It's baaaaaaaack.


Melissa, who sent this, swears I've shown it before, but I can't find it (I REALLY need to add those pattern number tags).

This is a Butterick reissue, so you can buy it in your size, instead of altering the vintage version. (If you wait for the big-box fabric store sales, you can probably get it for $2. In fact, all Butterick patterns are on sale at Hancock Fabrics this week for $1.99.)

I think this would be an excellent pattern to help you use up your stash of smaller pieces — if you make the two-tone version, the contrast part is less than 2 yds, and the main body is about three. Since most of my patterns fall about laughing if I try to make them up with less than four or five yards of a single fabric, I'm seriously considering this one. I have to start using up those smaller bits … of course, what I saved in using up fabric I would spend in trying to find interesting bias binding! I have two complementary pieces of cherry-print quilting fabric that would be adorable in this dress, if I have enough. Or maybe that bright pink seersucker I keep pulling out and putting away again …

Here's the line drawing, and my question: Butterick 4790Where would you put the pockets? Obviously, it needs pockets, but where? Patch ones are such a pain. I think I would do two small in-seam pockets hanging from the wrap waist seam — just big enough for a lipstick, a driver's license, and a couple folded bills.

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35 thoughts on “It's baaaaaaaack.

  1. I have that pattern. Go for the bright pink seersucker. I think I have enough 60s pop pique for mine… white with pink and lime green pattern.you are such an inspiration for me to start clothes sewing again.Like I need another obessession.

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  2. I have that pattern too! The vintage one. I had been thinking about trying to make it for a while, but I think I may be too short to wear it.

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  3. Are there darts on the front? Is that where you mean to put the pocket? That is what would make sense to me.I’d love to see it in the cherry print, with gingham binding. Or the bright pink seersucker with lime green binding. There are so many fun possiblilties with this dress. the option of adding a second fabric makes it even more fun.

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  4. Ohhhhh. That one has been on my E-bay list (unsuccessfuly) forever. Thank you! Thank you!And yes, it cries out for seersucker.

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  5. The discussion on Craftster about this dress has gone for 16 pages, and still continues! It’s Retro Butterick 4790 and it’s a reissue of 5368, the “Easy Whirl Away Dress.”I might just have to add this to my “to-sew list.”

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  6. I was about to leave a comment about diagonal pockets, then clicked on the welt pocket – that was exactly what I was about to describe! (great minds think alike)

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  7. Thank you for posting about this pattern! I regretted not buying it when it was in print before, and I was yet again thinking wistfully of it as I was contemplating what to make for the coming summer. I think I have to go pick it up now. đŸ™‚

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  8. I think that I would use patch pockets. I would put them on the skirt front, in the area that would be covered by the back skirt wrapping over the front skirt. That way, if they are not perfect, it would not matter so much.Amy

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  9. Ditto tikimama above. I made this many years ago (when the reissue pattern first came out) and I was so disappointed with the screwed up sizing that I chucked it and never made it again.Even if you don’t usually, make a muslin for this one or you’ll be weeping over some good, lost fabric.–Lydia

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  10. I have also made this one up, several times, and I heartily suggest it for a more formal look as well as the obvious picnic-wear. I made it twice in irridescent taffeta, one pink and one emerald green. Now I’m making it in pink cotton plaid with orange binding. I’ll have to add the pockets (I think patch, on the front panel).

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  11. Am I a total geek for looking at the illustration and thinking, “Boy, would it be easy to take those parts from patterns that I have that I know already fit me and combine them to reproduce that effect”?I see here a fitted sheath dress with, perhaps, slightly extended sides. The back of the sheath is cut off at the waist (the darts curve in, but not out again – that tells me it’s cut off at the waist), and a half-circle skirt is added to the back shift piece. And I gave full instructions on how to cut a half circle skirt without a pattern a few posts back.The other main difference, of course, is that the underarm seam has been eliminated. Ladies, if you have patterns in your stock that already fit you, and you’ve been frustrated by this one, you may want to get out papers, pencils and rulers, and try your own personally-fitted versions.And you could even add pockets.Oh, and Meredith? What, they only had six-foot-tall or taller women in the fifties? Five foot four is the average these days. I bet it would look darling on you. As long as it’s proportioned to fit your body (you know where your knees are!) (and “you” means “everyone”), it will look just fine.

