At the time of writing this review, it’s currently May and I’ve had a huge Endo flare up that landed me in hospital and I’ve been recovering very slowly. To hit a snag in my sewing groove has thrown me for a loop and with so many creations made in the last two months, to be forced to slow down is a bit frustrating. I thought about sticking to a pattern I know and love well but I still had so many new patterns that I wanted to try so I spent some time browsing my pattern shelf until I found the perfect pattern to return to. Retro Butterick 6318 was my chosen pattern and I was surprised by just how easy and quick it was to make.
Butterick 6318 originally came out in 1961 and it features just one dress style with two variations (mainly contrasting fabric for a waist sash). The dress has a semi-fitted bodice with attached short dolman sleeves. It has a wide single-layer tie ends (which results in the wrong side shown when worn), a narrow hem, full gathered skirt and back zipper. Even though I normally prefer a fitted bodice, I thought something a little looser might be fun for big lunch dates because I keep it no secret that I love to eat. Looking at this pattern, I will be making a few changes to suit my personal preferences; the first being is I plan to line the sash with my dress fabric so no matter how I tie the waist sash, the underside of the fabric will not be seen (why this isn’t standard I have no idea). The second change is that I will be making my own rectangle skirt because I just prefer a fuller skirt.
Let’s talk fabric. Looking at my the pattern envelope, I really liked the stripes featured in the cover artwork. Although I don’t have any striped fabric, I did have some panelled fabric from fabric.com which features very soft yellow panels adorned with tiny roses. It’s called the Rosette Bande Chiffon Yellow and I should note it’s not a chiffon (thats the manufacturers name for that sot creamy yellow colour), it’s a soft cotton and gives off a cottage core grandma vibe which I’m all about. You can find the fabric here and it also comes in a red/pink variation which is just as cute. Although the pattern only requires about 3 and a half yards, I had 4 on hand which I was so happy for because I had very little left over after I was done cutting it out.
Sew, let’s get started. This pattern has very few pattern pieces; the bodice has one front piece which features darts and the sleeves attached, the two pieces for the back also with darts. Then there is the sash which I cut 4 off to line with the fabric and then my skirt panel pieces. Normally I make my skirt 28 inches long (it ends up wearing at about 27 inches after the seam allowance is gone) but this time, I had to decide between two panels of 28 inch skirt or three panels of 26 inch skirt. I opted for the three because I prefer the fullness and maybe my husband would like to see my knees sometime soon.
With so few pieces, the dress bodice came together so quickly. After the darts were sewn in and the shoulders were attached it was time to add the facing. I wish my overlocker was fixed so I could have bound the ends of the facing but I used my pinking sheers. With the facing attached I was able to move onto the waist sash. With right sides together, I sewed along the long edge of the sash and then the shorter end as this is the end of the tie. I actually did it wrong and sewed the larger end closed and realised in the bodice attachment step I goofed up so I had to unpick and fix my mistake. The longer edge I just basted together and basted it onto the side front of my bodice. I did this with the second sash tie and attached it to the other side front of the bodice and then went ahead and sewed my side seams down. My bodice was basically done at this point.
My skirt was also pretty quick as I used my dental floss gathering method to gather it. After sewing the panels together, I attached my floss in a zig zag stitch and then I was able to easily adjust my gathers by pulling the fabric along the floss. I pinned it to my lower bodice, basted it together and then sewed along the edge with a normal stitch attaching it securely to my bodice. Whipping the dress inside out I attached the back seam leaving room for a zipper and I hemmed my skirt. I don’t think I sewed my zipper in as well as I could as my needle was a it too far from the zipper teeth when sewing but it’s fine for now. With that complete, she was done.I put her onto my dress form to play with the sash, realised I forgot to hem my arm holes, left it for three days, hemmed my arm holes and I was finally done.
Fit: With the slightly looser bodice, this dress is really comfortable. It doesn’t sit too big on the waist and the sash really helps bring you in a bit. I like knowing that because I lined the sash, I can wrap the sash around the front before tying it to the back, or just pull it straight back and you can’t see the underside of the fabric. I would be tempted to add a few extra inches to the sash as I love me a big booty bow but it’s kind of sweet to have a simple knot. I have mixed feelings about the skirt length as I do prefer a longer skirt but I do love the fullness of the skirt so it’s a bit of a catch 22. The dresses sleeves are really comfortable and easy to move about in. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to lift my arms but I was which is a plus. Sometimes when moving the underarm bit can pucker a little which can look odd so I did find that I had to neaten my dress every so often.
This is a pattern I would definitely recommend to beginners. It was so quick and easy that I was super surprised by how quickly it came together. She was done in an afternoon and I’m kind of tempted to make another but with a contrasting waist sash. I think lining my waist sash was a great idea as I don’t think I would have liked seeing the underside of the fabric especially when it’s so cute! The dress is really sweet, adorable and I think the fabric gave it a bit of a cottage core vibe which I’m happy with. I would love to make her out of a darker floral next time and pull a strong colour for a good contrasting waist sash. Next time, I will also make sure to get 4 and a half yards (or 4 meters) as cutting my skirt a little shorter wasn’t my favourite thing to do and I’m tempted to add some lace for a bit of added length because who really needs to see my knees.
This dress is a lot of fun to make and the simplicity of the whole process makes it a great pattern to return to after a bit of a break. I’m happy knowing that even though I doubt I will make as many dresses as previous months this year, at least I know this one is one of my favourites for the year so far.
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