Added Feb 5, 2011
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 love the 1950s style lines on this pattern – here is a big thanks to Butterick for adding to their vintage reproduction pattern line. I was very excited to see their latest catalogue also includes two new vintage reproductions, especially since there are no new Vintage Vogues.
The instructions are very easy to follow. In fact, I would disagree with the “Average” rating on the pattern. A beginner could definitely tackle this pattern with a little patience. That being said, there are more than a couple of pieces involved, and a ton of darts to tie off!
My fabric choice is a wool suiting from Fashion Fabrics Club in purple and navy diamond pattern with bits of fuchsia thrown in for extra texture. Unfortunately, I only had about 4 yards of 52" fabric, and there was absolutely no way to get all those full skirt pieces cut out. It would seem that the 4 1/4 yard requirement for 60" fabric is a bit of a stretch.
My alterations include:
I added a grograin waist stay (not suggested in the pattern but a good idea for any dress if you want to add stability). I bound the wool edges with Hug Snug rayon seam binding from fabric.com. This stuff is fantastic and such a deal (well, if you know you will eventually use 100 yards of it in any one color!). Instead of interfacing, I used some blue cotton from my stash.
I added 3/4" to the torso length, which is my standard adjustment. I also shortened the arm length by 1". Because of my limited yardage, I removed 1" from the skirt length (and 1/2" from the skirt lining length). I also knew that it would be necessary to remove some volume from the skirt in order to make everything fit. This was accomplished by folding out 3" at the waist end of the skirt side pattern piece and increasing that fold to 11" at the hem edge.
Because I wanted to use a 1 1/4" buckle, I changed my seam allowance on the belt pattern piece to make the belt fit the buckle.
I used french seams on my skirt lining, and added thread tacks at the two side and two front seams to keep the lining in place. (It would be very easy to make this dress without the skirt lining, and save on fabric, but I was concerned that my wool would “stick” to my petticoat.)
I love my new wool dress. I even had someone at work tell me that I looked like Grace Kelly!
Wool suiting from Fashion Fabrics
Bemberg rayon lining
Invisible zipper (substituted for regular zipper)
Hug Snug Seam binding in fuchsia from fabric.com