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Butterick patterns

  • Mother-Of-The-Graduate Dress

    As all parents know, the holy grail of big family events is to make or wear something that is not "too embarrassing" to one's offspring. This simple sheath in a slightly stretchy, slightly shiny cotton fit the bill for my daughter's college graduation. SunnyGal Beth helped me fit Butterick 5602 during my day with her in April. 

    I learned two important things while making this dress: (1) I don't always need a full-bust adjustment -- sometimes I just need to lower the bust darts.  (2) Beth has a trick for altering vertical darts to accommodate a tummy.

    During my day at her studio, Beth shared her method of altering fish-eye vertical darts: she marks the vertical quarters of the dart, and moves the fullest part of the dart from the half-way mark to the upper quarter mark. This simple shape shift creates more room for the waist and what I call the "under waist." My belly is fullest at the "under waist" mark. I have yet to learn how to demonstrate things on the computer, so here are my hand-drawn instructions:

    Super clear illustration of how to alter vertical darts to accommodate a tummy -- just move the widest part of the dart to the under bust area. Super clear illustration of how to alter vertical darts to accommodate a tummy -- just move the widest part of the dart to the under bust area.

    Close-up of the front. Tummy, what tummy? Photo by Andrea Jones. Close-up of the front. Tummy, what tummy? Photo by Andrea Jones.

    The front from farther back. The vertical dart technique makes for room for great post-graduation dinners! Photo by Andrea Jones. The front from farther back. The vertical dart technique makes for room for great post-graduation dinners! Photo by Andrea Jones.

    Back view. Please do admire the stripe matching! The green zipper adds a little whimsy. Photo by Andrea Jones. Back view. Please do admire the stripe matching! The green zipper adds a little whimsy. Photo by Andrea Jones.

  • Sunny Gal Studio

    Yesterday I had the pleasure of spending the entire day with Beth of Sunny Gal Studio. I have been looking at her beautiful clothes for a couple of years, and I was excited to see she teaches in her home. She lives 15 minutes from my Dad, so visiting him was a perfect excuse to learn more about sewing and fitting. I wanted help making a dress for my daughter Charlotte's college graduation in May. My original idea was to make the Truffle dress from the Colette Handbook. I took the liberty of doing a full-bust-adjustment on the tissue before making a muslin to bring to Beth's studio. Beth and I fiddled with the muslin and the pattern for a few hours before giving up. I'm not sure if my FBA messed up the pattern, or if the pattern just didn't work for me. After a delicious lunch, Beth pulled out a Butterick 5602 from her stash of patterns. It is a simple sheath dress with great lines and optional pockets. We traced it onto tissue paper and made a muslin. The most surprising thing I learned was that I don't need a full bust adjustment. My full bust is only 1.5 inches bigger than my high bust. We lowered the bust dart and made a muslin. The neckline gaped a bit, and the upper back was pooling a bit, so Beth made some tucks in the fabric, which we transferred to the tissue. Now I'm ready to make a great fitting sheath dress. If you live in the Bay Area and want to give yourself a wonderful gift, spend the day with Beth.

    Beth pondering the changes to the Truffle muslin. Beth pondering the changes to the Truffle muslin.

    Front of the sheath dress with neckline tweaks. Front of the sheath dress with neckline tweaks.

    Back of the sheath dress with pooling pinched out. Back of the sheath dress with pooling pinched out.

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