I went out to get Subway for dinner, so I stopped by Walmart on my way there and grabbed a zipper to dive in and finish Butterick 5350. When I got home, I stitched the zipper in, and hemmed the bottom. I was a little worried about the dress not zipping up, but there was no reason to be worried. It not only zips up, it actually fits really well. There was even an added bonus to the slightly adjustments I made to the fit of the bodice- I can literally get away without wearing a bra (no need to worry about bra straps showing) and still be supported enough unless I decide to go running, which is highly unlikely.

Some of the changes I made from the original pattern are as follows.

  • I ended up adding a small pleat to the lower edge of the bodice towards the outer side of the front. This was to take up some extra fabric that didn’t line up with the skirt. Considering I have no idea what size the skirt was originally cut as, I wasn’t surprised to see that there were some small issues with lining things up.
  • I added a front center seam to the bodice. This was due to me not checking to see which side of my fabric was the fold and which wasn’t. My bodice front pieces were supposed to be cut on the fold. They weren’t. Dumb mistake, but easily worked around.
  • The waist of the dress is actually supposed to have two bands, one above the other. I apparently never cut both or if I did, I threw the other one out with the scrapped bodice. Leaving one out gave the dress an empire waist, which I love.
  • I cut the cap sleeves 2 sizes larger than the bodice to give me a little more coverage. Its only a difference of about a inch of fabric width on each one, but I think its an improvement.
  • B5350-front-finish

 

I like that the length is short enough to be a little flirty, but not so short as to be totally immodest and make me wonder how much leg I’m really showing. I also love the cap sleeves, which were maybe the easiest “sleeves” I have ever and probably ever will make. They were simply slight ovals, folded in half, and stitched onto the bodice. It also reminds me a bit of an older dress style with the capped sleeves and empire waist, but not sure when. I’ll have to research that a bit.

B5350-back-finish

 

I’m really proud of myself for actually having my two back pieces line up perfectly. I’m not sure I’ve ever had that actually happen before, so it feels like an accomplishment. The only thing I’m not super happy with in this dress is the pockets. I added pockets to the dress in my first go at it, but I didn’t think to shift them down a little when I re-made the dress, so the pockets sit a little too high. That’s fairly minor though as I’ll probably never put more than my car keys in them anyway.

And finishing this off lets me mark one thing off of my list of projects to re-make before Summer arrives! If I have the orange corduroy jacket here at the house, I’d like to tear it down next and get it ready to wear come cooler weather.

About 4 years ago, I “attempted” to cut and sew this dress- Butterick 5350. I was doing View C, which has the sleeveless top with the deep v-neckline. I ended up making such a mess of the bodice pieces when I cut them, I literally could not sew it together. Nothing lined up, and not just by a little. I mean by 2+ inches. It was a disaster, and I ended up scrapping the bodice and making just the skirt, which was its own brand of messy. The waistband didn’t match up on either side of the zipper, and it was just bad. I can’t put my finger on why, but it was just ugly. Really, really ugly. If you want to know how ugly, you can do a search for this pattern in the archives and see the monstrosity that is the skirt. I blame part of its ugliness on poor fabric choices, but shoddy construction and that awful lining did not help.

Yesterday I re-cut the bodice, this time choosing to do View B with the cap sleeves, and stitched the bodice save for adding the sleeves. Today I stitched together the sleeves, attached the skirt to the waistband (which only has one band, not two as in the original design), and attached the bodice to the waistband. This will result in a higher waistline on the dress, which I rather like. I also really like how the sleeves look on View B. The skirt lining is going into the trash. Its pretty awful, and if I decide at some later date it needs a lining, it won’t be using that fabric.

I literally only have the bottom hem to put in, and to put a zipper in it. It fits my dress form fairly well, but I’ve yet to try it on me. I think it should fit though- its a little loose in the bust on the dress form, which I still need to pad a bit to make match me, and seems to be good everywhere else.

I may or may not go out for a zipper tonight. It depends on whether or not I am getting Subway for dinner. Here’s the front view of the dress as it stands now on my dress form.

