Butterick 6494 dress in Rayon doubleknit

Just a quick post.  I recently made Butterick 6494, view C, no pockets. It’s an easy make, but, sadly, it’s already too warm here for long sleeves.  Perhaps a cool evening?

From Butterick’s website.

This is an easy dress to make, so very little to write.  I made a size 12 in the shoulders, tapering in the sleeves and side seams only to a size 14.  It’s a slim, close fitting dress, and very flattering, but give yourself room if you have a clingier fabric.

As for the fabric:  a teal rayon doubleknit (with some elastine or lycra) from Emma One Sock.  It’s a medium weight, which is perfect here (the pattern calls for french terry).  The fabric was fairly easy to work with, though it wrinkles easily (see the photos).  I found that going up to a size 11 needle helped with skipped stitches.

I didn’t really change much or do things differently from the directions, which are straight forward.  I did eliminate the pockets, as reviews elsewhere suggested these could lead to enhancing the tummy area in an unflattering way.  I followed the instructions for the collar, but I don’t think it gives the best results.  I plan to follow David Coffin’s (Shirtmaking) instructions next time I do a collar, as I think it will result in a more professional finish.

Over all, I’m pleased, though I know where the errors are.

Some pictures:




This one wore me (Butterick 5354)

Elber Albaz, former designer of House Lanvin revealed in an interview, “What is your job as a designer? To unveil the body or to cover it?” He went on to say, “…It was then that I realised that fashion is not really about the body at all. Its essence is simple: to make the woman look beautiful, to make her fly.”

This top (Butterick 5354, view D) doesn’t aspire to Lanvin in the slightest, but I liked the drawings, the description and the line drawings.  Albaz’s sentiment is still relevant: fashion should make you feel confident, beautiful, enhance the best of you.  But it didn’t even make me flap wings.  This is a design that could work (with some re-working) in a VERY drapey fabric, but don’t consider it with any fabric with body.  It covers the body, adds weight, and is headed to the donate pile.

The fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics – I bought it after working with the navy rayon doubleknit (and during Ann’s closeout sale).  I love the fabric, and am kicking myself for wasting it here.  I have enough left for a sleeveless top, maybe.

Okay, other than the fact that it’s just not flattering (though super easy), here were my  main issues:

  1. The neckline is not as wide as pictured in either the drawings on the front or in the line drawings.  Views B, C and D indicate a wide neckline (I made view D).  It’s more of a circle around the neck (View A somewhat indicates this, but is still more revealing than reality).  It’s a very, very modest neckline compared to these drawings.
  2. The shoulders are too narrow.  Yes, I know, muslin.  This isn’t usually a problem I have – since I have narrow shoulders.  But the shoulder lines are well inside where they need to be flattering.  I made a 12, my usual size, and many on PatternReview indicated sizing down.  Again, where the shoulder meets the sleeve cap is more like View A than View D.
  3. The facing is fiddly.  I measured carefully, I cut carefully, I attached carefully.  I understitched.  I trimmed and notched.  I pressed.  The facing rolls out.  In fact, it’s not drafted properly, as it won’t lay flat on the inside. The outside curve of the facing is a bit short, forcing the facing to pull up – and is perhaps why issue number one is occurring.

Could I have fixed this with a muslin?  Yes.

Win some, lose some.  Moving on.

(Sorry, can’t seem to get the lighting right with my iPhone).

Repeat: Butterick 6388, view D

B6388, view D, from Butterick’s website.

Pattern Description: Butterick 6388 (c 2016).  From back:  “Tops and dress have side front seams, shaped collar, and back yoke.”  I made view D, with long sleeves, omitting the pockets after reading other reviews.

Fabric:  Luxe navy french terry in cotton (sold out) from Marcy Tilton.

Pattern Sizing:  Size Y XS, S, M.  I liked the fit of the small in the sweater I made previously, but knew I would need to add for waist/hips/thighs to preserve proportions.  I made a size small, grading to a medium at the waist through to the hem.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, mostly, but longer.

Instructions? fine, I think.   Didn’t really follow them this time, except for the order of construction.

