Friday, November 15, 2013

Butterick 4735 - My first REAL vintage dress!

I recently completed my first REAL vintage sewing project (real as in, not 1980s) from Butterick 4735, which is one of the patterns my dear, amazing friend Jennifer sent me.

It was an easy dress to make but, as with all things I attempt for the first time, more difficult that I thought it would be. I did learn some new skills with this one, which is probably why it was so stressful for me.


1. Armhole facings. I faced some very tense moments when I had to turn the facings to the inside. I got massive bunching up of fabric. Jennifer walked me through it though. She sent me pictures of how to grade and cut Vs in the seam allowance to reduce the fabric bulk (and then gently reminded me that there are instructions for armhole facings in the Fashion Sewing for Everyone book that she sent me. I'm so used to running to her flailing my arms in despair that I'd forgotten all about it).

My first armhole facing still had a few lumps:

But the second one was perfect! I couldn't believe it!

2. Interfacing and attaching a yoke to a dress. Boy did this stress me out. I could NOT make sense of the instructions that came with the pattern. Once again, Jennifer came to my rescue.

The yoke came out beautifully despite some issues in the beginning, and I'm very proud of it. The back edges are even, too! I clipped all the curves like a good girl, and hand-stitched the raw edges down on the inside, but I'm terrified it's going to all fall apart when I wash it, because the fabric I used shreds very easily and I'm afraid I didn't turn the raw edges under enough.

I had a problem when it came to folding the facing over the zipper part in the back. I think I should have either waited to put the zipper in until after the yoke was all done and in place, or I should have left the top few inches loose. The instructions said to put the zipper in even before the armhole facings, so that's what I did. But I had to do a lot of tweaking to get the facing to lay right around the top of the zipper because... Well, I'm not exactly sure why. It just wouldn't lay right, and I forgot to take pictures of that step for future reference.

Other than the armhole facings, and the yoke facing near the zipper, the only other problem I had was that the dress stretched HORRIBLY on the bias. As in, the sides were 5 inches longer than the front. I think it's because the fabric is a loose weave and very drapey. I couldn't hem it myself--I had to go to my mom and bless her, she spent an hour on measuring, trimming, and then ironing the hem allowance in place so I could sew it, and did a FANTASTIC job.

Oh, and the dress is supposed to be 39.5" long in the back as the finished length, but for some reason mine was 37" unfinished. But I'm short, so that worked out okay.


Let's get to the pictures, shall we? But before I do that, I really don't recommend this dress for ladies with generous bosoms, because you'll look like you're wearing a tent. In fact, the dress is described on the pattern package as a tent dress. It will not be flattering, trust me. Comfy, but not flattering.

See what I mean? I was afraid I was going to seriously hate the dress and the time and money I'd spent on making it because there was no way I could wear it "as is." I tried it with a belt, too, but that just made me look puffy on top and bottom. And then I remembered a pink wool shrug that I bought at Salvation Army a few years ago and never wore, and wouldn't you know, it was the perfect thing for this dress.

Ugh, I have the worst posture. Anyway, who cares, the dress looks fabulous, and I got TONS of compliments on it. It's a wonderful summer-to-fall transition dress. It's also delightfully twirly:

Next project is going to be my Christmas dress from vintage Butterick 8160 (view A) for the Vintage Sewing Contest. 

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