Here at The Confident Stitch, one of our goals is to show you a variety of fabrics sewn into a variety of garments for a variety of bodies. Sounds simple, right? Bonnie, our professional seamstress, can sew anything we throw at her. We have a couple thousand bolts of fabric and hundreds of patterns. Just pick a pattern and a fabric, take a few measurements, and you’re good to go!
But, sewing for a business is not quite the same as personal sewing.
Perhaps we want to make something for our upcoming swatch service, or, maybe, we want to showcase a beautifully drafted but underappreciated pattern. And then there’s the current season to consider. Plus, when Bonnie is sewing for someone else, that person’s feelings and tastes come into play.
Anyone who has children knows that too many options leads to decision-fatigue. When my kids were small, the key to getting out of the house was simple choices: the blue shirt or the red shirt; one ponytail, or two ponytails. End of list. A friend of mine, who is one of eleven children, had the option to wear a pillowcase with eye holes, or an old suit jacket of her father’s for Halloween. Those were her only choices for every Halloween of her entire childhood!
Adults also experience decision-fatigue. Have you tried to buy a new appliance recently? There are so many prices and options and review websites and payment plans! Ack!
Two Steps Forward
The decision-making process for this dress was a little like buying a new appliance. One of our colleagues wanted the Extra Sharp Pencil Skirt out of the Cady Stretch Suiting in Multi-Colored Floral with contrasting panels in the Cady Stretch Suiting in Royal Blue to wear to a wedding this summer (the wedding has since been postponed), and we were happy to oblige.
However, as we began to build the Summer 2020 Swatch Collection, the aforementioned Multi-Colored Cady stood out to us. The bright floral design was ideal for our Warm Tones collection. After much contemplation and discussion, we decided that the Butterick 6051 maxi dress pattern (which we had an abundance of) would do a better job showcasing the fabric than would the pencil skirt.
No sooner had this been decided than the next problem made itself know. The Butterick 6051 calls for jersey knit, and while the Cady is not without stretch, (15% lengthwise, 10% crosswise) it’s certainly not drape-y or extra stretchy like a conventional jersey. So the new question became, do we take the chance and make this pattern using a slightly unconventional fabric? With Bonnie, expert seamstress, at our disposal, we decided it was worth a shot.
Making Of The Butterick 6051 Dress
Bonnie spent time situating the pattern pieces to best showcase the gorgeous floral, and then sewed the dress. Her main challenge was negotiating instructions that were written for a lighter knit rather than a mid-weight woven. But, the overall garment was still a success. It doesn’t swish and swoop as a knit would, but the Cady’s structure gives the garment a certain dignity. What’s more the elastic waist and loose drafting/gathering in the bodice and hips made using a woven with some stretch an acceptable decision.
The co-worker for whom this was made, is petite in stature, and Bonnie had to take the waist in 4″. However, because this pattern/fabric combo is rather unconventional, those choosing to emulate this project should size-up up to compensate for the Cady’s lack of stretch.
While, in general, Bonnie liked this pattern for it’s variety of view and length options she did have a little trouble understanding the instructions and illustrations regarding the elastic placement at the waistband. So – to make things simple – she just sewed the elastic to the waistline seam allowance.
The 'Right' Choice
As you can see, the dress turned out beautifully. It is on display in the front window of the shop, and passersby frequently ask if it is for sale. Bonnie liked the pattern and the fabric but noted that, for a less experienced sewer, the two together may not be the best option.
Many of our knits would be great for this pattern, and a jacket, like The Sewing Workshop Brando, would pair well with the floral suiting fabric. Personally, the idea of a tough motorcycle jacket out of this gorgeous floral makes me swoon!
All's Well That Ends Well
An unconventional choice is sometimes the right choice, and sometimes, just making a choice is the right choice! The great Cady/Butterick 6051 experiment was not without its missteps, but the finished garment really is a thing of beauty.