Saturday, September 20, 2014

DRESS-OF-THE-DAY 17: Retro Buttrick '53 (B5708), Busty Girl Problems & Fabric Find Tip

In celebration of NATIONAL SEWING MONTH (here in the United States), I've decided to do an intensive blog series (well, intensive for me who obviously does not always make the time to blog), featuring a dress (or two, or a style) each day, not previously presented on this blog. Some will be my own creations, whether I used patterns or designed them myself. Others will be pieces I admire. Either will include an analysis and maybe some sources, history and tips. (At least, that's the goal.) I also have some guest bloggers scheduled (exciting!)

And now on to the Dress of the Day!

 Honestly, not a huge fan of this dress. I didn't think to adjust the fit while making it, and it turned out much too loose in the underbust and waist. Also, to get the shoulders to sit properly, I had to knot the ties so that the underarm seam is riding up too high. Perhaps, I should've just made a smaller size, instead of trying to accommodate my bust size. (But more on that later). It is a fun pattern, with variations on how to style the bodice by using the shoulder ties.

Butterick 5708



When you make a size according to your bust measurement that ends up being too large everywhere else and it's not an easily adjustable style.

The only solution I see is to take in the lower bodice center front seam, and maybe part of the upper bodice-lower bodice front seam.

Unfortunately I already sewed the lining in, so this will be much more work. And I really should know better, that you have to make the effort to try it on in-progress. It was just tricky, because of not wanting to knot the shoulder ties before the bodice was finished, but it could've and should've been done.

Live ad Learn.


Because I'm nice, I'll let you in on a secret, to the best, cheapest fabric you can buy nowadays (when you rarely see anything for under $5/yd). Jo-Ann fabrics has something called "Quilter's Showcase' line of fabrics. They are 100% cotton woven (calicos) fabric and come in extremely cute, vintage-y looking designs in an array of colors. Yes, they are a bit thinner than your Keepsake Calicos, Kona Cottons or other 'high quality' quilting fabrics, but they are also half the price even at full cost. Now the real tip... a couple times a year, the stores have a 50% off sale on these fabrics. Besides this rarity, I personally have not been able to buy a fabric for $2.50/yd for years, even from the 'red tag' or bargain bins. The hard part is stopping yourself from buying several bolts.
And now that you've successfully navigated this blog entry, here's a reminder about the Steampunk Apron/Bustle Mini-Sweepstakes (details here).


  1. The dress is gorgeous! It's too bad that it doesn't fit as well as you would like it to. If it's any consolation, I can't tell from looking at the photos! I'm too busy oohing and aahing over the silhouette and the fabric choice! Perfection! I agree that garments with these unique necklines are much more difficult to check the fit as one goes along. You pretty much have to sew a muslin to really get it right, and I almost never do that. There is a special technique called FBA or full bust adjustment that many sewers do. If you are unfamiliar with it, you will likely find details on at Communing With Fabric.

  2. The dress looks great on you! The pictures don't show that it is a bit too large and the pattern of the fabric makes your chest pretty and your waist small! I have no better idea to make the dress smaller, it does not leave much options for better fitting thn the front middle seam. An FBA as mentioned by Sue would have worked before sewing, but now it is not really an option...

  3. Only talented seamstresses like you note the deficiencies in this dress. It looks beautiful to me. Sorry 'bout the problems caused by bustiness; that's a common lament.

  4. This dress is so gorgeous on you! I'm sorry about the bad fit- I understand how crazy it can drive a gal, even when I corroborate with the ladies above that it looks great on your dynamite figure. :D

  5. Was just googling this pattern and your blog popped up....You've just convinced me to buy this pattern! Gorgeous fabric choice and looks fab on you.. I'm big busted too so will have to measure myself properly!