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  12. Thank you for posting this picture. I made this in its original issue some 50 years ago and it was my favorite dress for quite awhile. The front was pink and the back was lavender in plain old cheap cotton.For several years I have been planning to make it again by adjusting patterns I already have, as was suggested above. but now I can have the pattern itself again.chile pepper

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  13. I have that pattern, too! I have contrasting prints in green and cream that have been sitting around since I was in 3rd grade that I’m planning to sew up into this dress as soon as I have time. And every time I see the fabric and the pattern together, I think about how fun it would be to sew it up in the contrasting 4-H prints that are available occasionally.

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  14. The other post of this dress was on May 21, 2005. No wait, this ‘new’ dress appears to wrap back-to-front, and the other front-to-back. Maybe I’m looking at it wrong. In any case, the line drawings are similar if not the same.- leigh7911

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  15. I just bought this pattern last week and it is super easy. The photo in the pattern book seemed to me to be a giveaway that the sizing was wacky so I just made it smaller and it fits a little better.Rachel

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  16. Those puffy skirts must take up tons ‘o material. I usually need about 2 1/4 yds total to make a dress. But I mostly like mod styles so they’re usually shortish and not really gathered. It’s really cute though.

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  17. you are awesome! I just bought my copy of the pattern yesterday! I hadn’t looked here in a couple of days and was thinking that this was a pattern that you might enjoy too. I have missed this pattern so very much and am overjoyed at its return. I have fabric to make 3. I also bought the vintage dress that was a page ahead in the Butterick catalog. can’t wait…must sew now. Good luck with the pockets.

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  18. And you know what’s sad? I, too, shall buy this pattern – even though I have no access to Hancock’s or JoAnn Fabrics, and must therefore pay Good Cash Money for it – and even though I shall doubtless wind up making the same sorts of modifications I suggested above.I just love patterns. Patterns and fabric; fabric and patterns. Fabrics and patterns and trims: these are a few of my favorite things!

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  19. Thank you so much for posting this! I have some fabric I’ve been dying to use for a dress but just couldn’t find the perfect pattern – and here it is! This will be my very first project when I get back from vacation.

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  20. wow. I just ordered this pattern! It’s gorgeous.Now, em, I need to buy a sewing machine.Do you have any recommendations of good machines for rank beginners?

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  21. Shannon, good luck! I myself have not purchased a sewing machine since 1990, but Threads has a good article about buying one here:

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  22. There is a review of this pattern on PatternReview.com by MelissaB followed by comments. She wears it without petticoats and it looks quite good on her. you have not been to Pattern Review before, just scroll down to Sewing Reviews > Sewing Patterns, Choose Pattern Company: Butterick, and click search. Then Scroll to the bottom of that page, Choose Pattern Company: Butterick and enter pattern number 4790.

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  23. Hey my dd made this one this summer, well almost it needs the buttons and hem, we used some April Cornell fabric from our quiltshop by moda and made our own contrasting bias binding. It is so cute on her! She is rather ehmmmm… “un-endowed” so we left out the bust darts and it still came out really wonderful.Cyndiewww.onthefarmquilting.com

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  25. i also made this dress, just last week, it is sooo rockabilly, i just love retro style dress and hope their is a market for my style, i sure could use the money!i choose two contrasting skull patterns and added a skull button and it turned out really nice. my suggestion is as a previous poster mentioned, measure carefully, all the sizes run really small, coming from a size 2, who can normally fit anything small, or maybe i am just gaining some weight! yeah!! finally !!you can view my finished dress on my blog:

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  26. HELP! I NEED AN ANSWER!Hello everyone. I made this dress for my daughter’s pre-school teacher and it fit her just wonderfully. She is a very petite woman and I saw her actually wearing the dress on Valentine’s day and I was so upset. The back circle skirt of the dress pulled her shoulder seams out of place and that made the entire front of the dress look ill-fitting AND also caused the front skirt to bunch up. Has anyone else had this problem? Also, what can I do to fix it? Is there any way to weigh down the front of the skirt to keep things in place?

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  27. Just in case anyone else had a pulling/fitting problem with this dress, I finally wrote a detailed post about it on my blog with some suggestions that may or may not help.

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  28. So funny, I just made this dress. The blog post goes up tomorrow. I don’t see where pockets could sensibly be added. It’s a supper easy dress to sew though so if you wanted to play around with it.

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