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Butterick 5748 Pattern Review by Louise

Whilst perusing Minerva’s website on the prowl for pretty fabrics, this stunning floral print viscose/rayon challis dress fabric jumped out at me (unforetunately it has now sold out on the Minerva site, but there are other alternative Viscose Fabrics to choose from). It comes in four different colourways - bright pink, golden yellow, grassy green and turquoise. I liked the yellow and the pink best of all and had a hard time deciding between them! Once I had settled on pink, I knew I had to find a pattern to showcase the fabric - a circle skirt felt like the obvious choice, and a simple bodice. I chose Butterick Sewing Pattern B5748, which is from their ‘Retro’ range and is a reproduction of an original 1960 pattern, although the design is more of a classic 1950s style.

The fabric is 56” wide, which makes it perfect for a circle skirt, and the print isn’t clearly directional, meaning it can be cut crosswise. 

The drape is beautiful and the fabric is lovely and soft. It even has some very subtle glitter detail which you can see closer up. I fully lined my dress with some ‘anti-static’ lining, which gives the skirt extra fullness and swooshiness, and it means I don’t need to wear a slip underneath. The main fabric and lining both handled very well during sewing. Once the dress was sewn, I left it to hang on my dressmaker’s dummy for just under 48 hours to let the fabric drop. The viscose certainly benefited from this, and it took me a good few hours to even it all out and then hem both layers. I didn’t hand stitch the hem, because...well, I just didn’t want to! Once I had trimmed it all level, I overlocked the edges of the skirt and lining and then turned each layer twice and stitched each with a narrow hem.

The pattern design is lovely. It only uses four pattern pieces - front bodice, back bodice, front skirt and back skirt! There are options to have a little slit at the front or back, or a bow at the front or back, but because the fabric I chose is such a large and striking print, I wanted to keep the design of the dress as simple as possible. 

A detail that I really like about the dress is the low, scoop back, and the fact that the zip is a side zip rather than a centre back zip. It makes it so much easier to zip and unzip by oneself, and it means the back is super neat and tidy. I used a regular dress zipper for the side opening, which I sewed as a centred zip. It’s neat enough and not noticeable tucked away under my arm. I think the pattern would be suitable even for beginner sewers.

The sewing was straightforward and the instructions were easy to follow. All the notches and seams etc matched up perfectly, so I was very happy with the quality of the pattern. When the dress is hanging inside out, as beautiful as that viscose print is, seeing it with the lining side out it makes you realise how stunning this dress would be in a solid colour as well. It’s definitely a pattern I would like to reuse for a future dress.

Fit-wise, on the whole I am happy although it is a little loose under the bust despite some alterations here. On the photo you might notice a large horizontal crease at the front waist - this is due to me having been sitting travelling in a car, four trains and a taxi over a period of four hours before the photos were taken. Ideally I would have had my photo taken when the dress was fresh on, but life is rarely ideal these days. I wore the dress for the entire day - the journey back involving two buses, three trains and a car journey - and it was very comfortable to wear and didn’t dig in anywhere - which is a bonus of not over-fitting! It was a beautiful warm and sunny day when I wore it, and I felt very spring-like and bright and happy (not least because I went to meet up with two of my best friends). 

The dress definitely fits into the occasion-wear category, not being really practical for walking kids to school etc as circle skirts and windy days do not mix well! It looks even better with a 50s style tulle petticoat underneath - and it would be great to wear to a wedding or garden party of some sort.

Louise @ Thread Carefully

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