1950s | Dresses

Walkaway Dress from a Pattern-phobe

June 2, 2013

Hi all! This is my very first post here, I’m excited to be contributing. I’ve long admired the sewing talent and gorgeous projects I’ve seen posted here, so I thought I’d jump on in myself. I come from a family of seamstresses (grandmother, mom, aunt) but I didn’t learn to sew myself until I was in my 20s. Because of this, I’m pretty much 100% self taught (thanks, the internet!) Until recently, most of the things I created were done without patterns, because, basically, I was afraid of them. I just didn’t understand the jargon, and I tend to want to know how everything fits together before even starting, which I found difficult to do with patterns. Also, I’m super impatient and all those extra steps just plain put me off. Until recently I stuck mostly to aprons (which I sell in my Etsy shop) and simple skirts, most of which I designed myself.

But with a few years of sewing under my belt, I started to eye all the lovely retro repro patterns out there and dreamt of making them myself. I was feeling more confident in my abilities as well, and so after doing some research last fall I decided to start with the well known and “Very Easy” Walkaway Dress, Retro Butterick 4790. I’d read a lot of people had fitting issues, so I used Katrina’s fantastic sewalong and was thrilled with the results.


My hem is a bit wonky but it has since been fixed. 🙂

More details on my blog here.

Since making my first real retro dress using a pattern, I’ve been slightly obsessed! I have a ton of patterns now I’m excited to try out, and have already made a few other dresses (including a tea length wedding dress for a friend!) so I hope to be posting about those dresses and more as I work my way through my pattern stash in the near future. 🙂

  1. Wow! This dress is very beautiful. I hope one day you will offer such dresses (in custom measurements) in your etsy shop too along with your handmade aprons. Super fantastic job on this awesome dress.

    1. Maybe I’ll get there one day, seems scary now but I do lots of things now that used to seem scary and don’t anymore, so who knows. 😀 Thanks!

  2. This pattern has been in my stash for months. I love seeing it made up! Have to go check out that sewalong for further inspiration.

  3. Looks great! I made the same style for a friend of mine and I love how beautiful this pattern looks on an hourglass figure. Gorgeous!
    As you’re new to patterns, I can tell you that I find vintage patterns tend to have better instructions and better finishing/detail steps than modern ones. I hope you continue to find patterns you like working with!

  4. Super cute! Love it with the bolero! Have fun on your pattern adventures. The more you use them the easier it will be to picture the steps in your head.

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