Vintage Sewing

Butterick 5187: Grunge Remix

March 6, 2012

I really hate the buzzword “remix” but it seemed especially appropriate here.

I don’t have to tell you exactly how old I am, but I’ll at least let on that I’m authentically Grunge Era.  Generation X.  Born between 1961 and 1981.  However you want to define it.  So I can wear this in good faith.

Butterick 5187 is from 1977 or 1978, I think (it’s not dated; I’m fudging based on information from other patterns) but it reminded me of three Grunge Era essentials:

1) Baby-doll dresses: Raised waist, baggy shape (lack of shape?).

2) Baja hoodies: Hood, pockets, baggy/boxy shape.  No self-respecting stoner was without a baja when I was in high school and college.  Personally, I hated them, but you can’t deny they were iconic.

3) In this particular example, flannel: Plaid flannel, specifically.  Lots of that going around in the Nineties.

Butterick 5187 (1977-1978)

If I’m honest, I’ll admit right now that I never actually got into grunge.  Yeah, I swiped my father’s 1970’s Pendletons–my flannels were wool, thank you very much–and totally had the look, but really it was because wide-legs meant that we girls with thighs could finally find jeans that fit, and baggy overshirts were a great cover for those of us who couldn’t possibly keep up with my high school’s WASP-y fashion status quo.  The only grunge music I had was on a couple of mix tapes given to me by friends; I don’t even remember which songs they were.  This was about when I started to get really into roots country and old-time music, so Nirvana didn’t stand a chance.

I made a few changes.

1) No hood.  I don’t want to go that baja.  I cut the neckline down a little bit because I mostly intend to wear this in the winter, over a henley.

2) I changed the front from a neck split to a button front.  This was easy–decide how much overlap I wanted, add half of that to each side of the front, add seam allowance, improvise facing.

3) Pockets.  Gotta have pockets.

4) I added a contrast facing to the sleeves so, when they were folded back, they would have (in this case) bias-cut cuffs.  The cuffs button to the sleeves for support.  I also cut the sleeves wider, again because I mean to wear it over a shirt.

Altered bodice.

And, yeah–I basically custom-made this to wear with the engineer boots.

Smells like teen spirit.

It’s actually a whole lot less unflattering than I thought it would be.  I think it looks better in real life, even.

For the record: I bought this flannel at Wal-Mart and I think it’s my duty to tell everyone out there to run fast, run far, if they find themselves tempted to purchase any.  I had no idea fabric could be woven so far off-grain as this stuff was.  I c0uldn’t cut anything on the fold because the grain was so off that the plaid would have run downhill across the pattern piece.  Complete disaster.

  1. Love it – but as an ex grunge chick (well actually being British I was more an Indie chick) I would make it mini with knee high socks and chunky tights/fishnets if you are going the whole way!! And of course with a hood!! in fact still wearing my baja – but only on the allotment now! the boots are fab mind – I sourced a whole outfit (charity shop) around a pair of green ballet pumps last summer so making a dress to match is the way forward!!

    1. My fishnets are in the wash (<–not kidding about this), and nobody wants to see me in mini anything. Skirt length is non-negotiable for me: Fashion trends are irrelevant, and skirts have to be long enough that I am far, far, out of danger of flashing anything, even on windy days and when crawling around on the floor looking for dropped paper clips. Otherwise, yeah–it could have been mini.

  2. Love the dress and the pattern. They say that you can only wear a trend once in your life but I think that looks very nice. Born 1970 I’m glad that I didn’t hold on to any of the grunge style clothes. Still use my Martens from that era though.

  3. Did you try getting it back on grain by pulling it on the diagonal ? That is what our sewing teacher does when the fabric doesn’t line up because it’s off grain.

  4. I tried pulling, ironing, steaming, hanging overnight (for a week), you name it. Some fabrics are just so cheap and awful that you give up and put seams where seams were not intended to be. And then you swear you’ll never buy that fabric again. I actually wish I’d taken more pictures to post as a sort of public service announcement, the stuff was that bad.

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