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The Walkaway Dress by Georgina

I was drawn to the Butterick Walkaway dress by its fit and flare vintage style. I have never sewn a pattern from one of the big four patterns companies and thought this reproduction 1952 pattern would be the perfect one to start with. It requires a lot of fabric, miles of bias binding and three pattern pieces.

On receiving the pattern and looking at the style properly I wasn't sure that it was going to suit my large bust. Looking at other sewers versions on Instagram and Pinterest I knew I would have to make version B, one fabric, as using contrasting fabric would emphasise my large bust making it unflattering. I decided to make a wearable toile so went through my stash and found this cotton which I had kept for toile making. It has a directional pattern which isn't suitable for this pattern but keep reading to see how I overcome this issue. Minerva have lots of similar Geometric Print Cotton Fabrics you can choose from.

Let's start with the fitting. I have to do a large FBA and when looking at how people have managed to do this it sounded quite complicated and I didn't think it would work for me. I have recently perfected the fit of the French Navy Orla dress so decided to make the front piece of the pattern into two pieces using the Orla front bodice piece and attaching it to the skirt section of the front piece. I graded the Orla bodice so it continued with the side and back of the front piece. 

Due to the directional print on the fabric I made the back skirt piece into a pleated skirt rather than a full circle skirt. For this I cut a width of the fabric to the length I wanted and made pattern matched pleats. There is a join in the skirt which isn't at the back or side seam but it is all pattern matched and I can't even remember whereabouts it is on the skirt! The pleated section needs to be the same length as the top back piece. 

Once the two front pieces and two back pieces are joined to make two pieces they are then joined at the shoulder seams. The next alteration I wanted to make was to add sleeves. I prefer sleeves. Working out how to add sleeves confused me! I couldn't find anything online about how to do this. I decided on capped sleeves as the dress goes on over your head so regular sleeves wouldn't work. 

And now for the binding. I also decided not to add the binding on the front side but to have it on the inside of the dress. Having a visible binding would really emphasis my large bust and I really didn't want that. Because of the patten of the fabric I didn't want a visible line of stitches around to I had a crazy moment and decided to hand stitch all 9 metres of binding! It was definitely worth it as the finish is super neat.

Yep you've guessed it I also changed the fastenings! I was worried that the back fastening of one button wouldn't be secure enough so I added three to the back with button holes rather than loops. At the front due to the seam I was only able to add two buttons. Both lots of fastenings feel really secure. 

The idea of this Sewing Pattern is that you start sewing after breakfast and can "walkaway" in it later on that day. This definitely look longer than that! For a wearable toile I am really happy with it. I know I have made a lot of changes but I think that it has kept within the original style and has given me a better fit than if I had used the original pattern pieces. I will definitely be making another with the full circle skirt. I'm thinking a small non directional flower print would make a lovely spring/summer dress. The next version will defiantly be quicker now all the alterations are worked out!

Thanks for reading,

Georgina @ Sew in the Garden

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