1960s | Dresses

Retro Sewing Woes

By on August 9, 2012
Butterick Retro B5748

Butterick Retro B5748Hi all, this is my first post here, so pleased to meet you!

I recently made a dress from a Butterick Retro pattern (B5748). I made it out of a nice cotton piqué I bought online. I made view A of the dress with notches at the front and back of the bodice and decorative bows.

I had the hardest time making the bodice of the dress. I’m not sure what was wrong with the pattern. I’d love your suggestions on what happened and if it’s possible to fix it.

I made a mock-up of the bodice with scrap fabric without the notches which seemed to fit me fine. Then I made it out of the actual fabric and notched it and everything started going wrong! The notch at the front and back gave an extra ease of a few centimetres which made the shoulder straps slide off my shoulders. To make things worse, the pattern didn’t add any reinforcing to the notches and, after putting it on a few times for fittings, the end of the notches ripped (worsening the shoulder strap problem).

I stitched the notches closed above the rip and tried to reinforce it by hand stitching the end of the notches together many times (I’m sorry if I’m not explaining this right). The straps were still falling off my shoulders and the curve of them seemed wrong so I had to take off about 2 inches on each straps and change a bit the curve of them (therefore making them not as wide). It’s still not perfect though and I can see that the notches will start ripping again in a few wears.

I’m a bit at my wits’ end on how to save the dress. I don’t have enough fabric left to remake the bodice without the notches and it seems strange to me that the pattern didn’t take the extra ease and fragility of the notches into account.

I thought of using satin bias tape as some kind trim on the neckline and somehow close the notches with it. I also had a little accident with the serger on the skirt (I sliced the skirt a bit while serging) and I thought I could use the same bias tape to hide it (kind of like a sailor skirt). The skirt is a circle skirt and I’m not sure the bias can make the curve. Has anyone tried to do something like this (view B) with bias tape on a circle skirt?

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