Oranges & Lemons

This Butterick pattern from 1960 has been floating around my workroom patiently waiting it’s turn and when a couple of meters of this Makower cotton came my way it was a perfect match. Even have a glass necklace I bought in Venice years ago to follow through on the oranges theme… just need some sunshine and warm weather now.

About the pattern:

Fit- The 34″ bust easily fitted my 35 1/2″ bust. The bodice needed to be shortened a good 1″ through the waist as I have a rather short waist measurement, which happily also made the waist the  2″ bigger I needed.The shoulders sit very wide which I like, but the front and back necklines both gaped a bit. There is a centre back seam so the back was easily fixed. I could take a little tuck under each bow to fix the front but its not dreadful gapping so will probably leave it alone. It is easily fixed on the pattern for making another time. I also shortened the skirt pattern about 2″ to finish at 26 1/2″.

Style- The skirt is 92″ around the hem, I love a full skirt! However I don’t really like when vintage styles are left looking limp without a petticoat but at the same time often feel wearing a petticoat is too much… so I compromised by sewing a 2″ wide band of crinoline in the hem turning. That does help keep a nice skirt shape but wasn’t quite enough as the hips needed a bit of ‘oomph’ too. My theory is it makes my waist look smaller :)  so I made a very simple petticoat from some stiffened cotton mull. It’s not very nice looking and is scratchy as well so I’m going to redo it in some organza instead. It is just an A-line shape with tight gathering only at the sides to hold the dress out just in that area. The pattern illustration is of course a little idealised. The main differences are that the neckline is really more of a bateau neck and sits almost above my collarbone rather than in the shallow curve pictured. Also the neckline notches, by the bows, which are a nice detail, sit quite high, nearer the shoulders than as sketched and could do with being lowered. These are alterations I will make for using it again. I’ll probably add side seam pockets in the next full skirt version too.

Will I make it again- Yes. Both in the full skirt style and in the jacket and narrow dress version too as that is the real reason I bought this pattern. Now I know exactly what to do to the pattern to make the fit perfect next time though for the jacket I will do a quick toile first because I really want the collar to be just as pictured in the illustration and I suspect the pattern will need some tweaking and a good interfacing to achieve the look.

• Meet the Author • Jeanne


Professional costumier & pattern designer and it's also what I do for fun... usually 1930s & 1940s style.


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23 comments… add one

  • That is absolutely priceless!

    That, and you beat me to it! I’ve wanted to do a fruit-themed dress and get one of those fruit necklaces for ages. Ha ha! Great minds clearly think alike!

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    • Thank you! There seems to be a lot of pretty fruit fabrics about this year, not a theme I usually go for… but glad I did. Look forward to seeing yours when you get it made!

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  • That is a wonderful dress!

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  • OOOO! I’m in love with your bold color choice in this dress. It turned out beautifully!

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  • This is so awesome! I love the print, and you picked the great pattern for it. The belt is a perfect touch.

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  • I love the fabric! and the little tiny bows at the shoulders!

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  • The pairing of fabric and pattern is perfect! You’ve done a beautiful job, and as always I’m thoroughly envious of the finished product ;)

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  • i’m in love with your new dress, so pretty.. i want to steal it from you!

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  • I adore that fabric, it’s just perfect – And I love the skirt on this dress!

    I totally get where you’re coming from on the ‘to petticoat or not to petticoat’ question. I’m at that point with a few of the dresses I just made and, like you, I’m probably going to end up making myself a ‘fluffer’ :D Less volume then a true petticoat, but more then when the skirt hangs on it’s own.

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  • Ah, yes, the petticoat problem. Do I want to look like a ’50s time traveler or someone of the modern age with retro tinges? I think your solution is spot on and it is useful information, too. (I assume this comes from your storehouse of knowledge as a professional costumer.) Thanks for posting a feast for the eyes.

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    • Lol,yYes, the time traverer look’ can be a problem! SueC’s underlining suggestion at the bottom is another good way around acheiving a hint of the period shape.

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  • Oooh, it’s beautiful!!!

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  • This is wonderful! So bright and springy! I love the necklace too. I can’t wait to see the rest of your versions and that jacket!

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  • Oh, what a beautiful dress! I love it. That fabric is gorgeous.

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  • So Gorgeous!! I love bateau neck and really like the ’58 – ’61 era of dresses. You did a great job!

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  • Just perfect! Those fruit necklaces are much sought after, that’s one of the nicest ones I’ve seen. Re petticoats – I have a vintage dress that has just a layer of tulle under the skirt, cut to the same pattern and sewn together with the skirt like an underlining, attached only at the waist and seam where the zipper is. It gives it just the right amount of ‘poufiness’. I’m going to use this technique on my next dress.

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    • Sewn in as you describe like an underlining is a definately a good technique and isn’t too pouffy either. For a cotton dress I just know I’d melt the tulle during ironing though …. cotton organdy could work as an underlining too and I know I have some in my stash somewhere for the next dress!

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  • Thank you all for your lovely comments!
    It’s another cold grey day here but even just having the dress hanging where I can see it in my workroom cheers things up a lot :)

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  • oh my goddess !!!
    It’s so beautiful
    bravo !!!!

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  • Oh my! I am so in love with this beautiful dress! You’ve inspired me to find some citrusy bright fabric of my own!

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  • This is so beautiful! I love the print–its fun without seeming too kitsch :)
    I think I’ll need to track down that pattern in my size…

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  • Very pretty. I am inspired to sew a fruity dress with 3/4 sleeves from this one. I lean towards flowers, but this is refreshing! Beautiful work.

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  • Love it…

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