What do you like or dislike about the pattern?  Clean lines, simple. A basic to accessorize.  I used a lovely blue/violet silk scarf the first time, though I felt a little like a flight attendant.

Pattern alterations or design changes?  Increased the size to roughly a size 14 through hips/thighs.  One of the things I didn’t do on the sweater was an adjustment for my long waist.  I always tug at the hem.  Since I wanted to maintain proportions, I added 2 inches at the waist fitting line.  I also added 1 inch to the hem to make this dress a bit longer (about 1-2 inches above the knee, all told).  While I top-stitched the front side seams, I got the ripple effect, even with a walking foot.  As a result, I hand hemmed the sleeves and dress.

Would you sew again? Recommend?  Sure.  This is my second take, though, so probably not for a while.

img_27431Conclusions?  A lovely dress that looks much better on. I felt amazing, professional and pretty in this simple dress. If you maintain the proportions, it accentuates the figure. I’m not as busty as the dress form, so I don’t get the pulling; adding the width to the lower half kept it from riding over the buttocks to pool in the lower back.  It’s plain, so it needs accessories.  It has a very different feel in the soft french cotton terry – very luxurious and dressy – than the wool doubleknit.  That having been said, the collar needs interfacing in the terry to stand up. And, yes, photos on the dress form are after being worn (and tossed in the closet after a long day at work).  I’d love to get photos with me in the garments, but then I’d never get the blog posts done…

Wool Sweater: Butterick 6388

BRRRR… it’s cold outside!  So I hear.  In reality, I’m sitting in shorts and a tee with the window open listening to the crickets.  Phenomenal Florida weather.  But I’m going to the land of ice and snow – and when I looked through my winter clothes, I realized I was in need.


I purchased Butterick 6388 for the collar, and fully intended to make a dress (view D).  I’ve been on the fence about it-I will make it, but I’m not sure about wool.  I made view C for my trip to Colorado.  This is an easy project.

The fabric:  a Mark Jacobs wool doubleknit I purchased from Marcy Tilton in 2011.  Actually, it’s a remnant – I originally paired it with a red knit to make Vogue 1313 (DKNY).  I still have the dress, but I almost always feel like a Trekkie in it.  The quality of the fabric is amazing, and I love the heathered black.  I managed to eke out the top (view C) on about a yard and a quarter.  I did have to piece the collar – not enough space for a fold – adding a center back seam to the back of the collar.  The recommended fabric for this is sweatshirt fleece or french terry.

Close-up of the front collar; I added top-stitching.

What I changed:  Not too much, actually.  I did top stitch every seam except the side seams to help keep the seams flat – wool double knit can be thick.

Construction and instructions:  The instructions are perfectly fine.  Again, this is pretty easy.  I did add the top stitching.

I have found that Butterick patterns (more so than McCall or Vogue) tend to have a lot of ease – particularly on anything sized XS-S-M.  By the measurements, I should have made the medium (size 12/14).  But I tend to the smaller size of 12 in the shoulders.  I cut the small, but stitched 3/8″ seams at the sides/arm; everywhere else is the traditional 5/8″.  I used my straight-stitch machine, serging after the fact (since I was fitting as I went).  I think my decision was the right one, as the fit is spot on for me.

The top hits right at the hip.  When I tissue fit, I knew I should add two inches to the length since I’m long-waisted.  There is very little shape to this dress, so where the waist hit didn’t matter so much for the top.  I will add it for the dress.

Front and back views, overexposed to show the black, and the dropped sleeves.

What I learned:   I’d forgotten how warm this fabric is!  I won’t get much wear from this here – but it’s cute/casual/sporty. I like it, even thought it’s not much more than a sweatshirt with a fun collar.  I need to be very selective about my wool double knit purchases since I really don’t need any in my wardrobe.  It also means that I don’t have a fabric for the dress. I originally planned to do this in a grey wool double knit purchased at the same time…

Up next:   I’ve been really busy – who isn’t.  BUT I FINISHED THE RUCCI SUIT!  Yes, I finished it a week or so ago.  I didn’t like the pictures on the dress form, so I’m waiting for a chance for someone to take pictures with me wearing it.  I also made an orange silk jacquard midi pencil skirt, but haven’t had time to blog about it yet.  What to sew? I’m thinking the Paco Peralta with the short sleeved jacket, or a vintage Guy Laroche suit, or a lace dress… but no sewing while at my in-laws.



