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Shifting gears

2011 June 26
by elizabeth_admin

I’m almost done with Haley’s birthday dress, but need a different thread color to finish it off.  I had a major gaffe on the dress, but I think I was able to salvage the project.  More on that when the dress is finished.

Right now, I am on the hunt for my next dress pattern.  I checked out a bunch of my patterns last night to see if there was another shift dress that would work for my next fabric, a white cotton eyelet that I will line with a pink or blue cotton batiste.  Again, I chose a shift dress silhouette as I wanted a less fitted look, but I don’t think NL 6022 would work for this fabric mix.  So, enter my first vintage pattern, Butterick 4515.


This pattern was uncut, but since there’s only one size in the envelope and the pattern tissue was in perfect condition, I decided it cut it.  Sacrilege?  I think not.  I am making a muslin and will make all my changes on the muslin itself.  This size is one too big for me as my bust is a 38.  But the style lines of the dress are so simple that I thought I could easily make changes to the dress to fit it to me.  Also, I should point out that I am making this as a sleeveless dress.  This is my first time using French darts too!  I chose this pattern partly on those french darts as Catherine’s favorite dress to make has them as well.  I thought they would give me more shape in the front than NL 6022 which falls straight down from the bust, but not as fitted a shape as a sheath dress like B5147.

I sewed up the muslin this morning.  Here’s a side by side comparison of NL 6022 (on the left) and vintage B 4515 on the right.

front, hands at sides






































So, what do you think?  I think the vintage Butterick is a much more flattering silhouette, don’t you?  But I still wonder, though, if a larger bust requires the more fitted look of a sheath dress rather than the looser fit of a shift dress.

I thought the French darts were so cool!  I have no idea how I would alter them though if I needed a closer fit.  Does anyone know how I would do that?

So, here are the changes I made to the sz 20 B4515 pattern to get it to how it looks now (pics on the right):

  • Used 1 and 1/8 seam allowance on the CB seam
  • Took 3/8 out of CF (I’ll just shift the front pattern piece over 3/8 from the fold when I cut out the real fabric)

What I might change to the final version:

  • Shape the CB seam/zipper a little more (for the muslin, I just sewed up the back completely and was able to shimmy in and out of the dress since it’s shift dress and a little roomy)
  • Take in the side seams a little right by the armscye, maybe 1/4 inch in total
  • I would like to deepen the french dart a little bit for a little more shaping in front, but when I tried to do that on the muslin, I changed how the dress draped and it was awful
    • Would this make it into a sheath dress though?  Maybe I should just leave well enough alone.
  • Raise the hem by about 2.5 inches.  This dress is really long!

So, there you have it.  Vintage Butterick 4515.  It was a pleasure working with her.  What do you think?  Should I bag the shift dress look altogether as I have C cup bust and a tummy?



16 Responses leave one →
  1. June 26, 2011

    The Butterick sheath dress more flattering on you. Looking at your side by side comparison makes me think I need to look for a sheath dress pattern as I have G cup bust, tummy and a butt. I don’t think you should totally give up on the shift dress.

  2. June 26, 2011

    The New Look and Butterick dress are two totally different looks in a dress. Both should be in your wardrobe for different occassions but boy am I loving that Butterick dress on you. What fabric do you have picked out for it?

  3. TheresaG permalink
    June 26, 2011

    The thing that really stands out to me is the neckline. Look at the awkward wide squarish scoop of the NL compared to the more graceful curve of the vintage pattern. The neck of the NL makes the whole dress look boxy.

  4. June 26, 2011

    That is a very shapely dress for you! I think the fit in front is great on the muslin. The back looks good, but a smidge of shaping to the CB seam wouldn’t hurt although really, I don’t know. It is a very flattering shape as it is.

  5. June 26, 2011

    Oh, I like that pattern! Especially the wide, scooped neck. I’m generally on the fence about French darts, but these ones (with the curve) I like. Like Katie I’d want a smidge more shaping at the back, but that may be my own issues ;). I think it’s a much more polished look than the other pattern—not necessarily a poor reflection on the other, just a different image for different occasions.

  6. June 26, 2011

    You have a winner with the Butterick sheath. Very flattering. You could modify the CB or you could just leave it as it is.

  7. June 26, 2011

    I think the Butterick is a very slimming look on you. I think you should go ahead and make it!!

  8. June 26, 2011

    I like the Butterick verion more. The only thing I’d do is slash and spread over bust area a bit. On the side view it looks like you have fabric strain above and below bust. But in general it is a very flattering fit 🙂

  9. June 27, 2011

    The fit on the Butterick is looking good. I have no idea how to adjust French darts though – my French darted pattern came with four different cup sizes so no adjustment was needed. I’ll have to get it out and see what the differences were.

  10. June 27, 2011

    The Butterick is definitely more flattering. I think you look great in sheath dresses, they really do suit you. But, there is room for a few shift dresses too! Everyone needs something cool, comfortable and casual sometimes. This more fitted shift really fits the bill, I think.

  11. June 27, 2011

    Love the shaping of this pattern. Good luck with it.

  12. SusieR permalink*
    June 27, 2011

    Go with the vintage pattern – far more flattering! Looking forward to seeing that fabric combo…

    SIXTY FIVE CENTS!!! Oh, how I remember those days…

    • SusieR permalink*
      June 27, 2011

      Also, will you be slimming down the sleeveless area? Looks like it’s a bit to wide… How d’ya do THAT?

      • elizabeth_admin permalink*
        June 27, 2011

        Hi Susie, The sleeve seam allowance is still there, as I didn’t finish this dress, it being a muslin and all. So the sleeveless area will definitely be slimmer in the final version. 🙂

  13. June 27, 2011

    Definitely the vintage pattern – the side view is very flattering as is the neckline! You know how I personally feel about shifts, so I won’t belabor that point again.

  14. Auntie Allyn permalink
    June 27, 2011

    Oooooh, I do hope you make this dress as I have the same pattern and have wanted to make it for a while. I think it has a lovely shape.

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