It wasn't the pattern's fault, really!

Butterick 7130
Here's the pattern for the dress of the other day; see — it was the fabric's fault (or rather, since cotton poplin is not yet known to have either consciousness or agency, my fault). The pattern, Butterick 7130, is blameless. Innocent of any wrongdoing, and without stain. Okay, with a little stain–the pattern's pretty beat up.

I have to admit that I approached this pattern with considerable trepidation, when I first went to make it up. It looked a bit ambitious; I was daunted by the place where the bodice meets the waistband.

However, it couldn't have been easier. You pull the gathers, you snip a bit to a corner, turn under the edge of the waistband, and topstitch it over the gathers! Easy-peasy! I only ripped it out once, and that was because the tension in my machine was wonky and I didn't like the way the topstitching looked.

The whole thing, in fact, went together nicely. Since I am shorter from shoulder to waist than the patterns think I should be, I always shorten bodices. I find the easiest way to do this (and a reason why I love kimono or otherwise non-set-in sleeves) is to sew the shoulder seam deeper — with a wider seam allowance, tapering off at about the bicep of the sleeve. I bet there's a better way to do it, but not a lazier way, since this is a fix you can do even if you forget and have to do it after the facings are already in. (Not that I would know this from constant, repeated trials, or anything. Oh, no.) This also has the benefit of making a deep vee neckline less "where's a safety pin?" deep.

I always meant to make this dress in a dull black silk, maybe twill or something with a little heft to it, with bloody-maroon topstitching and deep garnet buttons, so red that in certain lights they would look black. It would be a real black-widow dress, for sure. Nobody'd mess with you while you were wearing a dress like that. A dress like that makes a slightly raised eyebrow have the force of a right hook. Of course, sewing with black fabric bores me to tears and gives me the headache (I can't tell you how many half-finished black garments I have hanging around in UFO limbo), so I just keep making non-weaponized dresses that don't have the power to make the insolent quail in fear. More's the pity.

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0 thoughts on “It wasn't the pattern's fault, really!

  1. Haha…the picture on the pattern even shows the dress in a very similar blue! Keep us posted as to the fate of this dress. I am beginning to feel attached to it, despite the bad fabric.

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  2. I’ve learned that photographs are much more reliable when depicting how a finished garment will look. I can’t tell you how many dresses I’ve sewn over the years and was surprised and dissappointed at not being transformed into the wasp-waisted barbie doll depicted on the pattern. But the older patterns with the drawn illustrations are INFINANTLY more interesting, and allow one to remain hopeful.

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  3. Oooh, I love the idea of your preemptive strike dress. What about doing it in a red and black cross-weave so that it flickers like the flames of hell? 😀

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  4. I can’t get past size 18 bust 36. i’m a bust 36, would i have been a size 18 – I have issues that I’m a size 8 now. OMG! Eeek. The issues, the nightmare’s I will have tonight.

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  5. I believe the original way of pattern sizing was roughly by age, so an eighteen year old would ideally be a size “18”. Pattern sizes don’t correspond with ready-to-wear sizes. In patterns for dresses and tops, you buy by bust size (or high bust if you’re a C cup or bigger) and alter the rest to fit if necessary. What a lovely pattern, Erin. In a drapy red fabric it would be smashing.

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  6. I am *ahem* 60 now, & my Mom had that dress in many incarnations! My 2 favorites were a black with huge red roses & beautiful black cut glass buttons, & the other was a silk shantung with black/tourquoise warp/woof! It was stunning. She made covered buttons for that one! This really brought back some great memories of her all dressed up to go out dancing! I have those black buttons in my button box!

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  7. Erin, if you decide that pattern’s not for you, or if you want to recoup the cost of it, I will gladly buy either the original or a copy of it from you! Just send me an email!Why yes, hope does spring eternal – why do you ask?

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