Butterick, Dress, Me-Made Wardrobe, Notebook of a Beginner Sewist, Sewing

Notebook of a Beginner Sewist 15: 1961

Bonjour! Anyone out there by chance? If so, how’ve you been? Are you having a heatwave, a cold snap, or some hurricane in your neck of the woods?

The Preliminaries

To Go or To Not Go?

I don’t know about you, but ever since Covid hit, I feel like I’ve become more of a turtle where I keep to myself and withdraw into my shell. When we lived up in the city, I was social and on fleek with my outfits and make up. When we moved here, I grew lazy in those areas. Now that I’m am slowly ambling along to a me-made wardrobe, I find that I dislike going out because I feel like my closet contents are boringly redundant and some of the time, just shit.

So when I had to decide and/or see if the husband and I were going to attend my classmate’s wedding, it was stressful. I wanted to go, but to think of having to socialize and figuring out my attire from head to toe wasn’t fun.

The two of us also had to figure out what to do about our daughters. Pre-Covid, they were first invited and then it became just adults for nonfamily. Furthermore, I didn’t know if the Senior would get a job; who knows how her work schedule would be like. In addition E and I questioned, can they be left alone for that many hours or maybe the neighbor could check up on them? Luckily, my parents offered to have them spend the night, so I decided we should go, to go live in the moment, especially because my friend was always good about keeping in touch and being there when I needed a shoulder to lean on.

What to Wear?

The husband and I don’t go out very often, especially to events where we’d have to dress up. I looked for hours on Prime for a floral dress since it was a summer wedding. I wanted something long and flowy, plus with a waist that would fit right. I’m short-waisted because of my hourglass figure. Most RTW dresses are longer in the waist and thus that area bunches up and may be tight. I was able to find something and it fit well on.

However, my main goal was to make something to wear I could wear proudly. I searched on Pinterest and Google. Through the latter I found a pattern that was rated easy. I decided to go for it.

Butterick 6318

Style

Butterick 6318 is a dress from 1961. It has a bodice with front and back darts, short dolman sleeves, two ties that can be wrapped forwards or backwards – even be in a contrasting fabric, and it has a gathered skirt.

Fabric

Lightweight fabrics are suggested for this dress: broadcloth, gingham, linen, and taffeta.

Notions

  • 22″ zipper
  • light interfacing
  • hook and eye

FO

Ta-Da!

I found this blue broadcloth on fabric.com and kept the ties in the same fabric. It was the only choice that fit my requirements:

  • must be a blue since the husband was wearing a blue suit
  • have a simple print so I won’t blend into his suit.

The husband and I had arrived at the wedding, the first one that ran actually ran on time (military time), just when the groom was walking out. The two of us slipped into two, empty chairs on the groom’s side, LOL. After the ceremony, I made my yeobo take pictures of me because I was all dressed up and had make up on fleek!

Speaking of make up…

My neighbor did my make up and hair. The night before I went to Craft Night across the street. She found out I was going to a wedding the next day and so, since she had time, she offered to do it all! H, in her 20’s up to her first child, had done the make up of bridal parties with a friend.

I was impressed. She had the train cases full of MAC products. It took her two hours. I can’t say enough how pretty and confident I felt. I didn’t have to fiddle with anything. Wearing false eyelashes was a pleasant experience also. They were adjusted until I felt comfortable in them.

Inside Experience

Prep

There is a lot of prep for this pattern, the most out of all of the other projects I’ve made. I found it tricky to transfer the markings to my fabric from the pattern pieces, especially since I was using a darker colored fabric. I used a fabric pen which was also blue and tailors chalk. Whether it was a circle or a square, I would outline and color in the shape with the pen on the pattern pieces until I was able to tear out the shape, thus making a cut out to color in.

Do share how you transfer markings if you do something differently.

Bodice

This is the first time I’ve sewn a real bodice with darts. I was worried about where the waist would fit on my body so I Google’d “shortening a dress bodice.”

What I Did

  1. Had my daughter measure from the nape of my neck to my natural waist
  2. Compared that measurement to the pattern’s and then figured out the difference – how much I had to shorten the bodice at the lengthen/shorten lines (It was only 1/4″).
  3. I used Made to Sew’s Youtube tutorial.
    • I cut at one of the lines – the top one.
    • I then drew the new line 1/4″ above the old line.
    • I taped together the pieces at the new line.
    • I evened out the side curves of the bodice pieces.

