1950s | Dresses

Butterick B5748

October 31, 2013

A long-time lurker, I’ve finally decided to contribute something to the community. In fact, you all have inspired me to start my own blog!

B5748 is my second attempt at making a garment, and I’m quite proud of the results. I had a lot of trouble with adding the zipper and hemming the circle skirt. Does anyone have resources that would help me with future projects?

Front view

B5748: Green Gingham 50′s Dress

  • Size: 6
  • Fabric: Sage green gingham fabric
  • Lining: Yes
  • Notions: Tiny black rosebud for neck detail, grey zipper
  • Adjustments: I chose to make the petite version of the bodice included in the pattern and I shortened the skirt.
  • Would I recommend it to other sewers? This pattern comes highly recommended by yours truly. I had only sewn one dress before and it was my first time sewing a zipper. The instructions are clear and the pattern is flattering.
Back view

More details on my blog: http://threadandbutterblog.com/


  1. This turned out really cute! The bodice fits you really well, and the skirt hangs nicely. Zippers have always been tricky for me, and after years of sewing I still can’t get them to look that great. I would suggest reading every online tutorial you can before you do another one, and just keep practicing. I also might suggest putting a hook and eye at the top of your zipper. I have started doing this on all of my dress backs, and I think it helps to neaten the top of the zipper where it terminates. Excellent job!

  2. For your 2nd garment, it’s beautiful! The style is perfect for your figure. Resources for sewing…there is a huge amount of info on line; lots of bloggers have tutorials. Look at some of the blogs you see here on we sew retro. Also check out Gerties New Blog for Better Sewing. And Craftsy has tons of classes that are very well done, and not too expensive. You may find a sewing class at a fabric store, or an adult education program or community college. And definitely look on line for a local chapter of the American Sewing Guild.
    Keep on sewin’!

      1. I love ASG. Chapters have smaller groups called Neighborhood Groups that meet monthly and have different focuses. I leave every meeting having learned something new. Check the ASG website for local chapter listings. I hope there is a chapter near you.

  3. That is super cute! I am not amazing at zips, but one thing I find very useful is using either a glue stick (a washable one!) or some fuisable fabric tape to stick the zip in first before I sew it. Maybe you could try that?

  4. Wow, if that is only your second garment ever, it’s seriously impressive. The bodice fits well, the skirt looks good and neither zippers nor lining are generally considered to be easy for a beginner.

    About hemming circle skirts: the huge flare of the skirt makes a normal hem virtually impossible. The quick and ease solution is to serge (or zigzag) the edge, press it in and stitch it down. A cleaner method (and the one I like to use because it also gives you the option of hemming by hand or using an invisible hem stitch on the sewing machine) is to apply store-bought bias tape to the edge, press that in and either sew it down normally by machine or invisibly by hand. For any method, keep in mind that most fabrics will stretch on the bias so it’s always wise to let your skirt hang for a couple of days before determining the hemline.

    1. Thanks! I think I like the bias tape idea the best. I’ll try that next time. I wish I had known that when hemming my halloween costume. I recently finished it and the skirts was a nuisance.

  5. Your dress is impressive,and fits you so we’ll. Before invisible zippers, I would sew the back together,then iron the seam flat then sew I zip, then remove stitches from tHe seam,my mother always sewed her zipper first while the pieces were flat. Before putting the garment together.Hope this helps. but yours is fantastic!

  6. Adorable! You too!. The first time I ever tried to sew in a zipper was in home ec class, and I sewed it so many times it actually fell apart. My teacher said that it was the first time she’d ever seen that happen!
    I’m an expert sewer now, and I do very many complex projects. My best advice to you is to hand baste, hand baste, hand baste., based.. Zippers can actually be quite easy when you do.
    What you do is you take the right side of the zipper, (keep the zipper zipped up this entire process). As you’re facing it, fold the material right up against the metal or plastic part of the zipper, and baste the fabric on to the fabric part, eventually going about 1 inch or two beyond where the zipper stops. Now, fold the material on the other side and baste to the right of the right side of the zipper just enough to cover up the zipper placket. Now, baste one more time on the left side of the zipper almost exactly where you’ll went to be finally sewing. Start sewing on your machine with the right side of the zipper, after you’ve taken out the basting that has been your guideline for the placket being covered. At the bottom end of the zipper do a nice turn on the corner for about half an inch, and then turn up the other way and sew the left side of the zipper fabric. Extend beyond the top of the neckline, and you should have a beautiful zipper that is perfectly aligned and won’t stick either. Good luck!

    1. Please forgive all those typos! But I also meant to say iron is your other best friend besides a hand basting need all. Iron the seam where the zipper will be going with your 5/8 inch allowance before doing your hand basting.

        1. Those were me, I think obviously, not anonymous. Happy selling, and good luck again. I hope I’ve helped!

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