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Retro Butterick '53 B5708 - Shoulder Tie Dress

My finished Butterick 5708 vintage dress!

As soon as I saw this vintage Butterick pattern I knew I needed it! I love the tie shoulders and the multiple styling options displayed on the front of the packet. It's also something totally different to anything I already have in my wardrobe or in my pattern stash. I wanted to create a striking vintage style dress perfect for special occasions, sunny walks along the river and general Summer-time frolicking! I also thought this would be a fabulous edition for my Vintage Pledge 2016!

I love the Retro Butterick pattern range, in my dreams I own them all. I've previously reviewed the infamous Butterick 4790, otherwise know as the walkaway dress, and hoped the Butterick 5708 pattern would be equally as straight forward.

Here's a peek at the pattern:

Has there ever been such a versatile dress?

I hadn't read any online reviews before I bought the pattern, and it wasn't until the day before I thought I'd start sewing before I had a Google. I seemed to have chosen yet another controversial vintage Butterick pattern!

Beautiful sewing supplies from the online haberdashery Weaver Dee

Yet again, the sizing & fit seemed to annoy a lot of sewists. Issues with the bust and shoulder ties came up a lot on other blogs, with people saying they couldn't get the ties to sit nicely, or they created to much drape at the neck line and the back view was unflattering. People also said the skirt was very heavily gathered, which may not be to some people's taste, but it's a look I love. Overall, it seemed like the Butterick 5708 dress was on nobody's 'make again' list.

Feeling a little daunted by all these bad reviews, I knew I still loved the style of dress and my fabric is beautiful so I just hoped the outcome would still create a pretty and wearable dress! Luckily, I'm very happy with the result. So you might even be able to count this as the first positive review for this pattern!

The dress is classic 1950s style, and combined with this Rose & Hubble floral print cotton poplin, it has some serious vintage garden party vibes!

This dress requires victory rolls!

Initially, I hadn't planned to make a petticoat to wear underneath. I have a store bought one which I thought I'd try it with, but I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to make my own! I had a look a few tutorials online, but some were quite fussy, tacky and some seemed quite time consuming and expensive. So I studied a few pictures online of true vintage styles and decided to guess my way through making my own.

Like candyfloss!

I'm really happy with my first attempt at making a tulle petticoat. I asked over on Instagram & Twitter if anybody would like a short tutorial on how made mine, so I will be doing that on my blog at a later date! So stay tuned...

My own take on a vintage petticoat.

I think the dress is destined to be worn with a petticoat to show off all the fabric in that gathered skirt. It just really adds to the vintage style. It makes it so swishy and fun to wear, and adds just the right amount of volume without looking too fancy dress. I won't go in to too much detail on my petticoat as I will be doing a separate post all about it!

The dress was rather straight forward to sew. As I've been sewing a few lined dresses recently and been sewing lots of invisible zips, I'm starting to feel pretty confident with my understanding of construction.

A couple of areas I found tricky, was unfortunately, the very first step.... The bodice comes to a point at the center front & back and has two panels at the waist the make the bodice straight. You have to sew the waist band pieces to the bodice and pivot at the point. It felt like I tried 1000 times, and I could just not get a sharp finish. In the end I was very frustrated and just did the best I could.

In terms of fit, because I'm an impatience sewer, I didn't make a bodice toile (I know, I know...) and just went straight in. I found the bodice too long in the body. Which didn't seem to be an issue for other people, so that might just be my proportions. The dress looks odd if I pull the bodice down completely as the waist sits almost at my hips - not flattering! But I found if I hoick it up and put a belt on, you really can't tell. Perhaps if my fabric were plain, it would be obvious, but I think I can get away with it!

On the front of the pattern packet, the dress is tied in 4 different ways. My preference is just off the shoulders. It feels secure and I think it is the most flattering on me. Also they don't fall down or feel tight, which other people commented on, so maybe it's just in the way you tie it.

1. Off the shoulder (my personal preference):

2. Asymmetric - creates under arm bulk, but if you tie in a knot once and use a saftey pin, the look is much more comfortable.

3. Strapless - no, no, no , no

4. Pulled up over shoulders - this I like. It does create drape at the neckline and when I looked down all I could see was down my top. But it looks nice in the photograph!

Sewing Summary:

Retro Butterick '53 B5708 - Weaver Dee

Fabric: 4m of Rose & Hubble Cotton Poplin - £7.49pm - Weaver Dee

Notions: 16" Pink Concealed Zip - £1.10 - Weaver Dee

Sewing time: Most of one day (not including petticoat)

Modifications: None

Fit: Okay. Too long in the body for my proportions, but otherwise I'm very happy with the fit.

