I’ve been tempted to start doing sewing pattern reviews as I often get asked about how I go about sewing my own clothes. Patterns can be a little hit or miss sometimes and there are some notorious doozies out there so I hope my upcoming reviews help you to make the most out of your sewing patterns in the future. In this series, I hope to cover some modern patterns that look vintage or can be styled/tweaked for a vintage look, some true vintage patterns and retro reproduction patterns. As this series grows, please let me know if I am missing any vital information that you want to know about the patterns featured, I’m very excited to kick off this sporadic series. To kick-off, we are starting with Butterick 6284 by Gertie.
If you don’t know who Gertie is, you will certainly be reading about her a fair bit as I progress with reviews. Gertie is an American vintage seamstress who had her own sewing blog that was super popular, has created and sold her fabric in stores such as Joanne’s (US) and Spotlight (Aus) and created patterns for Butterick. Right now, Gertie has her own pattern line known as Charm Patterns (which we’ve used on this blog before) and a huge Patreon with monthly sewing patterns available (I really want to join as the patterns are super exciting!). She is pretty much the OG of vintage sewing and I find that her youtube channel is really helpful; I love her ‘sew a long’ videos. I have heaps of her patterns and I know we will cover more as time goes on. I figured I’d start with one of her patterns today as it’s a great starting point for getting into vintage sewing.
Butterick 6284 is a vintage-inspired dress with a fitted bodice (cut on crosswise grain), underarm gusset, stitched hem, and back zipper. The bodice has gathers down the torso under the bust and a full skirt reaches the knee. This dress pattern is designed for lightweight to medium-weight woven fabrics. The dress asks for a 20″ Zipper, 11/4 yards of seam binding and hook & eye.
When I first started sewing, Spotlight had a massive pattern sale so I scooped up as many Gertie and vintage patterns as I could, this being one of them. It wasn’t until the stay at home orders came in that I thought I would give this pattern a go and I’m honestly glad I did. I think I overlooked this dress pattern at first because honestly, the front picture isn’t all that flattering as I think the fabric choice on the cover is a little too busy and you can’t see the full design. Sorry Gertie, but this cover needs a revamp which makes me think that might be why it’s so often overlooked. This pattern would suit beginners ready to take on a bigger challenge or those with average sewing skills. It can be a bit fiddly but it is worth it in my opinion.
The fabric I have chosen for this project is the ‘BTY Andover French Bee by Renee Nanneman in Orange Peel Tangerine’ purchase from fabric.com. The fabric has since sold out but you can still find it on Etsy (there are many other sellers) and in over 11 different other colours (the green is particularly lovely too). Designed for Andover by Renee Nanneman this printed cotton fabric is from the French Bee collection featuring a classic bee print on vintage colours. This lightweight fabric is easy to sew with has a soft hand and is very versatile! It is ideal for quilting but can also be used for crafts miscellaneous sewing projects or home decor items like pillow covers and bed skirts. I found this fabric and was immediately charmed by the print (I love bees) and the colour was so striking that I had to have it. As a sucker for autumnal colour schemes, this fabric was perfect for this pattern as the bees are in no particular order so I could position my pattern as needed.
When it came to choosing my pattern size, I of course look at the measurements provided, realise they are a lie and choose a completely different size to what I should be. I have a 28-inch waist which should be the perfect size 14 but I’ve learned over the years that the 14 is always a bit too big so I now sew a size 12 when it comes to Butterick patterns. The size 12 is listed as a 26-inch waist but it fits my 28-inch waist absolutely perfect. I have always sewn the size 12 when it comes to Butterick sizing so if you find your garments come out too big, go down a size and yes, I still had plenty of seam allowance.
So, how does she sew? The bodice pieces need to be cut on a cross-grain to allow for stretch over the bosom when worn. Please keep this in mind when cutting out your pattern pieces as you will need 3.5 yards of fabric. When cutting the bodice pieces, you might need to fold the fabric in a way that allows the pattern piece to fit as it’s quite a large awkward shape to work with. For this review, I didn’t realise I was a few centimetres short with my fabric so I had to change to a self-drafted rectangle skirt but I have sewn this dress as it was intended with very similar results (please see pictures below of yellow printed dress).
Sewing the bodice was a bit fiddley as it involved gathering the two gather lines down the front of the bodice along the torso (below the bosoms) and also sewing in a gusset. For those new to sewing, a gusset is a triangle of material added to allow for more room, space and movement in a garment generally found in the armpit. It can be a bit fiddly to sew in and honestly the instructions on the pattern can be a bit confusing but I found a step by step tutorial by Gertie here which helped me a lot so I’d recommend looking at that if you need help too. The bodice is finished with some facing and understitching is totally worth it to keep that facing hidden. The skirt is super straightforward with a basic rectangle gathered at the top and attached to the skirt. I use the dental floss method of gathering a skirt as I find it easier to manoeuvre the gathers when attaching the skirt. The skirt has no pockets and I will certainly be adding some in my future makes of this dress. To finish up the dress, a lapped back zipper is added, the skirt is hemmed and a hook and eye are sewn above the zip.
Fit: I was so surprised by how flattering this dress is, at least on my body shape. I find that the waist hits me perfectly, my bust is well accommodated and the bodice is very flattering. There can be a bit of gaping on the neckline as it is a bit of a wide neckline but that’s generally a sign the sleeves have risen up. The sleeves are perfect for a retro look and although they can appear bulky or lumpy in some poses, that’s just the way I find my vintage dresses sewn the same way. If I could make any adjustments to this pattern it would be to add pockets. I know that I can just cut out and sew in some pockets of my own but I do like them being included in my patterns.
I really think this is an underrated pattern that’s often overlooked. I really love this style for cooler weather and it looks lovely paired with a cardigan. I would love to try making this dress out of wool or something a little thicker for the winter but I’m a bit unsure about having to line it. I would highly recommend this pattern and even though I’ve made it twice now, I already want to make another because it’s just so pretty.
When styling this dress, I tried to keep it really simple. I added a floral brooch from Erstwilder so the bee’s didn’t have to travel too far for honey. I put on some sparkly orange earrings from Deluxe and my favourite pair of white heels from Honiara Vintage. Even though it was a very warm day, I felt comfortable due to the soft cotton of the dress.
Note: This pattern is very similar to a dress sold by Zoe Vine so would be a great dupe if you like that style and design.
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.
4 thoughts on “Sewing Pattern Review: Butterick 6284 by Gertie”
I love both versions you made of this dress! I have the pattern in my collection and it has been in my want to make pile. Love seeing pattern reviews and I can’t wait for you to do more.