It’s time to wrap up week 2 of Me Made May, with a mysterious pattern and huge congrats to all 2014 graduates (particularly those at James Madison University, and even more particularly, those in SMAD! SMAD for life!)
Once upon a time, as I scoured the web for easy shift-style dresses, I came upon this pattern: Butterick See & Sew B5306. I would link to it, but I cannot find it anywhere on Butterick’s web site, nor on Pattern Review. There are a few for sale around eBay and etsy, but if it’s not on Pattern Review, I have to wonder… does it even exist? Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
I was attracted to two things about this pattern:
1. The retro-esque style
2. “YES! It’s EASY”
I picked up a cute floral dot fashion cotton from JoAnn Fabric that I thought would make an adorable version of this dress in A view (left, sleeveless). The fabric recommendations list lightweight broadcloth, linen, crepe, and faille, but all I heard was “lightweight.” Ditzy pink, it would be! (Random question: does “ditzy” mean something other than “scatterbrained” in the sewing world? The fabric color was called “ditzy pink”).
Despite my inability to find any blog posts or references to others making up this pattern, I forged ahead with my plan. I traced off the pattern and added 4″ to the waist, as my actual waist measurement is larger than the pattern size. I usually need a little more room in the waist, as the difference between my waist and hip measurement is 7″ or so (and most big-name patterns seem to have at least 9-10″ difference between the two). I used the pivot method to add 1″ to each side seam of the front and back (x4 = 4″). This ended up increasing the hip width as well, but maintained the original shape of the pattern. I needed 3″ in the hips anyway, but figured it would all work out in the flare of the dress.
With pattern modifications out of the way, I cut into my ditzy pink fabric and got to sewing! It was a fairly uneventful process, aside from getting back into the swing of pressing everything (not as necessary with the knit dresses I’ve been making lately). When I tried the dress on, though… yikes! It was huge. Like, muumuu huge. I went back to my pattern and measured everything out, but there weren’t any errors. The pattern envelope does not indicate finished bust/waist/hip measurements for the dress (except to say that the bottom edge is 60″), so I don’t know how much ease was intentionally built into the design. It doesn’t look like much, judging from the models on the cover, but yowza. There was so much ease going on that I suspected I might be able to ignore the pattern measurements and sew up a straight size. I took in 2.5″ in the waist, and could still probably take more.
Here’s how the dress looked for Me Made May 10th, graduation day at JMU:
I suspected early on that the circle collar wouldn’t turn out as nice as it appeared on the pattern envelope. The area is interfaced and that helps, but as I feared, the ends of the circle wanted to fly away like a collar. It doesn’t help that I suck at cutting round things.
Even after taking in the entire side seams, this dress is a bit too big. I have to guess that the pattern itself doesn’t match the measurements on the envelope. For example, the sewing size 22 indicates a 44″ bust. I added 2″ when I traced off the pattern (which was conservative – I measure closer to 47″, not including bra). I did not at all alter the armscye or shoulders at all, but they’re still too big. Typically, the 44″ bust size fits me in the shoulders. Not here! Same problem with the waist. I probably could fit in the unaltered size 22 – which means, those measurements on the envelope just aren’t right.
I guess this is to be expected for a pattern with a retail price of $2.99 USD. I still think it’s a cute, easy dress. I may try one more time to tweak this pattern, just for the fitting practice. I’ll probably try to fit this ditzy pink dress a bit better as well. It only took about 2 hours to sew up once I cut it out, so it might be useful to have around. Or, maybe I should defer to the wisdom of the masses and skip patterns that nobody is sewing!
Now that school is out and my grades are posted, my to-do list can include more of these little sewing adventures. Bring on summer!
Me Made May 2014 Summary, through May 10:
Week 2 (May 5-11):
Me-Made Items Worn: 2
Me-Made Items Created: 2
Week 1 (May 1-4):
Me-Made Items Worn: 2
Me-Made Items Created: 1
Me-Made Items Worn: 4
Me-Made Items Created: 3
(Goal is one of each, each week).
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