Butterick B5209 – an elegant version with added sleeves and front bodice detail

B5209 added sleeve and detail front view2

 

Once you find a pattern that suits you, you can never have too many dresses made from it. Butterick B5209 is the kind of pattern for which that statement holds true for me. I spend lots of my time trying to find new patterns, but I often tend to find that rather than trying them out, I end up just adapting one I already own. I love B5209 for its almost-70s silhouette and keep making changes to it with every new dress.

This version not only has added sleeves, but I also found a way to incorporate that gathered front detail which I first encountered in this dress. I made it for a job interview, and although I did not get the job, I got a compliment from my mum, saying how smart I look in it. Seeing that she is quite hard to please, that is quite an achievement in itself.

I am sure though that the “smartness” of this dress is mostly due to the great fabric I bought. I used sateen for the first time, and while it is a bugger to iron (it just loves to crease, as you can see in the pictures), it has a rather lovely sheen and weight to it. It looks expensive, so to speak. Which is not to say that it isn’t. 😉 Two metres of this set me back 48 CHF, which is probably at the lower end of what I would have spent on a smart-looking dress, if I had bought one. Obviously, I still had to put the work in, but I would rather spend three days making this than going to all the shops around town for a day and probably coming back empty-handed anyway.

 

B5209 added sleeve and detail close up

 

The front section is made up of a normal pattern piece and the same piece elongated (to about twice the length of the original piece). The longer piece is gathered and then stitched along the edges of the smaller piece.

 

B5209 added front detail
The sleeves are self-drafted puff sleeves. I made them quite short, but wide. My normal puff sleeve pattern had too much height and while starting out with it, I found that combined with the bulkiness of the sateen, it added too much volume at the top of the sleeve, giving the dress a sort of exaggerated 80s look. I actually finished them for the first time by sewing a tunnel and pulling elastic through. I really wanted to shir them and then hem them, but again, the fabric was too bulky to facilitate much of a gather that way.

 

Butterick B5209 added puff sleeve

 

The skirt is another self-drafted one. I wanted something a bit less full than I usually do, so I made sure to include darts at the back to make enough room.

 

B5209 added sleeve semi side view

Butterick B5209 added sleeve back view

B5209 added sleeve and detail front view

 

Making this version of Butterick B5209 made me really want to sew up another maxi dress. I guess this is down to the fact that I already added to the length of the skirt for this one, which makes it really easy to imagine a floor-length skirt. I have no idea where I would wear such a dress though, to be honest, but I just love long ball gowns. I’m sure it would be a good bridesmaid’s dress too, in the long or the short version.

 

 

A 70s-inspired Summer Dress

A modified Butterick B5209

vintage B5209 me front view

Right, first of all, I apologise for not being very active (especially after my promise to post more…) I have this tendency to be a little bit overwhelmed when I have lots of time to be creative, but I think I’ve sorted it out now and actually accomplished something I am quite proud of. Which brings me to this project. I think Butterick’s B5209 is one of the easiest and quickest patterns to sew. It’s very straightforward and lends itself to making summer dresses like nothing else.

When I think of the summer, it always brings up images of flowy gowns and, for some reason, the Seventies. I absolutely love the dresses of that time, or as I should specify, of the early Seventies. I would have very much liked to live in that time period, although there are certainly things I would have missed. Above all, with HTID in the Sun coming up, I am glad to be alive in a time with raves. I don’t think I could live without electronic music, although as my husband pointed out, you can’t miss what you don’t know and it would have also been cool to dance around to Jefferson Airplane.

Now, this is not a flowy gown by any definition. If I could have, I probably would have made it into a maxi dress, but I sadly had to think of the practicalities of a long cotton dress in the heat. Not only am I going to wear it in Spain, Switzerland also gets really hot in the summer, so a short dress is preferable. Plus, I don’t think I would have had enough fabric. I bought this Rose & Hubble print cotton over a year ago and then could never decide what to do with it.

B5209 is a vintage 40s dress, which lends itself incredibly well to being remodified into a 70s dress. To achieve this, I made the following alterations:

  • I shortened the midsection of the dress. I kind of need to do this anyway, as I have a very high, very short waist (I am only 5’5”). The inverted V-shape of the lower bodice is certainly something this dress has in common with the dresses of the 70s, and their waist usually sat a bit higher than in the 40s.
  • I changed the skirt. I don’t think I have ever used the gathered skirt pattern that comes with this dress. I usually make my own skirt. It’s so easy to make a skirt that I know fits my proportions, rather than trying to adapt one that comes with the pattern.
  • The other major alteration I did was to add puff sleeves. Personally, I love these. In fact, I was thinking the other day that with my love of puff sleeves, maxi dresses and princess seams, maybe there is some suppressed wish somewhere in my head to be a princess. Well, let’s say I just like a certain elegance. 😉

I made a little tutorial on how I modified a normal sleeve pattern to a puff sleeve pattern here.

The sleeves and midsections are made of black Duchesse Satin. To be honest, I just wanted them to be a contrasting colour and this scrap of satin seemed fine for it. Ideally, I might have used a black cotton, but it works quite well as it is, I think.

