To be honest it was completed a month ago. I rushed to finish it, cause I wanted something nice to wear at my niece’s christening. I had this pattern in the waiting list for a while and just wanted an excuse to make something that I would wear only 2-3 times each year. And I had this fabulous Japanese textured cotton fabric, my friend Miwa send me. It was whispering to me in my sleep: I want to be a retro dress. Oh, well, ok then:
Here’s the Butterick Retro 1952 Wrap Dress, made at the biggest available size of 22.
Review or things to keep in mind if you ever decide to diy:
I was expecting it would be an easy-peasy pattern as advertised. It is, if you have the perfect silhouette of the sewing dummy. If not, you have to take extra care to move around the darts to fit you. This garment bases its fit on the darts and also on the right front closure of the back piece. If you get these correct, you’re finished. So don’t go and chop your expensive fabric right away. Use an old sheet and try placing darts and playing a bit with the arm opening to find the correct fit for your body. I found out I had to chop the arm opening a bit because my torso size is rather small compared to my bust size. Then I found out that in order to create a nice fit at the waist the back piece has to button tightly on the front. This way the waist forms nice, the arm opening closes (and your bra won’t show up, important right?) and the dress won’t pull at the back by its weight, when you move. And since I said move, here is the biggest problem of this garment. It’s obviously made for “retro” women who would go out for a drink or a dance, stand straight and avoid any other major body movement. The garment assumes that, if your handbag falls down a nice gentleman will bend and give it to you. Cause if you do it by yourself the front part of your dress will raise and not come back in its place, because the full and heavy back part will not allow it. You have to use your hands for it. So unless your fabric is silky and very slippery, be prepared for the fact.
For closure on the back I used hooks and eyes and for the front snaps camouflaged with buttons. The biggest challenge of the dress is draft the back piece’s underarms right to fit your body. Or else they will look saggy. Other than that, it is easy and comfy to wear and does the nice full skirt effect that makes you feel oh-so-retro. Don’t be fooled by “cutting the fabric at the morning, wear it by night”. Be prepared: it needs a lot of time to do the hemming and sew the bias tape on it.
I also like the way the floral pattern is place in the top and bottom pieces. It was pure luck cause I didn’t have enough of it to fool around.
PS- I will mention that during the time I was struggling with placing the darts for the 5th!!! time, I got up shaking the unfinished dress above my head, announcing to my boyfriend that it was the last try. If I didn’t succeed I would chop the top and make the rest a nice and full A-skirt. I’m glad I didn’t do it… so i’ll take a spin!