Sunday, September 22, 2013

Fall for Cotton: Vintage Butterick 7238 dress

It feels like I've been working on this dress forever, but it was SO WORTH IT!
I'm warning you now, I took a stupid number of pictures of this dress, and I'm going to post them all because I can. Sorry, not sorry. 
So, this dress began, as many of my makes do, with the fabric. My mother gave me this stinking adorable cotton print with vintage pattern illustrations all over it. Obviously, it had to become a 50s style dress! Then I saw that Lucky Lucille and By Gum, By Golly were hosting Fall for Cotton! It was a sign. I needed this dress!
It will not surprise you to know that I have a rather large number of pattern in my stash from that era, but when I came across Butterick 7238 at Vintage Martini, it was love at first sight. They were obviously made for each other.
The pattern is a fairly typical fit and flare 50s silhouette, but with a few unique details.
The most obvious is the shoulder yoke and collar. The yoke wraps around, shaping the shoulder and upper back area. The collar is cut onto the yoke and seamed at center back. It has a couple of darts, concealed under the collar, for shaping. The entire yoke is assembled, then attached to the dress with a lapped seam. The point of the yoke is actually supposed to be a functional button, but my muslin slipped over my head easily without it, so I just sewed it down.
There is a contrast band at the skirt hem, which is cut on the bias. I added bias cut sleeve bands as well.
In back, the bodice is shaped with darts and the shaping in the yoke. As a girl who has broad shoulders, the yoke is genius! It gives me the movement ease I need without any bunching. Love that!
The dress closes on the side with a zipper. Mine is lapped, and I did a shoddy job. Moving on.
I decided to add a little vintage touch inside and pinked my seams instead of serging them. 
For fit, I made a 1/2 inch FBA, then added another 1/2 inch of ease at the side seams. Thanks so much to everyone who weighed in on my muslin post! I do like the additional bust ease. I also shortened the left side of the bodice to accommodate my lower left shoulder, so that fits really well.
I added pockets and shortened the skirt about 5 inches. It was drafted to be closer to tea length and I wanted it to hit below the knee. The skirt is interesting. It's just a big ole rectangle, but the seams aren't at the side seam, rather they are slightly forward. You can see where I inserted the pocket into the seam. Not only does this make for a perfect pocket placement, it means the skirt has no side seams. Instead, there is a dart on the right, and on the left, a placket is inserted for the zipper. Pretty interesting construction!
It's also nice and twirly.
When I got started making this dress, I was really unsure if I would wear it much. I mean, it's adorable, but does a twirly 50s dress fit into my modern mom lifestyle?
After wearing it today, I have to give it a resounding YES! It's comfortable and easy to wear, and I don't think it's ridiculously costumey if I'm careful with accessories. I can do all of the mom stuff, even playing on the floor! The full skirt keeps everything covered. I may not step out in gale force winds though. Don't want a Marilyn moment!

28 comments:

  1. It's so cute. I love it. Both belts are cute, and I prefer the narrower one. It goes with the sleeve trim better IMO.

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  2. Beautiful - great job! This really is a stand out and a departure from your normal sewing. Love it!

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  3. Yep, totally glad I didn't buy that pattern because it's perfect for you! Your dress is so great!

    I usually chop off at least 5 inches from all the skirts in vintage patterns too. I think the petticoats made up for a lot of that extra length on the full skirts back in the day.

    Interesting construction detail! Vintage Martini has a great eye for those kinds of things. I ordered what will probably be the last 3 I get from them a couple days ago, since he said that was the last batch he had to put on the site.

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  4. This is so cute. You look amazing, great job.

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  5. I like both belt options. Great pattern for that fabric. And a pocket.
    Love the contrast hem and the sleeve bands. How come they are cut on the bias? (I am sure there's a good reason . . . .)

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  6. Amazing!! Deserving of a million pictures. I love everything about this, especially the twirliness!

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  7. Darling dress; it turned great. Love the shoes with this dress.

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  8. Gorgeous! The fabric is perfect for that pattern! Must remember the yoke thing as I have broad shoulders too.

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  9. Love that print!! I also love the contrast between the 50s dress and the leather obi. It looks fabulous.

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  10. This pattern is ideal for this fabric. Very pretty dress and great fit. Well done.

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  11. Love it- such thoughtful pattern placement too!

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  12. This is just so fabulous. The yoke, the skirt, the fabric, EVERYTHING! If I happened across you in the grocery store I'd be like, "I want to party with you." You should win that "Fall for cotton" prize, if I have anything to say about it.

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  13. Precious! Love the yoke, and your pictures are darling - did you gather a crowd? Fabulous dress.

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  14. What a wonderful dress! It turned out so lovely!

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  15. Oh, Katie! It's just beautiful. So fun!

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  16. I love it!!! It looks great on you, an the print is so fun :)

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  17. I love it! It looks great on you, and the print is so fun!
    I am loving what you did with your hai and makeup too :)

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  18. just beautiful! Really, I'm almost speechless - that collar, the yoke, the skirt - wonderful!

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  19. Absolutely, I mean, completely, 100% AMAZING! I love the way your dress turned out!

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  20. It is so pretty! I love the contrast band, yoke and collar, and the sleeve band. Your hair looks fabulous with this dress, too.

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  21. This dress is FABULOUS!! What a wonderful job you did on it!! So gorgeous.

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  22. I'm Glad that you shared all of the pics because it is an awesome dress, taken with some very beautiful backdrops! Zipper aside this is so pretty and you should be very proud of the finished dress!

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  23. This dress looks so great on you! I love full skirts and you wear is so well! You did an amazing job on it! Photos are fabulous. I prefer the narrow belt but the obi works, too. The narrow one is a nice contrast to the wide black band on the bottom. You could wear a crinoline with it! (Oh, I wish my Fall for Cotton project were done already!)

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  24. You were made for this adorable dress. That back yoke is wonderful. And yes, I think it's surprisingly easy to wear for a variety of activities. Enjoy!

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  25. Gorgeous! The dress is fantastic and fits you perfectly!

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  26. This is totally adorable! The yoke/collar contrivance is such an interesting design feature; I love the way the collar sort of stands up a little.

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  27. Oooooh, Katie, this is a gem!!! I just love this dress and the fabric. So pretty and vintage, but yet so wearable. I would wear this to clean the toilets AND go out to a fancy restaurant. Hope you get lots of wear out of it.

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