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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Thursday, July 8, 2010

Butterick 5488

Once when my next youngest sister and I were 6 and 8 our grandmother went to Hawaii and brought us back each a cotton muu-muu. I remember us sitting on our front step on a hot Prairie night feeling incredibly cosmopolitan and sophisticated, and cool, as in not so hot. In our day summer dresses still had waists and this was our first experience on something so loose that was not a nightie and you could wear out in public, like say to sit on the steps.

Maybe this is why I always always would rather wear a dress in the summer than anything else because they just don't stick to your body.

So I was pretty interested when I saw Butterick 5488 I had some rayon batik hanging around wondering what it was supposed to be and I figured that this pattern and that fabric were a match.

I was both pleased and surprised when I opened the pattern envelope. For a start the whole pattern was on only one sheet, which is nice when you want to sew fast and easy. The second thing I noticed was that this was not just a shift with some neckline gathers but what it really was a wedge dress, a definite wedge, with three large box pleats, front and back and quite a narrow hem. About 44" or so for size medium which really was not much stride room. This had me wondering about the pattern because there was a centre back seam, with no shape to it so I didn't see why this piece was not set on the fold, and I really wonder if they meant to include a walking slit at the back.

So when I made my version I didn't sew this seam right to the bottom, left the last 7" open put it on and decided, yup, I needed to leave this open so I could walk. I mean what is the point of a super comfortable dress that you have to take baby steps in?

The only other adjustment I made was to take in the centre of the back yoke in at centre back, making a sort of French dart with the widest part of that dart at the seam where the outer and inner yoke met. When I tried it on I felt that the neck line gaped too much.

All that said I LOVE this dress. Every once in a while you get a real comfortable dress and you just wear it to a rag. I would do that with this dress if I didn't know I would be making more.


a little sewing on the side said...

That looks like the perfect summer dress. It looks great on you!

Molly said...

Thanks for reviewing this pattern. It looks a lot like one of my favorite rtw dresses. Mine has pintuck pleats on the bodice instead of box pleats and is a knit. do you think this pattern would adjust to that change gracefully?

Barbara said...

Molly you could absolutely make this adjustment, just sew down the pleats.