Monday, December 3, 2012
Review for the Little Black Dress -- Butterick 5664
This is a basic, fitted and lined sheath type dress with cap sleeves. It has front and back darts and a center back zipper. The hemline falls above the knee and it has a wide V neckline.
The pattern is See & Sew Butterick 5664. It's says "Yes, it's easy!" on the cover.
No, it's not. At least, not using the instructions.
I made this in a size 6, grading to an 8 at the waist. I've made some Buttericks that fit me right out of the envelope, but this one wasn't one of them.
I bought the fabric online and it was listed as a suiting. It has a slight nappiness, which led to my confusion about whether it is a gabardine or a flannel, but after working with it, I'm now pretty certain it's a flannel. It has a nice twill weave and a beautifully drapey hand. The lining is a plain black acetate.
I love the shape of it's neckline, and several people have told me how flattering it looks. At last! I've finally found a neckline that looks good on me. It's not exactly suitable for every day wear, but it's nice to know that I've found the neckline of my dreams for formal wear. One step at a time.
I had to take in the side seams about 5/8 of an inch to get the dress to do that form fitting thing properly. And I had to take the side seam in another 3/4 of an inch from the underarm to the waist to get rid of the wrinkles that kept forming between the two front darts.
I also had to take the shoulder seam in about 5/8 of an inch at the neckline, tapering to nothing halfway along the seam. This makes the sleeve a little tighter than it should be, but I don't think I'm supposed to be lifting anything above my head when I'm wearing a dress like this, so I think it's okay.
And I lengthened the bust darts by nearly 2 inches. The back darts extend a little too far down, but as it's not really noticeable, I left them as they are.
As for the instructions, they were pretty terrible. After sewing the sleeves to the fronts and backs of the fabric and the lining, Butterick has you attach the front lining to the front, then attach the back lining to the back. Only then do you sew them together. Are you confused yet? I was. It seemed so...irrational.
I thought perhaps it was because of the cap sleeves, (having never made anything with cap sleeves before) but after struggling with it, now I think it's just bad instructions.
I tried to follow them. I really did. But I ended up with this lumpy mess at the shoulder seams that I just could not get rid of. I finally ripped apart the shoulders, and the understitching and everything, machine stitched the shoulder seams (per the instructions, they were supposed to be handsewn last), and handstitched the lining to the fabric at the sleeve and neck edges. Not an ideal solution and I am not happy with it. It is, however, invisible when I'm wearing the dress, so I guess I'll get over it eventually.
And I didn't finish the seams, since this was a lined dress. With all the adjusting I had to do, it was a good thing I hadn't.
So, will I make this dress again? Absolutely! I'd have to lower the armholes a bit for comfort, but all the other alterations have already been transferred to the pattern in preparation for the next one. Green? Brown? A tweed, maybe? Not sure. I already have a bunch of other projects already lined up, so I won't get to it for a while. And I want to work on the instructions and find a better and easier way of assembling this. One that doesn't make me want to pull my hair out.
So, while it wasn't exactly easy, it was well worth the effort.