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Saturday, November 14, 2015

Chasing the Clouds Away with Butterick 5870



I've been both quite busy lately AND having a wee bit of a sewing slump. I think I've been avoiding the mending that is waiting for me.

On the positive side, I have spent some time sorting and reorganizing my patterns & have started in on my fabric stash...slowly, so as not to overwhelm myself with the excess! My patterns are now sorted by type -- dresses, tops, skirts/bottoms, vintage, and wardrobe patterns. They're also sorted by knit or woven. I've discovered I have way, way more woven patterns than knit, but after filling one box with all my knits I've been overcome with the longing to use them!


Fortunately, I recently saw two knit fabrics side by side on the sale table & picked up a bit of each. And then decided to make up Butterick 5870 using contrasting fabrics.

The main body of the dress is in ponte, and the contrast fabric is an unusual "unknown fibres" knit which has a "Greek Key" type of design woven in. It is very lightweight and slightly see-through, so I was not sure what to use it for until it suddenly became clear that this dress was the place to include it!

B5870, Misses' Dress


This dress (a See & Sew design) doesn't look like much on the pattern cover, made up in unflattering stripes, but the line drawings are gold!

Line Drawing

Noticing the way that the yoke comes up over the shoulder made me want to make this dress with a contrast yoke, to highlight the shoulder detail. Once I'd decided to make the yoke and cowl in contrast, I also added cuffs to finish the sleeves to balance the look. I made View A, but made the bottom of the skirt even, like View B. I am not a hi-lo hem fan.

I cut the pattern itself out and made all the adjustments (shortening the front bodice by 3/4" & back bodice by 1/2", drafting a sleeve cuff, and then measuring the skirt and deciding not to shorten it at all -- watch out, tall girls!) then cut the fabric, all on one night, and finished up the sewing in just a couple of hours over the next two evenings. This is really a straightforward dress, with no really tricky sewing to worry about.


The only thing I'd point out is that the instructions to sew on the cowl might confuse a new sewer, as the illustration shows the collar sewn on and at the "press toward bodice" step. Just sew it on right sides together like a cuff and all is well.

I may still shorten this a bit

As usual, I added side seam pockets. Although some people don't like pockets in knits, this ponte was not all that stretchy, and besides, when I make things without pockets, I end up not wearing them as often as all of my pocketed goods. So pockets were made. I sewed them on, adding seam binding into the initial pocket seams to minimize any stretching. They are smooth and invisible and I love them.

I don't have a coverstitch machine and have never been able to get my hems looking really good on knits. Since this hem would have been so obvious, I was worrying about how to do it well. This was late at night and I wanted to wear it in the morning. Then my husband said, why do you have to sew it? It looks finished and it's the length you want it.  Cue the angels singing....I didn't hem it!! I think it looks pretty good although I did feel a bit unfinished :)

It's a great work dress; warm but not too much so, cheery to wear on dreary November days, and it is modest enough to lean down to child level without flashing anyone ;)


I was surprised by how much I like the fit on this one. I didn't do too many adjustments other than cutting the shoulder/neck at 14 and grading to 16 by the waist seam. The ponte is so soft and comfortable, but I did have to mark the wrong side with chalk X's while sewing since it was indistinguishable at a quick look but has a couple of flaws on the wrong side that I didn't want on the outside. Other than that, it went together like a dream. This pattern has an interesting shoulder line, and has small gathers at the shoulder and the back yoke seams. I think it makes it a really nice dress with just that something extra.

wee gathers on the shoulders
more gathers on the back

I enjoyed making and wearing this one, and do recommend this pattern, the very first See & Sew I've ever made from my collection.

Cowl from the side. Wondering what to make next...