Every year I know that I’m going to make Ms. Paulette’s dress for the Pastor’s Annual Banquet. This year was no difference except I got started about two weeks later than usual and I did not help her with shopping for the fabric and notions. Ms. Paulette was on her on with the exception of a few phone calls.
Because I got a late start, I didn’t make a muslin to check the fitting. This is definitely a no, no for me. I like to confirm the fitting adjustments and design preferences before cutting into the fashion fabric. But like I said I started late having only to weeks to complete the entire project.
One good thing is I’ve sewn for Paulette for many years and know where changes are needed. The second good thing is the changes are few and not drastic: A little added here and a little removed from there. She is really not hard to fit. More often than not, she will select a vintage pattern. She likes dresses from the 40’s and 60’s. Many have details that you do not see in dresses today, like shoulder and sleeve darts or belt made in the fashion fabric.
So without further ado, here is my review of Butterick 5556.
MISSES' DRESS AND BELT: Lined dresses A, B, mid-calf, have semi-fitted bodice and gathered, flared skirt, winged or stand-up collar, below elbow kimono sleeves, side zipper and side front pockets. B: sleeve cuffs with slit. Self-fabric belt has purchased buckle. Purchased petticoat. I drafted and made the petticoat.
8-22; I used between 18 and 20.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes it did. At one point I thought I had made a mistake with the waist darts. They were too long. But I look at the drawing on the envelope to see that they were as intended. So I did not lower them.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
I did not have any problems following the instructions. The skirt had eight panels. I marked each on the wrong side so I could keep track of which ones were to be gathered and to identify the front panels for the pockets.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Paulette selected this pattern. She likes everything about this dress: the full skirt, the collar, the sleeves, and the fabric belt.
A polyester I believe. The weave is similar to shantung with lengthwise stretch. She made her purchase at a local store at Roosevelt and Desplaines. I can always count on Paulette to purchase nice fabric.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
- Added 3 inches to the length of the skirt.
- Cut between size 18 and 20 along the sleeves.
- Cut size 18 at the bust area
- Cut size 20 at the hips.
- I couldn’t find the belt backing at any of my local stores and didn’t have time to order any. So I used faux leather belting to substitute for it.
- I drafted and made the petticoat. It was pretty easy. I used some cling free lining and crinolines to make it. Sorry I don’t have pictures of it.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
One of my sisters loves her dress and would like one too. I do recommend it to others. I was very pleased with the results and so was Ms. Paulette.
Conclusion: This is not a quick project. Plan to spend some time getting the gathers just right. And settle into the yards and yards of hand sewing on the skirt. Be careful not to mix up all those skirt panels. In the end, you will have a beautiful elegant dress.