1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Burning the Roses Red ~ A Saga of Butterick B5708

December 3, 2015

Butterick B5708 | Lavender & Twill

Butterick B5708 | Lavender & Twill
Butterick B5708 | Lavender & Twill
Butterick B5708 | Lavender & Twill
Butterick B5708 | Lavender & Twill

I just have to say… I wanted to burn this dress sooo badly….The only reason I kept pushing on with it is that I didn’t have anything to wear to the Aussie Vintage Girls Meetup, and you know ~ that would have been a disaster….

A disaster I tell you! Oh wait… First world vintage girl problems again.

Okay, okay, not so much a big deal, except when it was.

I started with this lovely pattern, Butterick B5708 and rated at “Easy” I felt sure I couldn’t go wrong! It was my fourth make for my Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge for the year {one, two, three}, and I was thinking it should be fairly simple.

Alas, if only I’d read the multiple reviews of this pattern online ~ I think this one explains it best ~ I probably would have changed my mind!! (ಠ_ಠ)

So I cut the pattern, did my do, and seriously, everything was going pretty well. I had a few of my usual frustrations in sewing the bodice to the skirt ~ why do I always get the bodice caught up in the waist seam? Why??  (╯°□°)╯彡 ┻━┻

But I was about 95% done on the dress when I decided I’d better try it on. *cue ominous spooky music*

So I slipped it on, and the world ended. *ahem

My world ended.  (┛◉Д◉)┛彡┻━┻

The bodice was ALL kinds of wrong, with wrinkles going every which way, and compressing my bust so much that it looked like I had squished marshmallows instead, of ~ well, you know!

I literally freaked out, cried, ranted, raved, and promptly ate half a block of chocolate. Yes. Chocolate.  .·´¯`(>▂<)´¯`·.

Then I left it for the day. I was DONE. I was *THIS* close to burning the darn thing and turning up naked. Hahaha…

No, really….

The next morning I took a deep breath. I thought I knew what went wrong. I’d forgotten to do an FBA. Silly me just assumed that because I was doing a larger size to fit my bust that it would fit. Totally stu-pid!

I’d forgotten that although this was previously a vintage pattern where technically cutting the larger size for the bust would probably have worked, this was a re-release of a vintage pattern, which means it has also been fiddled with to meet ‘today’s industry standards’ ~ i.e. a C cup bust. Nowhere near close to my size.  Phooey.  {Today’s industry standards are totally wack btw! I have less problems with vintage patterns than I do modern ones.}

So I went back, unpicked the lining {yes, the darn thing is lined and that was already in!}, unpicked the bodice, and half unpicked the zipper.  Then I cut the lining and bodice up ~ added bust darts from the side seams to the point of bust, added extra fabric under the bust in the gather point {which in hindsight I may not have needed. Oh well.}, cut another toile from the hack pattern, made that up, thought it might work, cut my fashion fabric again, cut my lining again, sewed up the fashion fabric, sewed it back onto the dress… Then it was bed time.

The next day was Thursday and I had one day to get it done.  (″・ิ_・ิ)っ

I sewed the lining back together, then sewed it onto the fabric again, tried the dress on again, realised that the bottom half of the lining was messing up the bottom half of the the bodice by creating needless wrinkles underneath the fabric that showed through, hacked off the bottom half of the lining, overlocked the bottom of the lining to the midriff seam of the bodice, sewed the lining down to the fashion fabric on the bodice with some top stitching, struggled to make the armpits look nice where the lining and fashion fabric where sewn together, failed, hacked at the inside of the dress, sewed some more seams, finished the zipper, decide to sew the hem by machine instead of hand picking because of time, then sewed the hem seam three times around for a deliberate “decorative” look, ruched the front of the bodice to make a sweetheart neckline and pull in the neckline from standing out, then sewed on the pockets, each of them twice because of having to move them around when they didn’t go on correctly the first time. Gave up when one of them was still crooked because running out of the mint green thread I was using.

Deeeeep breath. By this time it was around about seven o’clock in the evening. Then I tried the dress on again. Yay! More room at bust!  BOO!! TOO MUCH FABRIC BETWEEN BUST AND WAIST!!  (ノಠ益ಠ)ノ彡┻━┻  *rage attack* ~ which quickly turned to:

PANIC!   ∑(゜Д゜;)

I quickly skyped my sister to ask for a second opinion and while we were tossing around a. wearing a belt {couldn’t find one that looked good}, or b. sewing up a cummerbund ~ I thought of option c. which was: sew the midriff seam again, pulling in the extra fold of fabric that was wrinkling under the bust. As you might be able to tell ~ this is what I ended up doing.

This had a three-fold effect of curving the midriff seam rather than it being a triangle point as in the illustration of the pattern, gathering in some of the excess fabric causing wrinkles, and lifting the waist to my natural waist because the dress waist was sitting about a centimetre below my real waist which didn’t look the best.

10:00pm that night, and I was finally finished.  (✖ 。 ✖)° ° °

If you are wondering why top half of the bodice is still insanely wrinkled after all that extra work on it ~ well, I was too until I look more closely at the illustration. There are actually wrinkles in the top half of the bodices pictured there too. I think it’s suppose to mimic a sarong look.

I just hate it. I think it looks unsightly, ill-fitting and like a big hot mess. However I can’t fix a design styling, unless I redraft the bodice part entirely. And you know what?  I’m soooo over it….

I don’t think I want to touch this dress again, even to wear it, until some of the trauma of this make has faded from my memory!

Surprisingly enough, even though I did say to The Mister that I didn’t want to touch my sewing machines again for months, I’ve change my mind and I’m already planning to sew parts of my Christmas outfit.   ┬──┬ …ノ( ゜-゜ノ)

I have decided it’s just that particular pattern I can’t stand. Not the sewing.

Though I tell you what, I’ve also decided that sewing is not a relaxing hobby for me. Too stressful for that!

~ Project Details ~

  • Year: A retro re-release of a 1950’s sarong dress pattern
  • Pattern: Butterick B5708
  • Fabric: 4 meters of mint green fabric and 1.5 meters of white fabric with pink roses, 1.5 meters of white linen. From the stash: $13.00 for the fabric
  • Notions: An invisible zip ~ repurposed.
  • Time to complete: One week.
  • Make again? Nope. No, no, no, nope, no, nope. That’s all there is to that.
  • Wear again? Yes. I suppose so. I suppose the dress escapes it’s fiery end….
  • Total Cost:  $13.00 and a block of chocolate. Oh yes, and my sanity. Mustn’t forget that!

If you got through all of that saga ~ well done to you! I hope you never have had to struggle like this with any of your dresses, but if you have ~ you can always share your stories! Any creative “Make Do and Mends” out there? The Mister quoted that to me, and needless to say, I wasn’t particularly impressed at the time… Lol!



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  1. Looks amazing – but I’ve got that pattern in my stash too – and not so sure I*m gonna give it a go 🙂 Well done on finishing!!

    1. If you do decided to go for it ~ definitely take the time to do a muslin of the bodice to make any adjustments you might want! It might vary as to what you prefer, but I’d definitely test it out first to make sure you like it. 🙂

      1. Yes, I was looking around to see if I could find any reviews and someone mentioned that, so I checked out the pics and was like…!!! That isn’t right!

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