I don't wear skirts or dresses too often anymore, but earlier this month I had two functions to attend where I needed to dress up. After several days of shopping and trying on too many dresses that didn't fit, in colors I wasn't crazy about, I gave up searching for RTW and decided the only way to find something suitable was to make it. The good thing about trying on so many dresses is that I was able to narrow down the style I wanted to wear, so finding a pattern was not quite as frustrating. A visit to the Butterick website proved successful and their patterns just happened to be on sale at my local JoAnn Fabrics for $1.99 each that week.
I did a muslin version of the bodice and midriff to test the fit of the shoulders and neckline and as a result I added a little width to the neckline side of the straps and changed the shoulder angle just a bit. There are a few other tweaks I probably should have done, but it was good enough to get started.
my review on PatternReview.com for Butterick 5350:
From the pattern envelope: Lined mid-knee dresses have fitted bodice w/neckline variations and pleats, self or contrast fabric midriff, raised waistline, slightly flared, gored skirt and back zipper closure.
multi-sized 8-14 and 16-22
I needed elements of sizes 12 - 20 but didn't have a lot of time to make a lot of alterations, so I bought both size envelopes on sale at JoAnn Fabrics.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes, most of the instructions were fairly straightforward, but I was a little confused about the joining of the shoulder seams, which is done from the underside after attaching the bodice to the bodice lining at the necklines and underarms. Eventually I figured out how to do it - and it creates a nice neat finish to that seam.
Like - the high waist and flared skirt
Didn't think I was going to like the two piece midriff, but after it was all finished, it looked really nice.
I was a little worried about putting in the invisible zipper - I never liked the way my zippers turned out on dresses, but I think this is the first time I've made a dress with my 'new' sewing machine, using the invisible zipper foot. It turned out great!
Fabric from JoAnn Fabrics - Polyester silky print and silky solid peachskin in black for lining and contrast on the midriff section. I haven't really worked with these silky fabrics much, but I wanted a fabric that would drape so decided to take a chance.
I carefully cut the skirt pieces so that the pattern of the fabric was centered on each panel.
I'm not too happy with the amount of puckering of the seams, but apparently this is to be expected from the polyester fabrics.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
My usual adjustments to fit me - graded bodice from 12/14 at shoulders to 16 at bust/waist to 18/20 through the hips. Also, I lengthened the skirt about 1.5" above the hip line.
I used my serger to finish all the raw edges - the hem on both the lining and skirt are done with a narrow rolled edge.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
If I need another party dress, I might make it again in a different fabric.
This pattern might be a little challenging for beginners, because of the lining and the two-piece midriff.
I don't really like the photos of me wearing the dress - I didn't have time to set up a tripod and get a good angle, so had my "assistant" take them - the front is not as flattering as the back and side views.
I wore this dress with a little black knit shrug that I bought at Dress Barn and it matched the black contrast band almost perfectly! I was going to make a bag, too, but ran out of time. The fabric for a bag is cut out and ready to go, so sooner or later I'll get around to it ....
Here's a quick update: Remember the shrug I made for my niece a while back? Here's a photo of her wearing the complete First Communion outfit:
(I cropped her face intentionally for privacy)
She's not a dress girl, but she looked very pretty and I'm told that's a real smile, not just for the camera.