Difficulty: Pretty simple, but will need coffee!

Watch out for: The waist/bodice construction, I could not get that center front/back point perfect for the life of me. Also the skirt is VERY gathered, so just take extra care when sewing so you don't get caught up in all that fabric.

Make again?: Yes! I love the style of this dress. I think it's super flattering and the fabric I chose is perfect for it. If I were to make it again, I would definitely fit the bodice on myself with a mock up to adjust the length. Or perhaps just make a straight waist band instead of the point. Either way, I love the shoulder ties and full skirt.

Overall I am in love with my new dress! It just proves you can't always take reviews you see online and discard a make because of it. I'm not giving up on the retro Butterick patterns just yet! And remember, I will be doing a tutorial on how I made my petticoat so don't forget to follow via Bloglovin etc so you don't miss out.

Get this dreamy vintage look for yourself at the fabulous online haberdashery Weaver Dee!

Thanks for reading, pinups. I hope you enjoyed this super retro sewing post!

The pattern, fabric and notions were my choices supplied to me free of charge by Weaver Dee. But all thoughts & opinions are my own.
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Tilly and the Buttons - Mimi Blouse & Delphine Skirt

I bought Tilly and the Button's fabulous first book 'Love at First Stitch' when it first came out a couple of years ago. But it's only recently that I've been getting back in to making my own clothes. In a couple of my previous blog posts, I mentioned that I was looking to make a few more 'everyday' clothes and I knew these patterns would be perfect for my wardrobe.

I really recommend Tilly's book for fellow sewists. The book is great if you're just starting out, because she includes really helpful guides on all the dress making techniques you'll need to use. But the patterns are fashionable and varied enough to tempt experienced sewists too. The book also shows some really awesome variations for the patterns, so there are plenty of ways to make the clothes unique to you and utilize all your new and old sewing skills!

Here's a peek at Tilly's versions of the Mimi Blouse and Delphine skirt from the book:

As I made both of these garments over a couple of days, I thought I'd shoot them together and do a little bumper 'Love at First Stitch' post instead of two separate ones. Plus I love the outfit!

I made the Delphine skirt in a heavy weight denim fabric in my favourite shade. I wanted a skirt that would go with anything and be great for colder weather as well as Spring. Initially I was going to line the skirt with the pink fabric you can see in the above photo, but I decided the denim didn't really need it and didn't want to over complicate it just yet.

The Mimi blouse wasn't a planned make, but I when I was tidying my fabric stash, I found just enough of the navy and white polka dot cotton I had bought a while back for a dress that I had made. Plus everything is good in polka dots! I thought I'd add a pop of colour with self covered buttons with some other cotton I had recently bought to line another dress. Lots of utilizing went in to this make!

I love the collar on the blouse and the neckline is really flattering. I did change the sleeves when I was sewing as I found them a little fussy. I decided to keep them simple and just hem them instead of inserting the facing and darts. (I did one sleeve to the instructions but didn't like it when I tried it on, so out the unpicker came!) But that's all just personal preference. I also like rolled up sleeves, so might try wearing it with them folded up.

This was my first time sewing button holes and making self covered buttons. Both things are so easy to do, I'll definitely be using the techniques again in the future.

The skirt is a great addition to my everyday wardrobe. I just love the denim I bought! However, I need more hip room if I want to skirt to have the appearance Tilly's has in the book. The skirt fits great around my waist, but is fitted on my hips which weren't the intentions of this pattern! But that's all my own fault. Next time I'll cut the size larger, or re-draw the pattern with extra hip room. But I still like the shape and will enjoy wearing it.

I'm super happy with my new makes and I like how they look together too. Overall the patterns, as all Tilly's are, are easy to follow with clear instructions & beautiful photos. To round things up, I've done a little 'sewing summary' for a quick review with details on where I bought my fabric etc. Something I'll be doing from now on for all my 'Pattern Review' posts. I hope you find it useful.

