1950s | Dresses | Vintage Sewing

Butterick 7139: “Quick & Easy” Morning Coat

August 19, 2012

Hello, hello!   I’m about to start making a second version of Butterick 7139, but I figured that I should start by showing you my first version:

(I don’t really write about sewing on my own blog, so these pictures are extracted from my various other posts)

I picked up the pattern for Butterick 7139 at my local antiques mall, and I think it’s an ideal housedress for summer and travel.  In its natural, unbelted state Butterick 7139 is a muumuu, which makes for lovely pajama wear:

But with the addition of a belt it becomes quite a presentable dress for errands, unexpected guests, and unreasonably early morning trips to the airport.

This is one of those unreasonably pesky patterns that has you use every last scrap of fabric while cutting out your pattern pieces and then asks you for bias facings for the armhole openings.  My bias strips were not quite bias-y enough, and have a tendency to try to flip outwards… I’m tacking them down now so they won’t do that anymore, and I plan on drafting properly shaped facings for my next version.  I also shortened my first draft considerably… too much, actually.   I would prefer it between 2 and 6 inches longer… so perhaps the original length wasn’t so far off!  I did find that the neck opening on the pattern was too small for me.  I just opted to leave off the top button and buttonhole, and let the collar fall open naturally.  I might add those back in on my next version, but I doubt I will actually be able to button it!

Here’s the pattern envelope and the fabric I got (at $2.50 a yard! yay!) for the next version.  I’m planning on leaving off the pockets still (I’m not too taken with them) and I think I’l going to just do the capped sleeve version again, but I’m not entirely sure… what do you think of the puffed sleeves?  Likely to look weird?  The drawing on the envelope isn’t much help there.  Also, what would you do for buttons with this fabric?   I’m going to take the finished garment to the fabric store to look at buttons again, I guess, since I wasn’t really sold on anything when I bought the fabric.  Any other helpful hints or advice before I dive into the Morning Coat, v.2?

  1. That is really cute! For that fabric, I would either get matching red buttons, or make covered buttons (if the fabric is thin enough).

  2. Really cute! I think that as far as the puffed sleeve goes, I think it could look really cute. While it’s a floral print, the fabric is not super girly/fussy, which I think would be nice with the slightly more girly sleeve.

  3. This is so adorable! I have that same pattern, but I could never think of any uses for it, but I just love it on you and I think you’ve inspired me to make one of my own.

    I’m not sure I like the puffed sleeves. You’re right, the pattern isn’t any help, but I tend to favor looser/sleeveless looks anyway. They’re just easier to move around in. I think a bold red or a vintage white/silver button would look great with that fabric and make a nice contrast!

    1. You should make one, it’s a really versatile little dress, and super quick to put together.
      White and/or silver buttons! Why didn’t I think of that… it would pick up the grey nicely, I think. I’d been looking for matching reds but hadn’t been totally happy with any of them.

  4. I think the puff sleeves might scream nightgown, even if you belt it, because they would be pretty low on the arm. I’ve already been wrong several times today though 😉

    Can you mock up a sleeve and pin it on to what you already have just to get a feel for it?

  5. Puffed sleeves aren’t my thing, personally, but I’ve seen puffed sleeves on yoked dresses before and they can be cute, so why not?

    How about side-seam pockets? I can’t stand not to have pockets, myself, but side-seam pockets give you the convenience of pockets without having them visible.

    1. Eh… I’m not super fussy about the presence of pockets. I generally carry along some sort of purse or bag, so they’re not much of a necessity to me on a dress. I’ll probably just omit them all together since they take more time and fiddling and fabric. At this point, I’m leaning toward omitting the sleeves, too.

  6. I am so in love with the muumuu house dress! I have a couple of vintage patterns, but I don’t think I have that exact one. I love how the belt changes your entire look. Super cute and versatile! For the new dress, I’d use red buttons, maybe with a luster type finish.

    I am also not a huge fan of puffed sleeves, but I agree with Katherine that you should mock them up and then pin them to your garment. If you don’t like them, you can simply unpin them and put the cap sleeves back on. You could also take down the puff a bit if it’s too much. I LOVE muslin! It’s forgiving and allows you to try pattern changes without cutting up all of your fashion fabric.

  7. That’s great! What a versatile dress – and one that looks good in both forms, which, looking at the envelope, I wouldn’t have guessed!
    Funnily enough, I’ve just written a blog post on my lack of ability to imagine how a dress will look when its been photographed badly (or an uninspiring envelope drawing!)
    Great job!

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