I’ve been eyeing up the Butterick B6453 pattern by Gertie for a while, especially after Vintage on Tap posted about it on Youtube. I kept meaning to purchase it and when I saw it on sale at half price I snapped it up.
There are two versions of this dress – the pencil dress and the gathered skirt dress versions. Both absolutely lovely versions but I was drawn to the full circle skirt.
In the past I have been quite lazy with toiles, but this time wanted to get it right. I made toile #1 in muslin (just the bodice) as is straight out of the packet. Although I come slightly out of the top of the size range in this pattern, I knew Butterick have a lot of ease so just made the top size. It fit fairly well, if anything it was too big.
It has princess seam style lines and as such is easy to alter. I probably needed a SBA (although plus size my bust is small in relation to my other measurements) but just pinched out the fabric I didn’t need, marked the muslin and re-drew the pattern pieces.
I then made a second toile, this time in cotton poplin. This fitted much better but still had a little gapping to fix. I adjusted that toile and tried it again and it fit like a glove. Now time for the real fabric.
I was trying to decide which of my lovely stash fabrics to use. I needed quite a bit of fabric as it was a full circle skirt so I decided on some black cotton with anchors on it. I bought 6m of this from Fabricland so I had plenty.
I made the bodice and facing in the same fabric and used some bias binding as straps. To do this I folded the 1 inch bias binding in half and sewed down each side. I had just enough for two straps and sewed them in between the bodice and the facing.
I should say at this stage I didn’t follow the instructions at all; I didn’t even look at them. I guess I have sewn enough bodices now to not need to. I also decided not to use the pattern pieces for the skirt. Instead I measured the width of the top of the skirt pieces and worked out how much I needed – then cut two widths of fabric and sewed it together.
I was debating how to gather – should I use elastic? gathering foot? hand baste? I initially tried the gathering foot but didn’t have much luck with it, so I decided to hand baste. I threaded two needles and run them through the top of the skirt pieces together, then gathered it up. This is the first time I tried this and it worked really well. I am converted to this way from now on!
Now was the moment of truth – to see how it looked on – fully constructed.
The straps were too long. The pattern calls for using bra clasps on the straps to make them adjustable but I didn’t do this as I didn’t have any available. I just sewed in. I had one of two choices: undo the bodice or cut the straps and tie them. I went with the latter and was very happy with the result.
Thanks for reading,