Now, without further shenanigans, here is the dress in all its glory.

vintage b5209 front view

 

vintage b5209 side view

 

vintage B5209 back view

 

vintage B5209 me front view2

 

 

 

Another Butterick B5209 – this time for the office

It being summer and rather ridiculously hot, I felt the need to make a few dresses that had the following criteria: be very light and very flowy.

Often, I make dresses that I want to wear within a day or two. Not that I can make them within that timeframe. I have a couple of projects on my mind for autumn, but it’s so hot at the moment, nothing seems further from me than making something heavier for colder weather.

So, in an impulse to make something wearable for this weather, I went to the local Stoff und Stil shop, as I had seen this nice Viscose print on their website. Normally, I like to buy my fabrics slightly cheaper (and online) than the 10,95 € a metre I paid there. This comes out of practicality rather than looking for a bargain, as I still don’t see myself as a competent seamstress. I just don’t want to ruin expensive fabric. I really loved that print though. On top of that, I just love being able to go to a shop and look at the quality of the fabric.

I decided to make another Butterick B5209, as the long version I made earlier in the year turned out so flattering. I went for a straight A-Line skirt rather than the suggested gathered skirt and cut the back a bit longer than the front. What I didn’t take into account was that this fabric in combination with that pattern would look, shall we say, a little matronly?

I asked my husband what he thought about it and he said it looked smart. His approximate words were “Don’t wear it to a rave, but I can see you in it at the office.”

I don’t normally do smart. I guess I do smart-ish, but I like having a bit of an edge to my clothes. Then again, I am rather proud of this dress and it is somewhat elegant-looking.

Oh, and for the first time ever, I did a properly hidden zip. It is so hidden, you can’t see anything but the tag. I know that’s how it’s supposed to go, and it’s dead easy when using the hidden zip foot, that is, as long as you know you’ve got one… I did not realise for ages that I was in possession of one. I have this box of assorted sewing machine feet and I’m still learning what all of them are used for. So for some stupid reason, I am well happy with that zip.

The hidden zip I am stupidly proud of:

 

B5209 invisible zip

The fabric is pretty good at hiding my sewing flaws, so apart from a couple of seams not perfectly lining up around the zip, there is also a seam more or less on top of the bust. For some reason, this didn’t happen with the version I made before. The chiffon I used for the long version of the dress probably stretches a bit more. However, it is not unflattering and makes my boobs look smaller (which is a plus for me).

So here is my elegant take on the Butterick B5209:

 

Butterick B5209 floral front

 

Butterick B5209 side

 

Butterick B5209 back

Butterick pattern B5209

I have made one dress from this pattern, so far. I can tell you already though that I will be using it again, and again, and again.

It’s pretty much a perfect fit in my size without any alterations. When you’re used to trying to do full-bust adjustments and taking in everything around your waist, this is just amazing. If anything, it is maybe a bit too small around my waist (while still having enough room for my boobs, yay!)

This leads me to think that vintage patterns from the 1940s are something I should look out for. On the pictures, the drawings are very much showing an exaggerated hourglass-figure, but I was worried that this wouldn’t mean the pattern itself was actually made for that, especially since it has been updated to fit modern sizing.

Here are the pattern pieces for the top part:

the pattern pieces

 

I am quite high-waisted, so the midsection of the dress is a tad long, which leads to it being a bit small. Next time, I will simply take it up about an inch and then add the skirt. So yes, it’s not quite perfect for me, but taking out an inch is a really small and easy adjustment.

I also made this dress into a maxi-dress, as I wanted to originally make a 70s-style garment, but reckoned that this would be the closest pattern to what I wanted.

I am still on the mission to make the 70s dress from this post, but summer is fast approaching… Also, I have had this chiffon fabric for about a year and I finally wanted to make something with it.

What I really love about this dress is that it’s actually a halter-neck in version A and then you simply add a back and sleeves to make version B. This is so clever and I would have never thought of it. Plus, it looks really good!

The construction was very easy. Just like every Butterick pattern, the B5209 comes with detailed instructions and pattern markings. All the stitches used in the instructions are explained in a glossary.

This is the front top pieces all sewn together:

 

front piece

I didn’t use a lining, but the instructions are very clear about how to insert one.

Most of the trouble I had while making this garment were fabric-related. The chiffon was a nightmare to cut, as it was sliding all over the place. By the time I got to the skirt, I realised there’s no way I didn’t need to overlock all the seams, as it was fraying like crazy, so I switched from my normal machine to my overlocker.

I actually finished with a more or less rolled hem. It isn’t really making those typical waves, but I do think it looks rather nice. This was the first time that I used my overlocker’s rolled hem presser foot and I found it to work really well, even though I clearly don’t have the tensions right yet.

The finished product looks a bit more elegant than hippy, to be honest, but I still think it is really lovely and I will make sure I wear it this summer (with an appropriate undergarment).

 

Other dresses I made from this pattern can be found here, here and here.