Pink Denim Flounce… Butterick 4593 update

I finally got pictures of my niece modeling her skirt (Butterick 4593, which I blogged about last month) – she LOVES it, even though it is way too big for her.  Here she is:


I made this in a size 7, and by all accounts, she should have had about 1/2 inch of ease in the waistline.  see for yourself:

IMG_1016 IMG_1017

Somewhere, we have measurement error!

Her mom wants an elasticized pull on style, so I recently ordered an indie pattern – Favorite Things Little Hip Skirt:

The pattern also recommends a 7 for her, but I’m using a knit this time, and thinking of going down.  Anyone tried this pattern yet?

The Halloween Post.

This year. The little guy (3yo) is sound asleep.  He had a big day, what with Halloween at school, plus trick or treating with dad.  This morning he said he wanted to be a fireman, but surprised me when he decided to wear the bat costume he requested and I made for him.  (I told him he could wear last year’s costume if he wanted, but he chose the new one).

McCalls 4951

I love doing Halloween costumes. It is what finally brought me back into sewing. Halloween is such fun, and if you make your own, you can be so much more creative and imaginative. The little guy selected the fabric, and I think he thought he had to have the same as the pattern envelop.  But whew – slick, shiny fabric, with glitter – a real challenge to sew and left my sewing room a mess.  The directions were okay – but if you followed them, the results weren’t going to be so great.  The set-in sleeves, especially with the slick fabric, were a real challenge.  But he LOVED it and was proud to wear it to school and tell all his friends.

Last year?  I didn’t make him his costume last year.  We were all going to a Halloween costume party wear the costumes were taken seriously.  He wanted to be a fireman – and wanted us to be firemen too. I didn’t have time to make three matching costumes (and couldn’t find adult versions), so I purchased them.  But when he was one, I went with the classic Simplicity 8814 dinosaur (copyright 1998):

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And previous Halloweens.  Where we used to live, we had a friend who threw serious Halloween parties and some of the costumes were pretty amazing.  The first year we went we didn’t know better so threw something together.  After that, we planned out our costumes.  By far, our two best costume sets were these:


I made both colonial costumes, using remnants from the local fabric store. I used Butterick 3072 for my husband, and Simplicity 4092 for me.  I had no idea how men’s sizing worked!  I bought something way too small and had to grade for the first time.  By the way, we were dressed as George Mason and his wife Ann. Mason was one of the “quiet” patriots for the revolution. At the time, we lived right next to the university that bears his name.  No matter.  Everyone said he was George Washington. And me?  Was I Marie Antoinette?  Couldn’t be Martha Washington, could you?

A couple of years later, we decided to go as TV characters – Jeanne and Major Nelson.  I ended up buying his costume from ebay, but making mine.  I had never drafted my own pattern before.  I used photos from the web,  a pattern for shorts and a jacket pattern as base, but basically draped muslin and went from there.  Just a couple days after the picture was taken, we found out I was pregnant with the little guy! So, in one sense, it was his first Halloween!

For my young niece: double flounce in pink denim (Butterick 4593)


My sister and her family also had a major move this summer, and her first grade daughter left Catholic school for public school.  During back-to school shopping, my sister lamented the fashions available to my niece in terms of age-appropriateness, quality and styles.  I offered to make her some skirts and dresses, and this skirt is the first of these.  This is my “fitting”skirt, since I’m working off measurements not a live person.  I mailed it today – I hope she likes it and it fits!

This pattern has been out for awhile (2005), so I know it’s well-reviewed, but here’s my spin:

Pattern Description:  A-line skirt, above knee, with lined yoke and flounces (I did view D, minus the flower).

Fabric Used: A fantastic, and amazing stretch pink denim from Gorgeous Fabrics, that looks better in person than in photos.  Great drape, very lightweight, and easy to sew.  I’m glad there was something leftover for me (insert selfish grin here).  It drapes far better than the picture shows, which is simply a hanger photo/not on the body.  Hopefully I can update this post with her wearing the skirt.

