Tuesday, June 11, 2013

First vintage of 2013: Butterick 6520

Hard to believe that half the year is almost gone and I am only just now dipping into the ol' vintage pattern collection.   Well, for the sake of full disclosure, I must admit that I dipped into the vintage pattern collection that is Etsy for this one, rather than my rather plentiful existing stores.  But it's part of my collection now, that's what's important, right?

Anyhow, thar she blows.   Butterick 6520.  1950s Buttericks are my favorite!  And this one did not disappoint.  This time around I tackled the dress, but I'd love to get the jacket a try someday.   I made a "muslin" to test fit, after applying some best-guess alterations based on comparison to bodice pieces from another pattern that I knew fit well.   I added about two inches total width at the waist (too much, as it turns out), narrowed the front neckline a bit, and added darts at the back neckline.

This pattern's front pieces are cut on the bias, and it relies on gathering at the wide neckline rather than darts for bust accommodations, making it significantly different than my comparison pattern,  So I didn't figure the fit would be spot on with the very first attempt, and indeed it was not -- but it's not bad.  I'm actually pretty happy with it, enough that I wouldn't consider going back and trying to do alterations (bleh).  I'll just fix it next time.

The fabric I used is some rayon challis that was cheap ... I think from the High Fashion Fabrics clearance section.  I was a little eh on the overly washed out pastel-ness of it all, so it was a good compromise choice for this project.  However, it's not so great to photograph, especially in bright sunlight.

It's not super apparent, but the bodice is a bit loose.  I think I'll narrow it from the center front and center back seams, and add some length to the front of the bodice,which had a curved bottom that I thought was to balance out the gathering/bias cut, but instead just hiked the skirt up in front in an odd way.  I adjusted the hem accordingly, but I'd rather have a straighter waist seam.  I ended up letting the shoulder seams out to balance the bodice shortness, but obviously adjusting the pattern piece is the better way to go.

Here's a better shot of the fabric.  I used the lavender poly/cotton lawn I lined with (also from High Fashion) to make bias tape finishings for the neckline and armholes (as instructed) and hem (for the hell of it).

I fully lined the dress (yes, this dork even puts full linings in muslins -- I hate slips!) but took a few short-cuts that make the lining more of a lining-underlining hybrid.  Rather than gathering the lining and main fabric separately and attaching them, I gathered and attached the layers as one.  (Win!  I haaate gathering.)   This meant that when putting in the zipper it was easier to treat the layers as one there as well.  Minus one for the zip showing inside, but plus one apiece for the lining adding stability to the main fabric (resulting in a better zipper insertion), and for not having to do the hand-sewing of lining to zipper,  So also a net win.

I haven't shown any "dress guts" in a while -- do y'all find this kind of shot useful?  Hopefully this better illustrates the description above.

Hopefully this week I'll build my brand new Expedit to house my fabric collection, which has been packed away since we moved last year.  Whoopeeeeeee!  Only I think the fabric collection may have expanded while it was in the closet and may no longer fit on a single Expedit.  Yep, that's my story and I'm sticking with it ... 


  1. Beautiful dress Andrea! And just in case you haven't seen them, Gola just released some neat Liberty print shoes too.

  2. Oh my gosh - now I want that pattern too! What a cute dress! I am super impressed that you lined your muslin. And I am right with you about the gathering: haaaaaate it! Why do all the cute dresses have gathered skirts? Wahhh! I do find the guts shot interesting and helpful, so thanks for that!