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The first of the Vintage Pledge sewing projects I have planned is done! It’s Butterick 5748, a 1960s reprint, in a strawberry print cotton from my stash. I’m really pleased with it for the most part, and I think it’s the best dress I’ve sewn so far. It also goes really well with a bunch of my sweaters, including my green Hetty.

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As I mentioned before, I own a version of this dress in a size 12 that my mom made in a blue floral print, but it’s gotten a little snug after the holidays. I decided to try making the size 14 to see if it would be a better fit. Right now the size 12 fits me with somewhere between zero and half an inch of ease if I had to guess, and it’s not uncomfortable to wear, but it’s also not my first choice if I’m planning to eat or drink a lot. The 14 has a lot more ease, and I think it might be too much. I wouldn’t say it’s a bad fit, but it’s roomier than I like, and I have a feeling that it will be way too big by the time summer rolls around. The neckline and shoulders also don’t stay in place or fit as well compared to the size 12. I suspect that my ideal size is somewhere in between a 12 and a 14 or perhaps a size 12 with the side seams let out.

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I didn’t do any modifications to the bodice pieces, but I had to alter the skirt because I was working with only three yards of fabric. I took the skirt length up three inches which makes it hit just above my knees, and then I had to cut out the back of the skirt upside down. I had to stare pretty intensely at the fabric to figure out which direction the strawberry print was running, so I don’t think anyone is going to notice that the front and back aren’t the same. I also moved the zipper to the center back because I prefer back zips.

P.S. There’s one detail on the lining that I forgot to photograph but was really excited about. I used my rolled hem foot to hem the lining of the skirt. I bought the foot last summer hoping to use it like that, and although my technique is far from perfect, it worked! My hem on the lining only took me about 20 minutes, which is the quickest circle skirt hem I’ve ever done. I usually dread hemming circle skirt linings, and I’m so excited about having a better way to do them.

23 Comments

  • How gorgeous! You are terribly talented, I can’t seem to make my rolled hem foot work for me. Pattern sizing is so tricky and IMO pattern companies use outdated fit models that don’t match today’s bodies. I usually sew a size 14, grading to a 16 at the waist, with anywhere between a 0.75-2cm FBA.

  • What a gorgeous dress! I adore the fabric. You could always cut a size 12 but sew with a 3/8″ seam allowance on the side seams to give yourself a bit more ease.

    Great job!

  • This is so lovely! I’ve been wanting to try dressmaking for awhile but patterns always look so complex… this one looks like it might be simple enough to start with- thanks for sharing it 🙂

  • It turned out so pretty!! It looks so happy, and I wish you luck with fixing your sizing issues. I loathe using a lot of modern patterns for that very reason.

  • That is so pretty well done, and as for the top being a little too big have you thought of an elasticated belt over the top of it to keep it in place. I prefer back zips too and you did a wonderful job on it……….. Oh for the days when I was size 12/14……… according to the tape measure I should be wearing 22/24 now although if I buy commercial items I can get into 16/18 sizes? Go figure!!!

  • Andi,

    About your getting a good fit on a dress bodice, I would suggest trying to find a basic fitting pattern from one of the 4 major U.S. pattern companies. The one I used a few years back was a Simplicity, and I know that eventually they discontinued it. But it has been awhile since I looked to see if they brought it back. The one I bought was a one-size pattern (as opposed to multiple sizes on one sheet). I think you would want to buy a size 12 pattern considering the blue print dress is a 12 and it fits you much better through the shoulders.

    The standard for all U.S. pattern companies is a B bust cup; all patterns are made over this cup size. I suspect that this is your problem, and it will not necessarily be solved by adding width at the sides.

    The basic fitting pattern includes 4 bodice front pieces, an A cup bodice, a B cup bodice, etc. to a D. Everything else is the same except for the amount of room created by the darts for the different cup sizes. The instructions will help you to determine which cup size bodice piece you need to use. If I remember correctly, you would subtract your high bust measurement from your bust measurement.

    Once you have settled on the correct cup size bodice and made any other tweeks to the bodice, you can translate those changes to another similarly-designed pattern. I used mine to make a one-piece dress rather than a dress with a waist which is what the basic fitting pattern would make.

    If you are interested (even maybe later on) in being able to adjust for cup size on things like blouses, jackets, etc. I would recommend some of the articles in Threads Magazine. Either find someone who has a collection of the different years of the magazine or you can go online and maybe find what you would want through their directory and then look up the article online. Also there are a number of sewing books on the market which I expect would cover how to make changes for the larger bust cup sizes.

    Didn’t mean to write a book, but hope this helps!

    Millie

    • Thanks, Millie. I’ve actually done all of that before with my mom! I’m not very experienced at sewing, but my mom is, so although I haven’t done much of the fitting work myself, I’ve been fitted by someone who knows what they’re doing. We’ve rarely had circumstances where I need a FBA. And whatever I need to do to get a better fit, I’ll need to do more than just adjust the bust because the size 12 is tightest through the waist. That’s where my weight fluctuates the most.

  • This is fabulous Andi, you have such style. And green Hetty goes so well with the print. Like Ann said above, my days of wearing small sizes have long gone, so to with dresses, I don’t even own one now. Which makes it even nicer to see the lovely dresses you make…thank you!

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