Li’l help, please?

I am currently trying to finish this dress, Butterick B5281, and am really struggling with the neckline.

I’ve read the instructions several times and I still can’t make sense of how the neckline should sit. Version A appears to be on an angle but Version B (short sleeves) looks to be straight. The line drawings on the back are no help either. Then there’s the pleats on the shoulder; they tend to create a curved edge rather than what appears to be square. Arrrgh!!!

I’m already on my second try at squaring off the neckline but am making a right mess of things. Has anyone else made this dress? If so, any suggestions on how to finish the neckline? It’s driving me nuts!!
Thanks in advance,

• Meet the Author • Tamara

I have been collecting & sewing from Vintage patterns (30s-50s) for the past 5 years. My favourite era to sew is the 40s & the style suits me to a tea.

10 comments… add one

  • Hi Tamara,

    From what I can tell from the photos it looks like you have it down pretty well. Maybe you have to work with the folds of the material and how it drapes over that shoulder. Check out this link from Sewing Pattern Review to see how others have handled it! Good luck!


  • It looks to me like the neckline itself is square but the draping from the shoulder is supposed to give it a softer asymmetrical look. The appeal of this garment is that it has asymmetrical design lines. Not having the pattern in front of me and just looking at the illustration, I would try to square the right corner (as you are wearing it) and then let the drapes hang over it like it wants to do.

    I'm not sure that made any sense… :/

  • I in fact, tried this pattern…and to this day it sits in my UFO pile, never to be seen from again. It was terrible to understand and was not flattering. If you do finish it, please post! I would like to see someone who could conquer it!

  • I have made this dress, and the neckline is asymmetric on mine, with the pleats giving a rounded edge to that side of the neck. Yours looks fine to me – stick with it…I love my dress, and it won me "best dressed in vintage" at a vintage fair.

    You can see it here –

    Good Luck 🙂

  • I've made this pattern up as well, and the neckline was asymmetric on me. It's a subtle asymmetric diagonal though – it joins the armhole about halfway between the shoulder seam and the side seam. Mine was made up in a lightweight cotton, so didn't have as much draping as yours does. Keep up with your one – I think it'll look super once it's finished! 🙂

    I posted about my version of it here, if you're interested:

  • Perhaps a dress clip or brooch would disguise the area you're not happy with, if you can't get it quite how you want it?

  • Oh! I have that pattern but I haven't done it ye, but as I can read it is kind of difficult to do it………

  • Thanks for posting this! I cut this pattern out, made up the bodice and freaked out over the neckline, so threw it in "too hard, try again later" pile. But your neckline is looking pretty good to me, Tamara. And thanks parismeg and Macska – it was great to see pictures of the finished project.

  • Thanks to everyone for the advice & encouragement! The dress is just about done – I decided to leave well enough alone & go with the neckline as is, and I've now only the hem to go. My camera is on the fritz but I should have some pics to post by the end of the week.

  • Hi

    I thought it might be best to ask on this thread rather than start a whole new one for this pattern.

    I’m on section 29 (is) the skirt… From the pictures it looks like the long flap goes across the front of the dress, which makes me think that piece 8 is to be on the outside. So I sew (facing me) the right of 8 to the right of 9 so 8 lies on top of 9. Is this right? If it is why doesn’t it not tell me to hem the edge of 9. Sewing the one piece on top of the other leaves the front skirt looking very narrow compared to the back. Or do I sew it it with the left of the 8 lying over the right of 9? If so then the end of the flap is just loose…

    I’m so confused! This is only the second dress I’ve ever made and I thought I would try a re-issue with a printed pattern before the real deal but I’m not sure this makes any more sense!

    Thank you.


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