Walkaway Dress from a Pattern-phobe

by Stephanie on June 2, 2013 · 15 comments

in 1950s,Dresses

Hi all! This is my very first post here, I’m excited to be contributing. I’ve long admired the sewing talent and gorgeous projects I’ve seen posted here, so I thought I’d jump on in myself. I come from a family of seamstresses (grandmother, mom, aunt) but I didn’t learn to sew myself until I was in my 20s. Because of this, I’m pretty much 100% self taught (thanks, the internet!) Until recently, most of the things I created were done without patterns, because, basically, I was afraid of them. I just didn’t understand the jargon, and I tend to want to know how everything fits together before even starting, which I found difficult to do with patterns. Also, I’m super impatient and all those extra steps just plain put me off. Until recently I stuck mostly to aprons (which I sell in my Etsy shop) and simple skirts, most of which I designed myself.

But with a few years of sewing under my belt, I started to eye all the lovely retro repro patterns out there and dreamt of making them myself. I was feeling more confident in my abilities as well, and so after doing some research last fall I decided to start with the well known and “Very Easy” Walkaway Dress, Retro Butterick 4790. I’d read a lot of people had fitting issues, so I used Katrina’s fantastic sewalong and was thrilled with the results.


My hem is a bit wonky but it has since been fixed. :-)

More details on my blog here.

Since making my first real retro dress using a pattern, I’ve been slightly obsessed! I have a ton of patterns now I’m excited to try out, and have already made a few other dresses (including a tea length wedding dress for a friend!) so I hope to be posting about those dresses and more as I work my way through my pattern stash in the near future. :-)

This post was written by...

– who has written 5 posts on WeSewRetro.com.

I'm a self-taught, retro-loving Francophile from Austin married to the Frenchman of my dreams, and blessed to get to basically stay home and sew all day. Although I grew up around it, I didn't learn to sew until I was in my mid 20s...it must be in the blood, though, because I got hooked pretty quickly. I started out mostly making aprons I designed myself and selling them in my Etsy shop, but now I'm kind of obsessed with making dresses. I have a special love for anything from the 40s, 50s, and early 60s, and I also love Regency and Victorian inspired looks. I've started to get over my fear of using patterns, and since I enjoy seeing other people's projects here so much, thought I'd jump on in and share mine too.

Stephanie's posts / Stephanie's website

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Voodoo Kitten June 2, 2013 at 11:44 am

That was my first dress too! It’s addicting, lol.


Stephanie June 2, 2013 at 3:44 pm

It definitely is! :-)


manicpop11 June 2, 2013 at 12:56 pm

Oooh! Beautiful dress! Nice work.


Stephanie June 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm



mariebayarea June 2, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Wow! This dress is very beautiful. I hope one day you will offer such dresses (in custom measurements) in your etsy shop too along with your handmade aprons. Super fantastic job on this awesome dress.


Stephanie June 2, 2013 at 3:46 pm

Maybe I’ll get there one day, seems scary now but I do lots of things now that used to seem scary and don’t anymore, so who knows. :-D Thanks!


Shaysierae June 2, 2013 at 5:54 pm

This is one of the best walk-away dresses that I have seen yet! :) you did a wonderful job.


Stephanie June 2, 2013 at 9:42 pm

Thank you!


Katherine June 2, 2013 at 10:28 pm

Welcome Stephanie! This came out really well – good job :)


Annie June 3, 2013 at 12:57 am

This dress is the next sewing project I am going to try. It looks great!


Elizabeth June 3, 2013 at 1:36 am

This pattern has been in my stash for months. I love seeing it made up! Have to go check out that sewalong for further inspiration.


BobbinBombshell June 3, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Great choice with the gingham. It’s an adorable dress.


Angela Wicentowich June 5, 2013 at 2:10 am

Looks great! I made the same style for a friend of mine and I love how beautiful this pattern looks on an hourglass figure. Gorgeous!
As you’re new to patterns, I can tell you that I find vintage patterns tend to have better instructions and better finishing/detail steps than modern ones. I hope you continue to find patterns you like working with!


EmSewCrazy June 7, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Super cute! Love it with the bolero! Have fun on your pattern adventures. The more you use them the easier it will be to picture the steps in your head.


Katrina @ Edelweiss Patterns June 17, 2013 at 10:09 pm

I’m so glad to know that my sew-along instructions are still being put to use! You did a lovely job, and it looks terrific on you.

Happy sewing!


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