Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Butterick 5846 - The Forties Shirtdress

It's a 1940's shirtdress!  It's no suprise that I love shirtdresses (Crab Dress anyone?), and Butterick came out with this pattern that I bought in December for 99 cents or $ 1.99, I don't remember.  I was in Cotton Creek when I bought it and my mother pronounced the pattern art "ugly".  I can't really argue with her about that:

What is worse is the photo on the Butterick website which shows the dress made up in a cheap rayon of the most unbecoming color.  (I won't link to it here to save your eyes, not to mention your sensibilities.)  But I assured Mother that I would make it look better than the line art.  As I have said before, I love me a shirtdress!  They are just so comfortable, yet put together:  

I used a cotton lawn I bought at my LQS probably 18 months to 2 years ago.  I want to say it is a Kaufman fabric.  It was a pleasure to sew and I think it lent the right mood to this design.  The bust is fashioned by gathers at the yoke and pleats at the waist.  Unfortunately, the back of the dress is fashioned in the same way, so I suppose you could wear it backward if you wanted to:

The design makes the back blousen more than I would like, but it ended up not being as bad I thought it would.  I really liked the waist pleats which were sewn, then top stitched:

And I realized while I was making this dress that this is the first gathered sleeve I have ever done (on purpose!):

 Wow.  What a relief not to have to wory about errant gathers while sewing in a sleeve.  It was a lot of fun.  I did notice one mistake in the instructions. The marks on the collar pattern piece for where you clip to are put in the wrong place.  The illustration even shows the mistake:

You can see where you are to clip doesn't match up with the front facing.  If you do it the way the pattern piece and instructions tell you, you will have nowhere to put that collar seam allowance - it either has to go under the front facing or under the clipped top collar.  I figured it out before I sewed everything down and was able to make my collar and my facing match up:
I was pretty pleased that my sewing experience allowed me to figure this out before I blindly followed the instructions!  The other change that I made was to add to the hem to make the skirt a little longer.  I had already cut the skirt out before I figured that the skirt was too short.  So I added a bias band to the lower edge of the skirt.  I simply cut a three inch bias strips from my fabric and sewed them together.  Then I folded the three inch bias strip in half and sewed it to the hem of my dress with a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  I pressed the seam allowance towards the skirt and then edge stitched it.  I'm sorry I didn't get a photo of the hem.  It's a nice finish, and I stole it from Kay Whitt's patterns.  I felt like the design of this dress required a longer skirt.  The bodice is so full with the gathers in the bodice and the sleeves, I think the skirt has to be longer to balance out the top.  Even with lengthening the skirt by an inch or so, I still think it needs to be lengthened by another 2 inchs so that it covers my knee.  If I was going to make it again, I would make this adjustment, but I don't think I will make this pattern again because of 1) my no repeats rule these days, and 2) there are just so many great shirtdress patterns out there.  So many shirtdresses, so little time!

Here is a shot of the buttons the Carpenter helped me pick out.  The obvious choice would have been navy, but that was a little to ready to wear.  We went with a seafoam green that picked up the green in the fabric:

Other than the hem, I made no other alterations and made a size 12 straight up.  It was funny, while I was making this dress I idly thought to myself, "I wonder what I should make as my Easter dress?"  And finally I looked down and realized I was making my Easter dress.  I wore it Sunday morning with a Laura Ashley hat trimmed in a navy ribbon that I bought at least 20 years ago, maybe more.  I love wearing a hat on Easter - very retro and the old men the congregation love it!  They tell me so every year.  : )


aimee said...

Love this dress and how it emphasized your beautiful blue eyes!

eye_on_sparrow said...

your dress looks great. You have inspired me to try making myself a shirtdress.

Mollie said...

What, no photo with the hat? I bet you looked very stylish!

Vicki W said...

Very nice!

Audrey said...

I love 40's styles. Your dress looks wonderful on you.

gwensews said...

That's a super looking shirtdress. The Carpenter is becoming a stylist! I've also noticed that when I wear a hat to church, the men do comment and seem to like seeing hats on ladies. Some of the old ways are still the best. Wish white gloves would come back into style.

Anonymous said...

Sooo happy to see your comment about the collar facing! I'm working on my own version right now and thought I must be missing something or I'm stupid, because the facing does not fit. Happy to see I'm not imaging things, and I'll do the same thing you did--notch the collar to the facing and finish by tucking the edge in. Your finished version is lovely.

Anonymous said...

I just ran into the facing/collar problem, and came to Google it to see if anyone else had run into it! It looked wrong when I read the instructions, then I somehow convinced myself it was fine. But now that I'm attaching the facing, I realize I was right the first time! I was considering which way to fix it, and now that I've seen you had success just changing where the clipped part is, I'll go that route. Fortunately, I'm making a wearable muslin with a weird novelty quilt fabric from my stash. It wasn't until I sewed the skirt pieces together that I realized how short it was. When I make up the pretty lawn I bought for it, I'll be using the longer version of the skirt. Thanks for reassuring me I'm not crazy, the pattern is!