Sewing Summary

Mimi Blouse:

Fabric: Poly Cotton I found in my stash. From my local haberdashery Watson & Thornton
Sewing time: A couple of hours/ an afternoon.Modifications: I kept the sleeves loose and hemmed.Fit: Okay. Slightly tight on the bust and maybe too loose on the waist. Nothing that makes the blouse un-wearable, just something to tweak next time.Difficulty: Pretty simpleWatch out for: Collar construction (if it's your first time sewing a collar this might be a bit tricky) and button holes.Make again?: Yes! It's a fab little blouse, great for everyday wear. I'd love to make it in a softer fabric and try a contrasting collar.
Delphine Skirt:Fabric: Heavy Cotton Denim 14oz - £6.99 pm - Remnant HouseNotions: 22" Invisible Zip in Navy - £1.50 - Remnant HouseSewing time: 1 hourModifications: I didn't use interfacing on the waist band as my fabric was so heavy.Fit: I don't love the fit. I cut out the size 3, which fits fine on my waist but I need the hip room a size 4 would of given me. Difficulty: Easy-peasyWatch out for: Concealed zips (I'm still working on perfecting this) & change the needle for sewing with denim. I switched my needle to a 'Jeans' needle.
Do you own 'Love at First Stitch'? What are your favourite patterns from it? I've made two of the 'Lilou' dresses (post to come), and love the pattern. Also the 'Margot' pj bottoms are high up on my sewing list!Get the book:

I hope you enjoyed my new 'sewing summary' section.
Thanks for reading, pinups! 
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Vintage Sewing Inspiration #2: 1950s Summer Dresses

As soon as the sun comes out, I'm dreaming of 1950s summer dresses. The full skirts, the beautiful bold prints and the fine details that make each dress feel so unique. I'm working on my own vintage inspired Summer dress pattern at the moment. I'm combining a couple of patterns to create a fabulous retro dress for everyday wear. It won't be anything too fancy, just a lovely retro dress for running errands and sipping white wine spritzers in the garden!

So here I've put together some of my favourite 1950s vintage dresses I've found on Pinterest. Combined with my vintage style fabric picks from online haberdashery Weaver Dee (not a sponsored post). Enjoy!

When you think of vintage Summer dresses, floral is a must! Whether its big bold prints and blooms or small ditsy prints, you can't go wrong! I also love these classic shapes, with a simple bodice top and full gathered skirt. Much like the dress I'm designing for myself.

II'm still trying to find the perfect stripe for me, but how lovely are these? I'm in love with the stripe fabric in the main image and look at that collar - it's the dress of vintage dreams! Those colours are amazing together, now nothing else will do until I find a fabric dupe. If you know of one, point me in the right direction please!

I believe everything should be made in polka dots. It's such a fun, simple and classic print, it really does work for everything! I love the multi coloured mini spot fabric, But classic red and white or black and white are already in my fabric stash!

If you enjoyed this post then you need to follow my Vintage Dresses board on Pinterest. I'm constantly updating it with my latest online vintage finds.What are you favourite 1950s style dress patterns? I need more in my life!

Thanks for reading, pinups.

P.S. It's Weaver Dee's birthday this month and you can get 15% off until the end of the month. The perfect excuse to start your Summer dress! Code: BIRTHDAY
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Simplicity 1613 - The 'Bardot' Top

My finished Simplicity 1613 'Bardot' Top.

I spotted this pattern by chance whilst (dangerously) browsing online and I knew I had to have it. Like I've said in a couple of my previous posts, I'm trying to sew more wearable everyday items and I'm loving the popular 1960s style 'Bardot' style tops that are knocking around the shops right now. Which seem to be defined by jersey fabric with an off the shoulder style.

I knew the red and white polka dot jersey I picked up on my recent visit to Textile Express would be perfect for my top and would be a great way for me to break out from my navy & black comfort zone!

I don't have much experience sewing with jersey, so I did a little research on the subject so I know I'd be making a top that would last. I learnt a lot! I sewed all the seams with a mini stretch zip zag stitch and overlocked all my seams, ensuring my stitching would allow the jersey to stretch to fit without pulling the seams or puckering the stitching. I also did all my top stitching with the same mini zig zag.

Here's a peek at the pattern:

I don't like the t shirt versions with the neckline twist, but I knew I could make options D and E work for me. When I looked online for some reviews on the pattern it seemed, that options D and E were the most popular. Like a few other sewists, I decided to sew option D but leave out the little shoulder straps. I think removing them in-keeps with the retro style this top has, keeps it simple, and luckily it didn't effect the overall fit.

I did read a few comments about the top band not sitting right or riding up. But I really haven't found it as taxing as it seemed for others. I used a soft fold over elastic for a comfortable fit and didn't adjust the depth of the panel. Of course, if I wanted to wave my arms above my head, the band would roll up, but realistically I don't see it annoying me too much. Initially, I did a couple of concealed stitches to hold the band down, but I found it made the jersey want to roll up even more and I fiddled with it more than I did without them. So I removed them again and left the top to sit how it wanted.