Did This Work?

Well, it helped. However, sewing the bodice to the gathered skirt at the 5’8″ seam allowance didn’t have the waistline hit my natural waist. It hit at my belly button; I guess you would call this my lower waist? But because I wrapped the ties in front first before knotting them in the back, you couldn’t tell.

If There Was a Take Two

If I were to make this dress again, and I probably will, I would have my daughter measure my back length differently. I had her measure from underneath my hairline to my natural waist. I think I should have had her measure from the bottom of my neck to my waist because my waist was still about 3″ above from where the dress hit.

I would like to also buy one of those French curve rulers so I could maybe deepen the neckline more as it rests high. It technically didn’t bother me Saturday though.

Ties

I read several reviews of B6318. Some didn’t like how the ties are originally made. They’re supposed to be one-sided and the other side you turn in the ends.

Following what a few sewists did, I made my ties double-sided, turning them inside out after sewing the pieces together. Thankfully, I had enough fabric. Mine was 56″ wide. I used the 45″ wide layout and so had plenty of room to cut out more tie pieces.

Gathering

This was harder to do than on the Cleo skirt. The B6318 skirt has a wide circumference with it being made up three panels. One Youtuber separately gathered in each section of the skirt. I should have done this, so when it came time to fixing the gathers to have them meet evenly with the bodice circumference in places, it would have been easier to adjust them.
I had tried to sew on the bodice side like she did because it was flat, however, my gathers didn’t come out straight in a couple of places. I had to rip out the seam allowance and sew it again on the gathers side where I could pull and straighten them while sewing.

Invisible Zipper

I had assumed the pattern used an invisible zipper. I had that wrong. It actually uses a standard one. Therefore, I was rolling with it. I did watch some Youtube videos on how to install this type of zipper, but well, it wasn’t easy. I spent hours of a day on this part.

I am thinking I may have to use this type of zipper again in the future with other dress patterns so I think an invisible zipper foot would be a good investment.

Back Center Seam

My main oopsies here. My center seam in the back doesn’t meet up. It’s off by 1/4″. I did rip out the zipper and ripped open this seam to recenter it but it only helped a bit. I had tried to sew the seam from the gathered skirt down to the hem, but then I wasn’t able to put on the dress. I thus had to open up the seam down further for the 22″ zipper. Thankfully one can’t possibly tell since I knotted the ties in the back.

Because of the above, at the top in the back where the facings are, one came out higher than the other. I thus had to cheat. I hand-tacked down the back facings so they wouldn’t interfere with the zipper. I made the right side fold down further so everything lined up and so the hook and eye could meet properly.

Sleeves

It wasn’t easy to hem the sleeves with such a small circumference. Next time I’d like to serge the ends and hem them before I sew the sleeve areas together.

Okay, I think I covered everything of my sewing journey here. Thank you for dropping in. TTYS. Signing off!

16 thoughts on “Notebook of a Beginner Sewist 15: 1961”

  1. Stef, I am so proud of you. I don’t like the dressing up fuss You did a fantastic job sewing your own beautiful fit to a tee and flattering dress. Your makeup looks natural. I really think your sewing is spectacular

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  2. That dress is beautiful! I love the clothes from the 50s and early 60s. They’re so very flattering! Your makeup and hair look beautiful. I love false lashes when I don’t have to put them on. The times I’ve done it myself it hasn’t gone well! I get where I hate most of my clothes a few times a year but I’ve found just getting a new piece or two will pop me out of that funk. I’m not nearly as talented as you so I use Trunk Club so I don’t have to actually go shopping!

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  3. Hi Stefanie! 🙂 You look GORGEOUS!!! I love the colour you chose and the dress! I think Butterick was always my favourite company for patterns, though I haven’t sewn in years! Funny what you mentioned. When I left the city (eons ago), I stopped wearing makeup and my fanciest outfit is my best set of pj’s lol…Alex and I are planning a dinner out next week, my gosh I have nothing to wear. I don’t think I even have any nice shoes anymore. It may be a t-shirt, skirt and rain boots as my fashion statement lol! 😉

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