August 24, 2014

Social Dressing Butterick 5853

Typically my social calendar is less than booked yet, every once and a blue moon an opportunity arrives that allows me to stitch up a special occasion dress. The event was a wedding in early August and I knew in advance (even with all the moving hustle and bustle) that my July sewing would be dedicated to fancy fabrications.
At first I struggled to choose a dress silhouette for the event. In the end I narrowed my choices down to two patterns with the silhouettes: classic cocktail or retro inspired flare. Then to only make the choice harder on myself I found fabrics in my stash that would work for each pattern. So… logically I decided to construct both dresses and wear which ever end result I liked better to the event and the other dress would be my Monthly Stitch party dress.
I flew the 4000 miles to Baltimore to attend the wedding with my camera in tow in order to photograph the end result with myself all gussied up. Then the bad luck struck… I stood in the muggy heat with my makeup dripping taking photos only to realize after a few to many poses I had forgotten the memory card in my camera. Yep… that happened; I felt like a rube. 
So here we are weeks later when I finally got the gumption to swallow my pride and put my cocktail dress back on to show you.
Pattern: Butterick 5853
Fabrics: The body is a black satin twill that is lined with gold viscose lining, the lace contrast is a netted lace with gold a embroidered floral pattern (remnants from the scrap bin) which is lined with a tulle netting for structure and stability in lieu of the facings that the pattern directed. 
Due to the translucence of the lace/net combo the seam allowances would show on the upper bodice. I elected to finish all of the upper bodice seams with black seam binding for a clean look. 
 Additionally I enclosed the seam allowances within the sleeves between the lace and net lining.  
To construct the sleeves: I first stitched the sleeve hems of the lining and lace together. 
 Then constructed the under arm seam (RST).
Lastly I flipped the right sides out to enclose the seam allowances between the two plys and create a smooth inner sleeve. 
Satin twill is a hearty fabric which is great for this garment as it traveled well. However the bulk caused me some distress during the construction process. The pattern calls for interfacing on the bodice fashion fabric pieces because the bodice is boned, I only interfaced the contoured center front piece of my bodice. Also there are pleated bows jetting out from the bust piecing. According to the pattern you are to stack the bows on top of one another and stitch the bodice front seams encasing the bows. Well...that would be 10 layers of fabric where the pleats fall on the bows in my thick fabric stitching that bulk was never going to happen. To combat this issue I off set the my bows and found I like the look better, I also tacked the bow ends to the bust line so they did not flop around. 
Pattern Modifications: My standard broad back and square shoulder adjustment. Raised hipline on skirt.
The pattern intends the zipper to extend up the center back to the neckline. I started my zipper at the body of the dress leaving the lace upper bodice CB open with a button and loop neckline closure 


  1. Very beautiful. I love the lace and net sleeves, and thanks for sharing your construction details. I always wonder how such sleeves and necklines are put together to look so good. Yours looks great!

  2. Oh la la -- you look gorgeous. The lace adds such an interesting element, very beautiful.

  3. Awesome dress, great sewing tips. What is the black thing used to sew together the net bits? Ribbon? Bias binding? I don't think I have seen that technique before. I love it.

    1. It is a bias binding called Snug Hug. Thank you

  4. Nice dress...I really love the lace!

  5. Very , very, very beautiful dress!

  6. Beautiful dress and its very becoming. Hope ;you had a great time at the wedding.

  7. Stunning! Thanks for showing the details of the sleeves. I was curious how you finished the seams.

  8. WOW, your sewing is always soooooo beautiful. I love what you did with the lace - just stunning. However, I'm gonna say it (you can turn and walk away, I'll understand), but I'm not a fan of the bow. I think with the thought of sewing 10 layers of fabric I would have just left it out altogether! I'm always inspired by your garments xx

    1. Thank you Sandra. I can totally understand the aversion to the bow and the dress design would have been great without the bow as well.

  9. Melody, this dress is stunning, and your work is incredible. I would never attempt that net bodice! You look gorgeous!

  10. You do such amazing work, this dress is stunning.


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Happy sewing!

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