It doesn’t take much to cause excitement in the vintage sewing community but when Butterick 6453 hit the shelves in 2017, we all went a little mad. This pattern was hugely popular that it was sold out for ages; it even had it’s own Facebook group with several thousand members and of course there were tons of people making the dress and sharing it on social media. It had quite the hold on us, myself included and it’s still very popular today. I have made several versions of this dress and I made it so often that at one stage, I could complete the dress in just under 3 hours. Even though I’ve made many versions of this pattern, I’d never properly reviewed it so that’s what I’ll be doing today.
This pattern is a very simple vintage inspired dress pattern with two skirt variations. The bodice is close fitted with princess seams, adjustable shoulder straps and a centre back zip. Style A features a rectangle gathered skirt with pockets, and Style B has a fitted pencil skirt. The bodice has facing but I’d argue and say it can easily be changed for a fully lined bodice. The dress is simple in it’s construction but really great for a vintage look. I’ve made this dress out of cotton and cotton sateen but you can make it out of quite a few different fabrics.
For this version, I will be using about 3 meters of printed cotton I got from Spotlight a few years ago. The fabric is a creamy yellow colour with red, green and white tea pots and tea cups scattered throughout. Although this particular fabric is sold out, I did find this dupe incase you are looking for something similar. Although I love this fabric, upon closer inspection I noticed that some parts of the red tea pot lids have imprinted into the fabric whilst folded. I had to be careful when cutting out my bodice pieces that I didn’t have the printed fabric. Although not ideal, I figured the prints would be mostly hidden in a full skirt.
As with most Butterick patterns, I am a size 12 so that’s the size I will cut out. My first ever attempt at this pattern, I cut out and made the size 14 and made my dress; it was definitely too big so when I sized down to the 12, it was the perfect fit even though technically, the size 14 should have fit me perfect. I don’t know what it is about pattern sizing but I have to always sew one size smaller than what I actually would fit.
Sewing up this pattern was a lovely walk down memory lane. The trickiest part of the whole thing is probably the princess seams on the bodice but if you take your time, clip your seam and use lots of pins, it comes together without too much hassel. The bodice isn’t fully lined but it does have facing along the neck seams but there have been versions I’ve made where I added a fully lined bodice. For this paticular version, I didn’t add the adjustable straps as I didn’t have the hardware needed so instead, I made 9 inch straps and added them to my bodice. It got a bit fiddley trying to sew the facing to the bodice with the straps getting in the way but I did it in sections and it turned out just fine.
For the skirt, I made my normal rectangle skirt using three panels of fabric around 28 inches long. This is my standard skirt as I like the length and the fullness. I didn’t add the pockets the pattern asked for and although I could have, and probably should have to be honest, I was happy with the skirt as is and I can always go back later and add pockets. This was a really quick and easy sew and the dress was made within a day with plenty of time to spare. This is a pattern I recommend for beginners or those trying to make dresses for the first time as although the princess seams can be tricky, it’s a necessary skill to have and you will have to get used to sewing things into a curve.
As I’ve made this dress many times before, I knew it would fit perfectly and of course, it did. The bust and waist fit me perfectly and I realised I should make a few more dresses with this pattern, I might use some aggressively vintage florals in my next make and add the pockets too. I love the flow and spin the skirt has and this new version will be a lot of fun to wear once that warm weather returns (why I am sewing summer dresses when winter is around the corner I will never know). I really love the pattern this fabric and even though some of the pattern had printed where it was folded, it wasn’t noticeable when worn.
As I’ve made this pattern a number of times, I am tempted to start making my own variations just to spice things up a bit. One variation I am tempted to make to this pattern is to add a sort of cummerband to the waist perhaps in a contrasting fabric or colour. Another idea I have is to adjust the skirt to be a multi-tiered skirt with lots and lots of gathering. If I do make either of these versions up, I will let you know and definitely add a blog link below. I do recommend this pattern and there are load of photos of it being made up online which you can find pretty easily. Do give this pattern a go and feel free to send me a pic when you’re done. Until the next adventure dear reader.
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