Machines & Tools Used:  my trusty Threadbanger 12 from Janome, various feet … zipper, edge stitching, overcast, and my seam roll.

Needles/Notions Used:  Stretch Needle size 11.  The striped grosgrain ribbon is from MJ Trim.

Tips Used During Construction: Claire Schaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide for the narrow machine stitched hem.

How were the instructions: So, so.  I followed them mostly, except for the narrow hem, when I deferred to Schaeffer’s book.  When I do this again, I will trust my own instincts and change things up a bit so I can get a more professional result, especially the zipper.  One important note:  the directions say to ease the skirt/flounce, but the yoke was the longer piece, so the easing was the other way around.  I basted/staystitched the edges early on to prevent stretching, so I’m pretty sure it’s the pattern.

Did it look like the photo?: yes

Construction Notes: This skirt is basically two overlapping circle skirts attached to a yoke, with a back zipper.  Even though the fabric is light weight, you are doubling the fabric at the yoke when attaching the zipper, so using the instructions to insert the zipper will result in a “homemade” look – a bit bulky and not terribly attractive.

Interestingly, the skirt yoke is not interfaced, which I think is a mistake.  As I was stitching it together it just sort of hit me that I want to interface it next time to help with wrinkles and body.  The yoke is lined/faced with self-fabric, but I used some of the hot pink batiste I had leftover from the Pucci dress to reduce bulk, but I think a light weight interfacing would have helped prevent some of the wrinkling you see in the picture.

The pattern goes together easily and well, with the exception of the instructions regarding easing the skirt to the yoke.

Challenges/What I learned: I had never done a circle skirt before, so that was new.  Took forever to machine stitch, carefully, the two narrow hems and then add the ribbon (another two rows of stitching).  I’d never attached ribbon in this fashion before, and I was semi-successful in stretching and shrinking the grosgrain to match the curve of the skirt. I think a bias-cut ribbon would have been easier, or apply a binding. And I’m learning to trust myself and do things differently than Vogue/McCalls/Butterick would suggest.

Would you do it again?:  Sure, if my niece likes it!

(and yes, progress is slow but steady on the Ralph Rucci)

Resisting the urge to start a new sewing project

I just got some beautiful linens from Gorgeous Fabrics (here and a sold out white) and Marcy Tilton (a sold out pansy/plum purple handkerchief weight).  I’m now itching to start the next project, before I finish the one I’m working on – a bad habit I need to break.  I’m going to do Vogue 8944, view A, color-blocked with this.  So perfect for spring!

Meanwhile, I’m working on a raincoat/short trenchcoat in response to Ann from Gorgeous Fabric’s “cut into that fabric challenge”.  It’s coming along.  More on that later.

My new goal is to finish an old project after every couple of new garments (that and to sew down my enormous stash of fabric).  Here’s my list:

  1. Vogue 1389, Donna Karan Suit in dusty blue wool.  I got stuck on the welt pockets. I’ve recut the front to redo.
  2. A child’s chair from a McCalls OOP in blue cord.  Needed a piping foot.  Have one now.
  3. An OOP Vogue Ann Klein dress.  I stopped when I realized the style didn’t work for me.  My sister looks good in it, so I just need to do the finishing.
  4. An OOP Vogue Tracy Reese.  Ditto on the style.  A good style for my other sister, but it’s not even close to finished.
  5. V1083, vintage dress coat in merlot cashmere.  It’s almost done.  I forgot why I stopped.
  6. A Butterick tote that I was making for a beach trip.  I wasn’t going to finish in time, so I stopped.
  7. A pair of dress pants for my husband in a beautiful black wool suiting.  Umm.  Welt pockets stopped me dead.
  8. Another Vogue OOP from Badgley Mischka.  I gained weight while making this. Not sure I’ll ever fit in it as this was pre-pregnancy.  I’ll finish it for the sewing practice one day.
  9. This vintage dress from Patou in this beautiful fabric. Sigh. I wasn’t going to finish this in time for a wedding without making compromises.  And the fit was off despite multiple muslins and basting.  I will finish it correctly.

Not sure what I’ll do next (after the coat and the colorblock dress), but it’s likely to be finishing DS’s chair.