Pattern: Butterick 5523 (Muse dress) size 8
Fabric: Dark teal Sophia doubleknit from fabric.com
Shoes: Alfani (Macy’s, current season.)
Notes: Ok, Butterick – you are forgiven! After 2 fails, I finally found a winning Butterick pattern. Admittedly, the last 2 were just poor choices on my part. This dress has all the things that make me like a dress – a rolled collar, 3/4 length sleeves, and an empire waist (controversial as they are, they do work on me for some reason.)
This dress was a very easy sew – I’d say it was about a 4 hour project. I didn’t make a muslin (as I don’t for knits.) What I do instead is change the order of sewing. I sew the shoulders together, set in the sleeves flat, and then sew the skirt pieces to the bodice, but I wait until the very end to sew up the side seams and the sleeve seam in one pass. That way if I need to make adjustments I won’t have any intersecting seams. I also baste the side seams the first time to check for fit. In this case I chose to take the sides in by 1/2″ total (making 6/8″ seams instead of 5/8″.) It actually fit before, but I wanted to make sure in case it stretched.
The only thing that took a long time was slip-stitching down the collar. I recommend taking your time and pinning carefully – you don’t want it to twist or it will look more like a cowl (you will note that the pattern photo looks like a cowl, but the storebought version (below) is much neater. You may want to secure it with a few extra stitches to get it to stay neat. I actually managed to strain my right thumb doing the handsewing on this dress (I have now determined that handsewing does me in worse than anything… I suppose there won’t be a lot of tailoring in my future!)
The Sophia knit was again lovely. One caution – I found that with the dark color I needed to use a press cloth to avoid iron shine (I made my own out of a square of silk organza… it takes high heat well, but it’s see-through.) The pattern had ok instructions for knits, because it actually realized that it didn’t need a zipper! I don’t know why all the BMV patterns tell you to doublestitch your seams. I use a narrow zigzag on my regular machine. I rarely serge knits, I use my serger more for finishing seams than anything else. The pattern runs a bit short – I took a narrower hem than called for, and I like this length, but I’m used to patterns giving you more to play with.
If I have any criticism of the pattern it’s the back – it looks ok, I suppose, but I feel that it should have less pleating, or that perhaps the pleating could be changed to gathers. I did not add the button tab, but it’s only decorative anyway. I couldn’t get mine to look even, so I decided it was better off without. It’s worth noting that the model in the photos I found of the actual Muse dress is standing mighty funny in the rear view, so I’d imagine the issue is with the design, not the pattern. It’s not a big deal to me anyway.
It’s probably too warm for this dress today (it’s supposed to be in the mid 70s) but I don’t care – I have an evening rehearsal in a cold theater, so I’d rather be warm! This pattern is really highly recommended – it’s a great dress for winter!