Close up of the mini zig zag top stitch.

Like I previously said, I did all my top stitching with a mini zig zag stitch, common on most machines, I think this stitching has given my top a really professional finish and I'm so happy with how it looks. 

The instructions were very easy to follow with useful illustrations, and in total the top only took me about an hour to knock up - my kind of sewing! One thing that I got confused with, yet again, was the sizing. The pattern is in American sizing, which I didn't realise, and I bought the 4 - 12 sized pattern. When I read the measurements, the size 12 seems like a UK 8. To rectify this, I just added 1cm around all the pattern pieces where a garment would normally be graded. However, I think I could of gotten away with cutting out the American size 12, as the top isn't as fitted as I would like it to be. But looking at the photos on the pattern, I think it was intended to be looser fitting. So next time I make this top again (because I love it) I'll cut out the standard 12.

Styled with my Hell Bunny circle skirt & western Boohoo belt.

Overall, I am in love with this top pattern. It's just what I wanted and it will be a fabulous edition for my everyday wardrobe. I'd also love to add a skirt the top pattern and make a sassy off the shoulder circle dress. And jersey is so easy to wear and surprisingly fun to sew with, I certainly see lots of versions of this top in my sewing horizon!

Get the pattern:

Have you tried this pattern? Are there any other 'Bardot' style sewing patterns I need to know about? Let me know!

Thanks for reading, pinups.

This post contains affiliate links.
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Simple Sew for Love Sewing Magazine - The Pussy Bow Blouse

My finished Simple Sew Pussy Bow Blouse.

When I saw that this Simple Sew pattern made exclusively for Love Sewing Magazine was going to be given away with their May issue, I knew I'd be buying it! It's not a pattern I think I would usually pick, just because I'm normally lured in by 50s & 60s styles. But when I saw this slinky looking pussy bow dress and blouse pattern, images of Joan Holloway sassing around the office in Mad Men filled my head. And that was it, it was mine!

I decided to make the blouse version out of this gorgeous swallow print cotton poplin. I'm trying to make a few more 'wearable' items for my everyday wardrobe, along with putting a short ban on making smart or overly Summery dresses for now. I thought this blouse would look great with my black skinny jeans or with a figure hugging pencil skirt. It's also very different from anything I already own, so I was excited to make mine and style it up.

Serving 'Air-hostess realness'

The pattern comes with an instruction page, simply and clearly laid out with good illustrations. I found the sewing process and instructions easy to follow. The only thing I had trouble with was attaching the collar/tie. I couldn't make sense of the text and I had to unpick my first attempt. However, once I figured it out (with some consultation from my Mum) I felt stupid for making such a simple step drag out!

Here's a peek at the magazine:

How could you resist this pattern?

I would like to point out, in the instructions on step 4 where you sew the tie to the blouse, it says you can find picture tutorials on the Simple Sew website for this step. However I looked endlessly and could find nothing. So, let me know if you do! They would of really helped me out at the time.

Another step I found tricky was inserting the side zip. But that's totally my issue and a skill I'm trying to improve on! It went better than my first attempt for my Tilly and the Buttons 'Martha' dress. I'm hoping the next time I insert an invisible zip, there'll be no unpicking at all!

I do love the fit of this blouse and I think its a great pattern. However, if I were to make this pattern again, I would lower the neck line as I think it's a little too high for me, along with the bow tied it just makes me feel a little top heavy. I'd also make the tie longer as I found it hard to tie the cotton poplin nicely, even with a drape fabric, the tie still isn't long enough for my liking and I think it would give the blouse a little more versatility.

Overall, I'm very happy with this addition to my little handmade wardrobe. I probably spent about 3 hours on it, including ironing time, tea sipping and sewing tie confusion. If I made it again, I think I could make it under 2 hours. It's the first top I've made and I think I'll get a lot of wear out of it in the future. I'm probably more likely to style it with my black skinny jeans as I don't have an office to sass around in front of Don Draper in. But I'll enjoy it all the same!

I styled the Simple Sew pussy bow blouse with a red Laura Ashley pencil skirt worn with my black & red jive seamed stockings and black 6 strap suspender belt from My Retro Closet.

Did you pick up May's special birthday issue of Love Sewing Magazine? Have you made any Simple Sew patterns?

Thanks for reading, pinups.

P.S. Don't forget to check out my Me Made May 2016 pledge!
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