crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Butterick 5603

Pattern: Butterick 5603, view B

Fabric: 2.5 yards linen/cotton blend from Joann, cotton batiste for bodice lining

Notes: The first dress of my sewcation!  Actually, the maxi dress is also finished, but I am not really photo ready today, and it’s much too long for the dress form.  This dress is pretty much the same color as the wall I usually take photos in front of, so until it warms up enough to wear it outside I’m going with dress form photos.

I’m fairly happy with this dress – the fabric is so pretty, and it’s nice and light.  The only thing I’m not happy with is the number of pattern alterations I had to do in order to fit myself.  I did not make a muslin – with a simple dress like this I’ve gotten pretty adept at fitting as I go.  In this case, I had a few more issues than I expected!  My pattern review is below:

Pattern Description: Fitted dresses A, B, C with flared skirt, below mid-knee, have lined bodice, princess seams and side zipper. A: bateau neckline with band and bow at upper and lower bodice edges. B: tie wrapped around each shoulder and knotted forms bow. C: bodice crosses at front and back. Purchased petticoat.  I made view B.

Pattern Sizing: Based on the measurements printed on the tissue, I cut a size 10 in the shoulders and chest, blending to somewhere in between a ten and twelve in the waist.  This is not the size I ended up with after alterations though!

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, after my alterations.

Were the instructions easy to follow? The instructions were excellent.  They were totally clear, even for the lining.  Each bodice variation has its own set of instructions, and all three share the skirt.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I thought the tie shoulders were cute, and I always love a vintage reprint.  I was looking to make a nice summer dress.  My favorite thing, as it turns out, is the v in the back.

The back v is the perfect depth, now that I’ve removed the extra shoulder length.  It doesn’t show my bra.  The front v I don’t like as much – to be honest, it’s a bit high for my taste, but again that may be due to my alterations.

Fabric Used: Cotton/linen blend from Joann’s.  I did not attempt to match the pattern at all – the repeat is large, and to be honest I’m not sure you can tell that much anyway.  I lined the bodice with a white cotton batiste.  I love to use batiste to line summer dresses – it’s so lightweight and cool!

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I originally sewed the pattern as drafted, with the only alteration being my two blended sizes.  The bust should have come out at around 35″, which is my normal size for this sort of dress.  It came out a bit large (which may be partly sewing/cutting error,) but the big issue for me was the shoulders.  As drafted, the shoulders are really long.  I don’t have a lot of depth there, and so I had to fix that.  I was sad to have to rip open my pretty lining finish, but it had to be done – I removed 2″ total from each shoulder.  Then I slip stitched the lining where I had opened it to make my adjustment.  I was sad, but as it turns out that seam is covered with the ties, so you can’t see it!

I also took 1.25″ total out of the side seams to fine tune the fit.  Finally, I trimmed five inches off the length before doing a baby hem.  As drafted, the pattern is tea length (not a surprise in a vintage pattern, but I like my skirts shorter.  It falls right at the knee on me.)

Let’s talk about the ties.  To my surprise, the ties are merely decorative – rectangular pieces that are knotted over the shoulder seams.  I’m not sure if I like them – I feel like they look a bit messy, but that may be just me.  I might remake them a bit larger, so they don’t stick up so much.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I wouldn’t, because I only need one,  but I am going to recommend it.  It runs a bit large in the bust, typical for vintage patterns of this era (I can’t say if it’s been modernized, but I would suspect so – the waist measurements are too large for vintage.)  Watch the armhole depth.  Be aware that each bodice version has its own pattern, so this review really only applies to view b – views A and C are different.

Conclusion: As always, I’m glad to see these reissues.  I think all three versions in this envelope are lovely.  For me personally it’s not my absolute favorite style – I have a pretty high hip, so I like a skirt to flare out right away, rather than gradually the way this one does.  Even so, with cute red shoes and jewelry this will be great for warm weather.  As soon as the weather improves I will get some photos on me!

19 thoughts on “Butterick 5603

  1. This is such a pretty dress, in such a beautiful fabric! I can’t wait to see how it looks on you with all the changes you made, but I’m sure it is beautiful! BTW, I just added you to my blogroll after weeks of following your blog!

  2. I can usually look past the horrible pattern photos, but I must admit I disliked Butterick’s version of this dress so much that I didn’t even notice this view with the cute ties! I was unsure how I felt about the empire waist + fitted waist gradually moving into a full skirt. Your version looks lovely, though! I could really use a sewcation!!!

  3. This is lovely – such a fresh print! I’m with Alex – I often find it difficult to see past the pictures especially on some of the vintage reissues, I find it hard to imagine them on a modern woman! This though looks great – I bet it will look lovely on you! I’m surprised about the shoulder ties too!
    And still feeling utterly jealous of your sewcation!

    1. Thanks! The fabric is still at Joann’s – I just picked it up last week. It’s in one of their special collections – the one with all the nautical and red/white/blue fabrics.

  4. Looks great! Look forward to seeing it on you. Funny about the shoulder ties not being real ties, but I think the size looks ok on the dressform; might be different on the body of course.

  5. I think this dress is adorable!
    I’m a pretty new reader to your site, although yesterday during a slow work day I accidentally ended up in your April 2009 archives and have since decided to start knitting myself shawls and shrugs with reckless abandon. 🙂

  6. This is a great review. I’ve had my eye on this reissue, so this really helps. Your dress is lovely. I adore the fabric.

  7. i just love this style of dress. the only problem i have with dresses like this is i’m a bit fuller on top then most dress styles allow for and the empire waist line ends up cutting right through the middle of the bosom lol. i’ve had to pass on so many of my favorite designs due to this flaw.

  8. This dress is so cute. I just picked up sewing again and I think this would be too complicated for me. I love the ties on the shoulders.

  9. I would also love to see the dress on you — it’s darling! Was also glad to hear that your high hip issues were okay with the fit of the dress (I have the same).

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