Monday, January 13, 2014

Butterick 5708 attempted: Is stupid and rage-inducing

Well, since my Christmas dress actually defeated me in spite of my best efforts, I decided to do a little stash-busting.

I bought Butterick 5708 at Joanne's when Butterick patterns were on sale 10 for $10.00, and figured it would be perfect for this pretty, pretty lighthouse-printed fabric I found at a thrift store a few years ago.

I didn't have quite enough for the dress, so I bought a coordinating solid at Joanne's to use on the upper part of the bodice. CUTE CUTE CUTE

Omgosh, this pattern. This PATTERN. It, like Butterick 8160, looks GREAT on paper. In reality, it's terribly designed. I will say, I noticed several bloggers who were able to make this dress and it looked great on them and they said it was easy. This wasn't the case with me, so basically I'm ranting but if you want to try this pattern, go for it.

Several bloggers who made the Butterick 5708 dress mentioned that the shoulders seemed to be made for a linebacker. Since I have wide shoulders, I wasn't really concerned about it. But I should have been. I tried on the bodice before I lined it and maybe I did something wrong when I cut the pattern out, but the fabric in the front and back gapes and bunches up terribly when I tied the sleeves.

And this is another thing--this bodice is a BITCH to try on for fitting purposes, because you can't really pre-tie the shoulder straps and then slip it on. It has to be worn to tie the shoulder straps properly, and even then you really need to have a helper tie them for you (which I didn't have) to get them tied evenly on both sides.

Nevertheless, I realized as I was trying it on for fit that I was going to have to cut down the bodice as best as I could because it was way too huge. That meant I had to take it all apart because, and this is something else people mentioned--the way the bodice is constructed means that you can't do anything but take it in at the sides once it's sewn together. If you need to fix the fit in any other way, you have to take it completely apart.

I was trying really hard not to freak out, so I gamely deconstructed the bodice and retraced everything to a size 14, which was the smallest size of the pattern. I couldn't do anything about the neckline, unfortunately, because the fabric was already cut and I didn't want to buy more. It takes TWO AND A HALF YARDS of fabric cut out the TOP (contrast) part of the bodice pattern. 

Vintage ashtrays are fun pattern weights. I wanted to buy vintage flower frogs in different colors to use as pattern weights, but that would have been expensive.

Sewed the damn thing back together. Which, sewing a midriff to a v-shaped bodice is SO MUCH HARDER than you'd think. "Stitch to the large circle and then pivot." Oh no. First you have to figure out how to pin the pieces together, then figure out how to deal with all the fabric that's bunched at the point of the V where you're supposed to pivot, then you turn it right side out and realize you're going to have to redo it because, duh, all the fabric got bunched up.

What I had to do was sew each side of the midriff to the bodice separately. There was no pivoting. It worked out well, but was a really frustrating learning experience.

Ugh, hateful pattern.

Anyway, finally got the bodice and lining sewn together and as I was trying pressing the seams flat after turning it inside out, I found myself cussing it out and repeatedly exclaiming "I HATE THIS!!"

SERIOUSLY??? Trying to press the seams flat on the shoulder straps was traumatic. One long, drawn out, barely controlled fit of rage.

Listen. I admit I'm prone to fits of rage when sewing, but when you are hating every bit of a project--END THE PROJECT. I'm stubborn and I am also thrifty and I didn't want to waste this cute fabric that I won't be able to replace, but I should have trusted my instincts because this was all a waste of time.

Thank goodness I had enough leftover fashion fabric to make a new bodice from a pattern I've done before and really love: enter McCall's 5094.

And behold, the new bodice:

Isn't it pretty?? God, I hope it fits. The first time I made this pattern, I made it in a size 14 and ended up having to take it in 1.5 inches on either side of the center back seam. This one I made in a size 12. I feel like the straps could be a little longer, but on the first one I made, the straps were way too long and I had to take those in too.

I am really working on improving my craftsmanship, and I'm really proud of my work on this bodice so far. Except for the fact that the pattern is running upside down on the midriff. And the fact that I trimmed the seam allowance connecting the upper bodice to the midriff and THEN realized I'd forgotten the midriff lining. But I fixed that, and proved that I COULD stitch in the ditch. And then realized I'd accidentally sewn the midriff lining on wrong, so that the wrong side is now showing.

Guess I won't be selling this in my etsy store after all.

But listen--when I first started sewing, I didn't know about trimming seam allowances and clipping curves. I didn't know about stay-stitching. Now I stay-stitch all sides of all pieces, because I've experienced too many stretched out necklines and armholes. The added benefit is that the stitch line serves as my guide for the seam allowance, which is wonderful because before I could never sew the 5/8" allowance consistently. It would waver from 5/8" to 4/8" to 6/8" and would just make me sweat with anxiety. Now that I know about trimming allowances and clipping curves, my necklines and armholes are nice and smooth. After I get a few more dresses under my belt, I might actually be ready to start selling what I've made on etsy. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Amen Sister!! This is the pattern from hell. I'm trying to make it work too, because like you said... it takes SO MUCH FABRIC to cut out. I cut out a solid blue for mine so I didn't have to worry about the pattern of the fabric in addition to the dress pattern. I keep showing my husband and he's telling me to just make something else out of it now. I think he's sick of seeing it... much like me. Anyways. Thank you for hating this pattern too. I can see why they discontinued it in the 50's. And again now. I hope it never comes back. But, since the pattern company wants to make money I'm sure we will see it again. Thanks for the tip on using the other pattern too. I actually have that one in my sewing stash. I'm going to dig it out and change it to that one, after one more try(I'm already assuming it won't work!)