Thursday, April 18, 2013

Butterick 5881 Katherine Tilton dress - Into the unknown


This is going to be my favorite of all patterns in the spring 2013 collections! But getting here was not an easy journey. This is Butterick 5881, a layered, multi-piece dress by Katherine Tilton. I looked everywhere for examples of the dress, because the envelope pics leave much to the imagination. What is up with the hem(s)? What is meant by a split seam? Is that center back really off center or am I looking too hard?

I Googled all over the web, and all I found were pics from the pattern envelope. Not even Tilton has  sewn and shared a version with us. So here we go - Butterick 5881!

Butterick has labelled this as an Easy pattern. Ummmm. It has 19 pieces and includes a lapped front placket, underdress with reversed seaming, applied elastic gathers, bound neckline, and pieced overdress. It is not hard...but I really don't think it's easy as in a beginner sewist will have an easy time with it!

I really like all the pieces but wanted to understand the pattern. So I decided to reconstruct the dress. I spent an entire day putting the pattern pieces together and tracing a simplified version of the dress. 

Underdress with attached skirt


Black poly/cotton broadcloth from Holly Lobby - very lightweight and smooth
Overdress with placket and back gathers (more on both below)



Fuji Afternoon Umbrellas - JoAnn Fabrics Keepsake Calico
Robert Kaufman Spot On Brown Mini Dots - Pink Chalk Fabrics




I used a faux front placket in the contrast fabric, in place of the lapped placket. I'll continue to do this - I would rather sew a bound buttonhole than do a lapped placket!







I also used the contrast fabric to form a casing for the back elastic, which I elongated by 1/2" and centered. And I only used 3 pieces of elastic, instead of 4.  
I was not at all sure about the length of this dress - underdress or overdress! The pattern was not much help. It does not have lengthen/shorten lines. 

OK, so I'm a bit over 5' 7". On the assumption that the pattern is made for someone 5'5" - 5'6" tall, I added 2" to the overdress, just below the line of the placket, front and back. And 2" to the skirt of the underdress, just below its upper edge. I purposely did not add length at the hemlines, because I did not want to add width there and throw off the lines of the dress.


Turned out well! The overdress is perfect, with a 1" hem. I ended up taking 2" off the underdress - go figure! - and again put in a 1" hem. It's not long by any means, maybe a little shorter than some of my dresses. But the dip in the right side makes it seem a little longer. I really like it - so much I twirled!




Whew! Dizzy...


All the leaves are from the mahogany trees, which switch out their foliage in April for a new outfit :-) 


I really really like this dress - so much that I have 6, yes, 6 pieces of linen blend coming into the loft in interesting (no, not pastel!) colors, so that I can sew a couple multi-piece versions. And I want to do at least 2 more in print/contrast versions. Love doing that.

Ciao! Coco

28 comments:

  1. I bow to you. Seriously. Way to forge the trail for the rest of us, over and above the call of duty! If I were more of a dress person I'd be all over this; as it is, I think I'll (probably) just admire yours from afar - you wear it fabulously!

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    1. Jilly, thank you so much! It was kind of fun to be the first one to try it :-) even though it looks nothing like the envelope!

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  2. That is sweet! Great for a hot, humid day. I like dresses in hot weather because they do seem more comfortable than pants of any kind.

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    1. Thanks, Gwen. I agree - when it's humid and hot, less is better!

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  3. I like your interpretation - it's fun and flirty!

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  4. So wonderful! Can't wait to try this one.

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    1. I'm eager to see your version! Your work with multi-piece patterns is so beautiful.

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  5. What an interesting dress... It looks like a quirky version of a Victorian pinafore..

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  6. That looks wonderful and you can sew how much you like it, enjoy wearing it.

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    1. Thank you, Pauline. You are on my mind so much these days, hang in there!

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  7. Love what you did with the dress Coco!

    It looks great on you (fun twirling). I especially like the personal touches like putting the elastic in contrast casing. Spot on!

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    1. Thanks, Katherine. It's been fun, and my linen fabrics came in on Saturday. All laundered and looking at me. The blocked version will be next.

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  8. Thanks, Coco, for demystifying this pattern for me! I'm eager to see your color block version!

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  9. I've pulled out fabric for this pattern a couple of times. I even cut the under dress from and old bedsheet to test the sizing. Still haven't settled on fabric. In thinking this thru, I had decided to sew on a faux front placket as you have done. I knew I wouldn't need it to be functional to be able to get the dress on, so why go to the trouble (and headache). Love how yours came out. I will eventually decide and on some fabric and proceed. Thanks for giving us this review!

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    1. Linda, thanks and you're welcome. So looking forward to seeing yours. BTW, I use old sheets for muslins as well - and as underlinings on totes and bags :-)

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  10. i love it! You know, I put this patetrn in the buggy last week and thought- this will be my summer 'Coco dress'!

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    1. You're so good to me, Anne! Don't you think my version has a little bit of Sui? If you squint...

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  11. You will make this dress your own with your perfect fabric selections and cutting. I've never noticed this pattern before, thanks for the heads up. You look great (as always)

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  12. I really like this dress! And I'll be watching for your color-blocked versions....look forward to seeing those.

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  13. You know...I am going to change my plans for this dress and use colors! I love the fun colors of your "wearable muslin". Really nice Coco.

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    1. Thank you, Mary. Can't wait to see yours, I think this style will look great on you.

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  14. This pattern is absolutely gorgeous. I just adore that colourblocking, and your version is lovely!

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    1. Thanks, Carolyn. It was fun to mess around with the pattern, I'm looking forward to doing it some more!

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  15. That is one of the most adorable patterns I've ever seen! And I never noticed it until seeing your version, Coco. What a great palette for trying out different fabric and color combos. Totally in love with this dress.

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    1. Lynne, thanks so much! I'm really looking forward to seeing what other sewists do with this as well, it's fun to have a new pattern out there.

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I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco