Setting up a sewing room really gave me a chance to go through all my sewing related things and make space for them in a way that’s logical and organised (my sewing space being a pile of storage boxes was a pain and I’ll never go back to that). Going through my patterns, I came across Butterick 6175 which is a retro reprint of a 1952 pattern. I immediately fell in love with the pattern as it had cute gathered sleeves, a full skirt and a lovely darted bodice and I had to sew it up straight away. I don’t remember when I originally bought this pattern but I’m sure it’s sat in my collection for long enough (I do have a feeling I was gifted this pattern though).
As I continue to shop my stash, I have now organised my fabrics so I see everything I have all at once. My ADHD brain has definite object permanence so if I see it, it exists and if I can’t see it, it doesn’t exist. So now, I can see all my fabrics and I’m constantly matching them up with appropriate patterns. When it came to matching a fabric to Butterick 6175, I noticed a sweet creamy gingham fabric with tiny little strawberries all over and the match was made. I originally got this fabric from Spotlight probably about a year or 2 years ago and I have just over 3 meters to play with. I think this fabric came out when the world developed it’s strawberry obsession and the combination of gingham with strawberries just spoke to my soul and I still love the fabric today.
As with most Butterick patterns, I will be opting for size 12 as it’s the size that fits me the best and I barely have to adjust it. I should note that although I dont think I need to adjust my pattern to fit me, I’m sure a professional would make slight alterations. As a self-taught sewer, there will always be lots I need to learn so maybe one day I’ll look back at all this and cringe. Today is not that day and tomorrow isn’t either so back to the dress. This dress only has one style and I was going to make it exactly. I was so excited for this project that I even put it up on my Instagram stories. Whilst laying out my pattern pieces, I ran into a problem. My fabric was too short for the skirt pieces.
I wasn’t sure what to do so I ended up making an Instagram poll where I asked if I should change my fabric or just make a rectangle skirt. I put this pattern aside for a day as I waited for the results to come in and after 24 hours, there was a pretty definitely response: rectangle skirt. I got so many cute messages encouraging me and stating how cute the fabric and pattern combination was so there was no way I was going to let everyone down. A special thank you to everyone who voted; I really loved having you as a part of my sewing project and I will definitely be doing more polls as I continue to sew. If you’d like to find my sewing stories, head over to my Instagram.
Sew, let’s get started. I began with the sleeves as they are the most involved part of the pattern. After cutting out the main fabric and matching lining, I made sure to mark which sleeve was the right and which was the left by drawing an arrow that always pointed at the top outter corner. This was really helpful throughout the rest of the sleeves construction and I tip I’d recommend. To gather my sleeves, I sewed two rows of gathering stitches and pulled them along the fabric to make my gather as opposed to my dental floss method which is a bit too fiddley for smaller pieces like this.
**It is only the top/outer piece of fabric that needs gathering as it’s sewn onto a flat piece that lays against the body. I basted my gathers down to keep them in place and then attached them to my bodice. The arrows became very helpful in this step and I knew which part was the front and which was the back. With my sleeves attached, I could return to my bodice.
The bodice has darts which were easy and simple to do. With my sleeves attached, I was able to sew on my lining and enclose all the raw edges so the bodice was nice and neat. This pattern has a hidden middle back zipper so although I was tempted to just put in a normal back zipper, I stuck with it and created my zipper entry. The bodice looked really cute and I love the way it came together. With the ease of this pattern, I’d definitely say it’s beginner friendly especially for those who want a little bit of a challenge.
Putting my skirt together was a breeze as I simply attached all the panels together, used my dental floss method to gather them together and then pinned it to my bodice. I made sure to keep my bodice open at the back so the zipper could be attached and after basting my gathers to the bodice, I sewed in my normal stitch. For about a month and a bit now, my overlocker has been in shambles and no matter how many times I attempt to rethread it, it keeps spitting out noodles of thread so as much as I want to overlock the gathers to the bodice to keep the ends clean, I could only cut them with pinking shears. To finish off the skirt, I hemmed the bottom with a rolled hem.
The final part of this pattern is the construction of two little loops which I hand sewed onto the bodice at the join between the bodice front and the gathered sleeves. It’s a really nice and neat way to finish off the bodice but I do think it looks just as cute without these little loops. I will be honest and say that I did try to sew on onto the back but I noticed it was too short and then had to unpick and move it to the front. The last thing I had to do was sew in an invisible zipper which I have to say, was put in pretty well and she was done.
Fit: I was super excited to try on this dress and I was so happy when it fit me really well. I will definitely note that it’s a little tight around the shoulders and arms, almost as if I need to go up half a size so next time I will give myself a little extra fabric. I really loved the combination of fabric and pattern and think this dress is really sweet and cute. It’s perfect for the cooler weather that’s happening currently and the dress looks great with a cute cardigan. I am excited to wear her a little more and pair her with some strawberry accessories.
I am tempted to omit the middle back zip the next time I sew this pattern and perhaps just make a normal full back zip. I’m not a fan of getting in and out of dresses that are overly complicated and I find it just easier with a full back zip. After a certain dress mishap a little while ago, these type of zip now worry me. Another thing I would change in this pattern is to add pockets because if I can carry snacks at all times, I am a happier me. This was a pretty easy pattern so I would recommend it for beginners looking for something a little more challenging.
I am super happy with this dress and think this is a pattern I’d love to make again at a later date. Challenging my sewing this year has really made me fall in love with lots of new patterns (well, retro patterns that are new to me trying them out) and I’ve loved giving them a go and creating some lovely new garments. This is a pattern that would be great for a sweet summer dress and I’d love to maybe make it out of a very soft white cotton with some eyelets cut out and perhaps wear it with a corset style cincher to complete to look. This dress would also be great in darker tones and paired with a cardigan for cooler months. The tones in my dress make it great for spring and I love the little strawberries all over the fabric. The strawberries remind me of wild or Alpine strawberries which I adored as a kid and I only have them to eat when I visit Europe in the spring time and they are such a treat. This dress really makes me think of my childhood and those strawberries and I feel like this pattern helped me unlock some memories I had forgotten about.
Definitely hunt this pattern down and give it a go yourself. You can find a digitally reprinted version here.