For my latest dress, I have decided to move backwards from the 50's and try Butterick 5209 from 1947. It love this dress because it so reminds me of the dresses I see my grandma wearing in old family photos. I am sure she sewed hers, too. Of course, she had a lovely hat and some gloves to put with the dress.
I made muslin in a size 16 after reading the pattern measurements, but found it would have been too big. My dress form is fairly true to my size. I even tried to pin some sections and was going to try and adjust the pattern, but ended up just making it a size 14 and that made the difference. If you are making the pattern, there seems to be a lot of ease. I would make it a size smaller than the measurements indicate if you would like it to fit like the picture on the front of the pattern.
|Front of muslin
|Back of muslin
Most of the instructions are good... except at step 23. The picture is terrible and so are the instructions. I gathered that the goal of this step is to sew the self-lining to the bodice front. I stared at this and re-read it and stared at it some more for about an hour until I gave up figuring out what the authors meant to do and just did it my own way, then ended up doing some hand sewing to finish the seams. I am still not sure how they intended it to be done. If you have figured out the mystery of step 23, let me know.
|Step 23, AKA the WTF step.
Variations from Pattern
I made two variations from the pattern instructions. The first variation is that the pattern calls for the zipper to sewn to the top of the underarm seam. The last time I made a dress with a zipper at the armpit (Butterick 5603), the zipper rubbed against my inner arm and was so irritating I don't wear the dress. For this dress, I lowered it a tad and put in a hook and eye at the top. This is MUCH more comfortable!
|Inside of dress
Things I Like
This dress really does remind me of my grandma's dresses from way back when. It is also so comfortable! I have been watching videos on YouTube for how to put pin curls in my hair, so I just need some vintage shoes, a hat and some gloves.
Bonus for anyone who gets this far in actually reading my blog... I accidentally bought two of the B5209 pattern. It is size 14-16-18-20. I'll pick a random person* who leaves a comment on this post from now until 8/31/2012 and send the extra pattern to you if you say you are interested in your comment. I'll even send it overseas. THAT is how happy I am with this dress. If you are the lucky winner, I'll contact you through your profile to get your address.
*I reserve the right for "random" to be translated as "most entertaining and/or useful". Just saying.