Thursday, 13 March 2014

Minerva Bloggers Network - Retro Butterick 5747

Hello there! Well, spring is dropping little hints that it's on its way with the odd flash of sun so it's fitting that this latest Minerva project is a cotton dress with a nautical feel.

 I present Butterick 5747 from 1960:

Usually I assume with super-feminine, retro styles like this that wearing them will feel a bit 'binding' and uncomfortable compared to our modern cuts and stretch fabrics. But this dress is actually really lovely to wear - I want to find every excuse to wear it, so don't be surprised if you see me pottering around the supermarket in it!

The fabric is a lovely black crisp cotton sprinkled with off-white stars and dots. The style and fabric isn't obviously nautical, but I added some Russian braid to the collar to give it a sea-sidey feel:

Speaking of necklines, I'm particularly proud of getting this one to fit. I'm not a big one for making muslins - I feel like I'm wasting fabric - but this was worth it for the learning experience and the final result. I'll explain it in another post, but basically all I did was pinch a dart out of the neckline, making it lay extra flat. I closed that dart and then swung the excess into the waist dart. The pattern piece looked a bit odd - huge, massive waist dart - but the fit around the bust and neckline is just how I want it:

Since the neck is wide and on the bias, there's always the possibility it will stretch out. The best solution is to reinforce it with tape; I improvised by cutting strips from the selvedge of the fabric and sewing them in to the neck seam:

Improvised tape, sewn into the seam

I also altered the insert at the front - the original size sat right up on my collar bone; I lowered it by about 2".

I swear it normally sits flat - I don't know where that crease came from

The neck insert on its own - it attaches with buttons and press studs to the inside facing

A few other details:

The hem is finished with bias tape and machine stitched:

There's a lapped split at the back of the pencil skirt, and I finished this with an arrowhead at the top to keep it from splitting open:

 There's no zip in this dress, instead it opens and closes with buttons along the front. There's also a belt, which I'm not sure the dress really needs, but I added it anyway:

And here's a back view:

I think that's it! Remember, you can get everything you need to make this project - fabric, braid, buttons - from Minerva

I'm also making this part of Marie's Vintage Pattern Pledge, so look out for me on her Pinterest site!

See you soon!


  1. I'm with you; I hate the idea of making a muslin. I've NEVER done it because it feels like a waste of fabric and time - I get bored very easily with sewing projects. I know that it is a good practice and plan to do it if I ever sew anything serious. You obviously did well by yourself in making a muslin because the dress turned out GREAT!

  2. So pretty! I love this pattern and like how you made it more fun and casual with the star fabric and white trim.

  3. You are really sailing in the stars on this one! It is so very lovely. I have this pattern cut up in the full skirt version and ready to stitch for spring, my fabric is a navy stripe suiting. I hope mine ends up half as cute and comfortable as yours!

  4. Your dress is so stylish. Muslin are a pain but I agree they help figure out how to make the garment as well as get the sizing right.
    Love this look.

  5. Gorgeous as ever ms needles! I've got a simplicity pattern with a similar collar that I felt could be a bit costumey but this looks great!

  6. This looks lovely! I think you would look great in some of our vintage dresses :)
    Becky x

  7. I LOVE this choice of pattern for you! You are rocking that collar with the trim!

  8. Love your dress, I have this pattern and am thinking about the full skirt version.

  9. Oh I love this! The fabric and trim are brilliant choices and I really admire your attention to detail. It looks as though you've done a brilliant job of fitting as well (though I don't understand about the neck and waist dart thing you did so I'm looking forward to your post about it).

    I actually have this pattern but had totally forgotten, so: YAY! I have lost my sewing mojo though, so I need to get that back first!

  10. Such a classy dress. Rocked up of course by your good lady self. I love it Nicole. Can't wait to get my teeth into another vintage number. :-)

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