017 — 1:17 PM

    I love this so much! Out of curiosity, which skirt version did you use? It looks fuller than the slim skirt option in the technical drawing, but not as full as the the other option. This is just the perfect ’40s silhouette and you look really lovely.

    1. Liz April 11, 2017 — 9:48 AM

      Yes, I know! I used the full-skirted version for this dress. I’m not sure if it looks slimmer than it is, due to my full hips… But for both my wool crepe and this floral rayon I used the full skirt.

  10. Your last version of this dress inspired me to buy the pattern, still have to make it up yet, looking at stash shortly. Unfortunately I have wallpaper removal to get done before I get to sew again.

  11. SC March 24, 2017 — 9:44 PM

    Utterly gorgeous! I feel silly in prints but they suit you so well. I think I need this pattern…

  12. Bonita March 30, 2017 — 5:47 AM

    Lovely dress ~ the fabric really is so perfect, I can see why it’s a favourite! Also, totally worth the extra photo effort, the columns are really showing off this stylish piece. ?

    bonita of Lavender & Twill

Leave a Comment