Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The walkaway dress

I am in the middle of tackling the walkaway dress Butterick 4790. This is what they call a repro of a 1952 pattern which means it has been scaled up for modern pattern sizes. I bought the pattern, fabric and enough (hopefully) bias to make it with my birthday money and have been looking at it since. Mostly because every review I have looked at shows people really struggling to make it. Should have really looked it up first. But I decided to tackle it anyway.

The first mistake I made was going straight into doing an FBA like I usually do without measuring the pattern. Oops. Seems like this one doesn't need it. So I might not have a tiny 1950's waist but I rock their bodacious chests! I cut a straight size 16 out which is right for my high bust measurement and it seems pretty good. As you can see it's not perfect by any stretch. It doesn't cover my bra under the arms. I think this may be because I am pulling the sides down to connect at the front so it goes under my bust. The girls would make it lay rather funny if I just pulled it around I think. To fix this I'm going to undo the side darts and redraw the line so it is higher. I might need to add another dart or take more up in the existing one depending on how it lays with the extra at the side. For the muslin I'm just going to sew some extra material on to do this. I don't like the wide shoulders so I'm going to narrow those and I think I'll drop the neckline a bit as it's not doing me any favours. Currently the back doesn't come all the way round to the middle front like it is supposed to (darn wasp waisted 50's). I was originally going to do some kind of lace up front but I get the feeling that the material will bunch in an unflattering way. So I'm gong to extend the pattern pieces.

Once I have it all as I would like I'm going to unpick it and use it as the pattern. I used to be of the thought that I should strive for a wearable muslin but I don't think that is viable with this. Because of where all the darts are and how hard they are to copy the plan is to actually cut them out of the pattern so I can draw round them on the fabric below. I used to feel that altering the patterns a lot was a bad thing. If I had a pattern I should follow it. However I used to feel that was about cooking recipes until I made pumpkin muffins using a banana muffin recipe. Damn they were tasty. But back tot he sewing. What is more important, the dress looking like the pattern or the dress looking good on me? Clearly the latter wins.

I will keep you posted on the progress and hopefully I will be showing a beautiful walkaway dress soon.


  1. I love, love, love that pattern - I've seen it before. Be sure to model the completed dress when you're done, and maybe you'll motivate me to try it too! :)

  2. I like to think of patterns as a "serving suggestion", hack it 'til you love it I say.
    I've been eyeballing the walkaway dress for a while now too, can't wait to see how yours turns out!

  3. I have this same pattern but haven't usd it yet, I'd love to see how it turns out for you! I've seen a couple that haven't turned out looking as great as the picture and then some look really awesome!