March 13, 2014

1950's Wrap Dress

I was looking in my stash, last Sunday, and came upon this pattern:
I've never made a Butterick pattern and I vaguely remembered that PR was having a New To Me Pattern Co contest. My mind went, immediately, to the fabric in my stash and I remembered a cute, floral, poly/cotton blend that I purchased years ago for summer skirts. I probably have 4 yards of the stuff and no other plans for it. 

Then, on Monday, I checked the PR contest board and saw that their deadline for contest entries was in 5 days. 5 Days!!!  This pattern is rated as "Fast & Easy" so, I said to myself, let's see how fast it really is.

Monday - Thankfully, before I started any work, I read all of the reviews on this dress... and there are a load of reviews (check them out). They all had the same issues with the pattern so I was well prepared to jump into this project. My one big hesitation was that neither the envelope nor the tissue has any finish garment measurements. This is how I choose what size to make. None of the reviews mentioned this, that I recall, so I measured the back bodice piece. I was amazed that I would need the next size up as well. I take a 14 for the bust (the pattern that I have) and a 16 for the waist (the next package size up). Ugh! Time to make a muslin. Well, the first thing that I did was add a strip of fabric to the front and back bodice/wrap areas so that it would be able to close. My waist size fluctuates a good bit so I wanted a nice adjustable overlap.Then I cut a wedge out of the front to give more of a vintage V shape (instead of the U shape). With the muslin finished, I flat-felled the seams where I added fabric and decided to use this as a full lining.

Tuesday - Using the muslin as my new pattern, I cut my floral fabric and assembled the dress. Since I'm particular about darts, I sewed those by hand.

Wednesday - I had planned on just hemming the edges and not binding them but I changed my mind and decided to make binding tape with more of the white muslin that I used for lining. I also hemmed both the front and back. For hemming the back circle skirt I used this method. To finish it all up I added decorative buttons and hook and eye for easy and quick waistline adjustment.

Well, I made the deadline and here is the dress:

I think that I will add more buttons and wow, look at that hemline in the bottom picture, it definitely needs a hot iron. Lol 
I'd love to have a dozen of these for summer. Now that I have the kinks worked out it shouldn't take any time at all. 

New to Me Pattern Company

Note to self: Pick up more of this pattern on sale so you can cut the pattern tissue. Don't bother tracing the pattern, it would take too long and use a lot of copying supplies. Also, research period undergarments. I'm sure the corsets/girdles of the day made a huge difference in proper fit and shape.

3/25/2014 Update - I came in 31st out of 44 entries. Lol, 12 people cast votes for this dress. I don't feel bad at all. There were a lot of very beautiful items made for this contest. One item that I was surprised to come ahead of was a beautiful vest. She should have come ahead of me. I'm grateful for this project because it was part of the kick-start that I needed to get into sewing this year.


  1. Wow! Your dress turned out pretty! I have never sewn garments, but am working on a quilted jacket this month. You sure did a great job! I may have to email you for tips!

    1. Thanks for the compliment. I am following your progress with that jacket. I love the fabric and can't wait to see the finished piece. :)

  2. Awesome job! I have this pattern, but I'm pretty afraid to try it. Should be easy, but the reviews offer so many alternatives!

    1. For this pattern I can't say enough to start with a larger size. You can always cut it down. A quilting cotton would do nicely for the front piece but you would want something lighter weight for the back. That full circle skirt could get very heavy very quickly in the wrong fabric. :) Let me know if you make it. I'd love to see it. :)


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