| Pattern Description: |
Here's your chance to use any vintage buttons you might have hanging around your sewing room. This ironically named 'Button Dress' does not actually have any functioning buttons on it. All the buttons are decorative.
The dress has raglan sleeves and an invisible zipper at the side. There is a decorative tie at the back neck and a tie belt that can tighten the fit at the waist if desired.
I cut Bust 36", Waist 30", Hip 39", which pretty much matches my size perfectly. I ended up taking in the dress until it was smaller than a size 34" bust. So I'd say it runs a but generous.
The Fabric & Notions
1.7m bias printed quilting/craft cotton, 30cm poly chiffon, scraps of raspberry linen.
The dress is a nice, sweet style, with a bit of interest that sets it apart from the modern patterns out there. There is a lot of scope for personalisation in the design. The pattern itself is a vintage original, and the modern re-sizing is well done. The pattern instructions are generally well written and easy to follow.
The version of the pattern I was working with had ALL the sizes, and the sizes weren't labelled on every piece. This made it rather hard to tell what size you were cutting out as you constantly had to be referring back to pieces that had the sizing labelled. It was also tricky to tell which notches belonged to your size in places where the all the sizing notches were placed close together.
The original vintage instructions have been completely re-written to use modern sewing techniques, and while that's a good idea in some ways, it does mean that period techniques that would make the pattern much easier (like lapped seams at the bodice/sleeve joins) or more beautifully finished (bias finished neck edges, rather than a modern facing) were tossed along with outdated ones. I ended up completely disregarding the instructions and using period techniques, because I found them easier, and the end result was likely to be better.
Finally, the pattern runs large, and the back neck tie is really fiddly and annoying to sew, and fiddly and annoying to wear.
Changes I made for this project
I finished the neck edge with bias binding, rather than a facing. More period - and a nicer finish.
Based on friend's experiences making the pattern, I knew to avoid the back neck annoyance - I just cut my ties a bit shorter, picot edged them (wonderful vintage technique!) rather than trying to bag line them tied them, and sewed them down with a button, to echo the front buttons. This does mean you need to pull the dress on, then style your hair!
The belt just looked like two giant arrows pointing at my stomach and ribs, so I left it off.
Changes I would recommend/do next time
I doubt I'll make this again (just not as flattering on me as some of my other patterns), but if I did, I would:
- Definitely make the same change to the back ties that I did with this one.
- Get rid of the fullness in the back bodice piece. It just adds weird, un-needed ease to the bodice.
- Cut a size smaller - or more.
- raise the waistline a couple of inches to a more flattering below-the-bust line, rather than halfway-down-the-ribcage line (If you are larger busted you won't need to do this), and raise the top like of the skirt to match, so the waist still stays in the right place.
- lengthen the skirt just a wee bit - I prefer a longer, period accurate hem, and the pattern length gave me nothing to hem with.
I think we can all agree that the pattern illustration is a fantasy, and that none of us are ever going to look like it. Also, despite the diagonal plaid shown in the pattern illustration, the dress is NOT cut on the bias. Nor is my version - it's a bias printed plaid.
It's a good pattern, it all fits together, and it's got a unique look - all of which I hugely value in a pattern. It just needs a few tweaks to really make it work.
The shape isn't the best on my small-busted, sway-backed, square-ribbed, prominent bottom, slightly pear shaped figure, and unless you have a 34" bust, 24" waist, 30" hips, and are 6'2" you are never going to look like the pattern illustration, but the pattern is gorgeous, and will be flattering on lots of shapes.
If historical accuracy isn't your aim, the modern instructions mostly won't matter - and you may even prefer them (though lapped seams would make it easier, and I never did understand how they were telling me to put the sleeves together at the bottom 2cm).
There are more pictures and information and (OK, I'll fess up) just a bit of whinging in my blog post