Sunday, 31 August 2014

Butterick 5917: The Ruffle Dress

The overall silhouette is a typical fitted dress with an empire waist line, but what makes the pattern stand out is the ruffle detail around the neck. I must say it’s a very balanced design with the ruffle. If you use a vintage colour and fabric, the dress can turn out to be a good vintage piece.

 The fabric
The fabric is yarn dyed cotton poly blend in plaid.  Extra patience was required in cutting the plaid for a good match at the seams. But it also saved me time in finding the grain line. The colour is light yellow with darker shade running vertically. I was surprised it turned out to have a vintage feel after I finished it.

The size
Some reviews on PR already pointed out the sizing is bigger than normal. Based on the envelope measurement, I should cut size 12 then grade to size 14 at the hip, but that size seems very big on the pattern pieces. The reviews are right. After studying (tape measuring) the pattern pieces, I decided to cut size 10 above the waist and 12 below. My suggestion is – choose the size wisely based on the finished garment measurement and likely on this pattern you need a smaller size than the one suggested on the envelope.

I didn't preshrink the fabric. When I tried the dress as I was sewing, I was thinking it's too big. This is after the wash. It must shrink a lot as I can feel the dress is slightly tighter. Surprisingly it fits better. 
I admit the skirt slit had not been well sewn... 

The construction
I made view A, with short sleeves. I always wanted it fully lined. The instruction only lines the bodice. I had been wondering how to attach the lining to hide all the seam allowance inside. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good solution. I decided to just follow the instructions and attach the skirt lining with slip stitch at the waist joint. It is not ideal but it’s fast and easy. The seams are not that bulking and I can overlock them.

Slip stitch waist seam...

For the sleeve, instead of self fabric as per the instruction, I used the lining fabric for the sleeve lining to reduce the bulk.

I took some photos on constructing the bodice. I find the instruction (Steps 15~22) may be a bit confusing so I hope it helps here.
Sewing the bodice
In conclusion, the style lines and the ruffle detail are well designed. However, the inner structure is horrible – based on the instructions, the skirt is not lined and the fashion fabric is used for the sleeve lining (facing). My problem is:
  •  If I use a medium (to heavy) weight fabric, the neckline and the sleeve seams will be super bulky.
  •  If I use light weight fabric, the skirt won’t hold its shape.

With a bit of modification, the pattern can produce a sophisticated dress. I’m happy to sew it again, with a solid colour fabric like some shade of pink-red. I think that would have a vintage feel too.   

What's next!
I am in the middle of multiple projects of Vogue Patterns and Burda Style Patterns at the moment. Can't wait the get them done and post them here. Follow me on updates! Feel free to leave any comments. 


  1. Your dress looks great. Thanks for the thorough instructions and photos. This has been on my sewing list for quite awhile and your review has led me to move it up on my list. Thank you!

    1. Glad it helps. Would love to see your version soon!

  2. Thank you for the pics and advice about the lining . Your dress is stunning !

  3. I love your version of this pattern and great job with plaid fabric.

    1. Luckily there are not many seams on this dress so the plaid matching is not that hard... Thanks.


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