Thursday, September 8, 2016

Butterick 5998 Dangerous Curves Ahead

This is Butterick 5998, a sheath dress with "dual princess seam detail."  That's what the Butterick website says.  I guess it really is the case.  These are some highly exaggerated princess seams, though.  But that's what drew me to the pattern in the first place.

This is what the pattern envelope looks like.  It's a sheath dress designed for woven fabric.  The envelope suggests crepe, linen, or brocade.  It's also meant to be underlined and lined.
 I knew when I first saw this pattern that it wanted to be a ponte knit dress.  I also knew I would be making a color blocked version.  Why sew those fabulous dual princess seams if you're not going to show them off?

My fabrics are two of the last purchases I made at Hancock Fabrics before they closed for good.  (Boy, do I miss Hancock's.)  Ponte is the perfect fabric for this pattern.  You don't have to line or underline and those curvy seams were a snap to sew since the fabric has plenty of give to it.

The back of the dress has simple shoulder princess seams.  I omitted the zipper that the pattern calls for since I used a knit.

I cut a size 14 through the shoulders and a 16 from the bust down.  I added 2" of length at the waist and an additional 2" to the length of the skirt.  I also shortened the sleeves by 2".  These are my standard size and adjustments.  I really could have started with the next smallest size since I used a knit, but I was afraid.  I didn't want the dress to end up too snug.  This could easily go "Kardashian" if it was too tight.  (And that's not a good thing.)  But I did end up taking the dress in approximately 3/8" at each back princess seam from the shoulder blades down to the hip, and I took the CB seam in another 3/8'" all the way down.  The waist is still loose, but it's okay.  I wanted body skimming, not body con.

The neckline as drafted seamed very wide and didn't look like it would cover my bra straps so I added 1" to it all the way around to bring it in.  I drafted a facing to finish it off by taping the adjusted pattern pieces together and tracing the new neckline.  When I attached the facing I only used a 3/8" seam allowance so essentially I added 1 1/4" to the neckline all the way around.  It still just barely covers my bra straps.  It looks fine, but it's definitely something to look at if you plan to make this.

My favorite part of this project was the curvy princess seams.  I really enjoyed sewing them.  They were challenging enough to make them interesting, but easy enough to do in the ponte that they didn't frustrate me at all.  I stay stitched and clipped just like I would have done with a woven fabric and then pressed well.  I think they turned out pretty awesome.  I'm also pretty tickled that I was able to maintain the curves at the waist even though I added 2".  I slashed and spread the pattern like I normally do, but I pretty much had to free-hand the new cutting lines to keep the integrity of the curves.

Since I used a knit and didn't line the dress, I serged all the seams to finish them off nicely inside.  The facing worked out well for the neckline.  I interfaced it because I've found that really helps to keep it nice and flat once it's pressed to the inside.  I also hand tacked it down at all the section seams.

Even with all the length I added to the pattern I still had barely 3/4" to turn up at the hem to get it to hit at the knee.  If I make this again I will add another 1" to 1.5" to make a deeper hem.  In any case, I finished the sleeves and the hem by hand.

I love this dress.  It's already been worn to work and passed the road test.  It's very comfortable and the ponte fabric, as well as the long sleeves, are perfect for my chilly office.  I can totally see myself making this again, although not right away.  I might try it again for spring in the short sleeve version, maybe with a print and a solid.  In the meantime this is the perfect dress for fall.  Now if we could just get some fall weather...