B5350-front

 

I really wish I had taken photos of how bad this was the first time I tried to make it to compare. The panels come together in the back in a way where they line up almost perfectly, and its worlds better than it was. I still feel like the fabric choices in the skirt and waistband are ridiculous but I feel like the plain black bodice has really helped even it out and there’s a good chance I won’t be embarrassed to wear it. And it has pockets! Pockets are the one reason (or I should say lack of pockets) I shy away from wearing dresses a lot of the time. I need somewhere to stash a few small items on my person.

One way or another, I will have this finished tomorrow and will hopefully be posting photos of me modelling it.

b5350frontAbout three years ago, I cut all of the pieces for Butterick’s 5350, and some time later sat down to start constructing it. What I discovered was that 1) I had gained so much weight there was no way this dress would fit, and 2) when I cut the pieces I can only imagine I was drunk (haha because I don’t really drink and haven’t been drunk in 4+ years) because nothing was cut correctly or evenly. I attempted to construct it just the same, hoping I could make adjustments as I went, but nothing was lining up, and short of re0cutting the entire dress, I threw it into a pile of unfinished projects with hopes of coming up for a plan for it later. The biggest problems were in the bodice. The skirt panels lined up pretty well, but from the waistband up, nothing matched up with the other side, and some parts were just plain wonky. Really wonky. The lining pieces didn’t match up with the outer shell at all in some places.
Yesterday I took my seam ripper to it, and separated the bodice from the skirt, and also removed the skirt lining completely. After some fiddling, I ended up folding the wide waistband of the dress in half, creating a skirt waistband with heavy interfacing out of it, putting in a short, skirt-length zipper, and attaching the now-skirt lining as it should have been. Its not perfect, and one side of the waistband in the back is slightly wider than the other, but I honestly feel like I made the best out of what was a total train wreck. And since I’ve lost quite a bit of weight from the last time I messed with this, it actually fits perfectly now.

b5350rearThe fabrics are two cherry prints, one on a solid black background, the other on a black and white gingham, and the lining is a cherry red satin. I’m rather proud of myself for getting the zipper in pretty smoothly and evenly, and I almost succeeded in making it invisible. Now I just have to hope this thing holds up in the wash- as many issues as I have had with this pattern from start til now, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to pull a ball of thread out after putting in t wash and dry. This is another one I should be calling Murphy!

Front view. I guess I need to clean off my camera lens here next time I use it. There’s a pretty big spot on it! I do especially like the fact that the skirt is high-waisted.
Rear view. You can’t see it in this picture, but where the waistband lines up at the zipper, one side is a bit wider than the other. To me, its glaringly obvious, but I guess most people won’t even notice unless I point it out.
Bright red satin lining! I hate how my legs look almost as white at the white of the gingham. I could light up a room with my pale skin!

b5350liningI am hoping to make my next project to finish up the skirt I cut a few months ago. Its also going to have a satin lining, which will make it better for winter wear. The fabric isn’t as fun though for that one- its a medium to dark grey tweedy-type stuff, and rather rough to the tough. After that, I have a bathrobe to make!

I’ve sewn Simplicity 3797 twice now, once as pictured in a skull-themed print fleece, and once with a complete lining in a cherry themed fabric so it was actually a warm jacket. While I had to create a new pattern piece in order to sew the version with a full lining, it was still really simple and easy to do. The lining is red satin and the lapels are red and white striped costume satin.

 

us-234x300I think it took me about 90 minutes to construct the one pictured at left from start to finish as its a very basic design and there’s nothing complicated about it. The lined one took about twice as long as there are twice as many pieces and seams to sew.

Both of these were done in a size 22, and while the unlined one turned out perfect, the lined one has a few minor issues I need to address- namely I think I forgot to lockstitch one of the seams in the lining and its coming open near the shoulders on one side. I also would like to take it in a size or two if I am going to deconstruct it to repair it as I’ve lost quite a bit of weight since I made it.