Pattern Review: Butterwick 6018 Retro Dress


I bought this pattern years ago and recently when I was digging through my local thrift store, I found this gorgeous Ralf Lauren top sheet with little pink skull and cross bones. It was only six bucks and I couldn’t pass it up. There were some issues with the fabric itself. Firstly once I washed and ironed the fabric, it became really stiff. This would work for a dress like this but just be aware when you’re thrifting to read the tag and make sure that whatever you buy really is what you think it is.

This fabric did not act like 100% cotton and even though it was dense weave, it easily ripped. I also found that it had some holes in it, this is good to find out early on so you can either position your pattern pieces where you don’t have to deal with the holes. Or you can move the pieces to where the holes are not in a vital place like on the seam allowance.

And so my 1950’s Skullie Dress project was born.

I had some issues with the pattern’s instructions which I will detail later in this post. I will also go over what I liked and didn’t like about this pattern. How difficult it was for me to make this dress and whether I would recommend this pattern to beginners or not.

Materials

Butterwick Pattern number 6018

4 yards Fabric of your choice (the back of the envelope goes into detail on exactly how many yards. I got away with a queen sized bed sheet)

Fusible interfacing (I used a simple white cotton fabric instead)

2-4 buttons

Matching thread

Sewing Machine

Iron with ironing board

12 inch zipper

Your flare accessories! I chose pink spikes and studs

Preparing your Pattern

The pattern comes with the instructions on two pages and the tissue pattern. You can iron out the tissue using the lowest setting on your iron and if you’re really worried about the pattern, you can always use a bit of fabric to sandwich in between.

I used cotton broadcloth instead of a fusible interfacing and I also cut out a lining for the entire bodice. I wanted to make these deviations from the original instructions because the fabric I chose from this dress is white and if I wanted to wear a colorful bra underneath, no one would be able to see it.

Fusible interfacing is a nice modern invention that really helps with stiffening certain fabrics. It has glue on one side that is activated when you iron it to another piece of fabric. However you really don’t need this type of interfacing. I used what I had at home because I didn’t want to buy more fabric.

When laying out your pattern pieces on your fabric, always make sure that you’re following the arrows on the pieces. The straight and cross grain does matter on how the dress will eventually drape on the body.

I was worried that my bed sheet wouldn’t give me enough fabric but once I laid everything out, I had enough fabric to even add a pocket.

Dress Construction

I got very confused with the instructions on how to add the collar and the cuffs for option A in the pattern. Since I usually follow historical recreation patterns from Simplicity and had just finished creating my own basic pattern for my Regency Costume, I was a little lost.

Setting in the sleeves was generally something I was used to doing in the past. The pattern is clearly marked on where to sew the gathering stitches and I had done something like this previously.

As you can see in my final dress pictures, there’s too much bulk in the points of the collar. My advice is to clip the corners of the collar before turning them out as much as possible and iron it down.

The Zipper

This part was an absolute nightmare for me. You can see it in the pictures how much I struggled with this part. The local fabric store I went to did not have a white invisible zipper. I made do with what was available.

I still need more practice in how to put in zippers. Since the fabric shows all the mistakes I’ve made and had to redo, I didn’t want to take the zipper out and do it again. I had already ripped part of the top of the skirt pulling out a seam I had put in to connect the bodice to the skirt.

I would suggest just watching some Youtube tutorials on how to properly insert a zipper. And please get an invisible zipper.

The Buttons

Originally I thought about making the buttons actually functional. Since the pattern doesn’t say to do this but just to sew up the front and attach non functional buttons, I decided to do this as well. By the time I was done with the zipper, I was done with the whole thing. I just didn’t want to mess with it. I had purchased some pearl white buttons for this dress but when I was looking through my stash, I found these lovely skull and cross bone buttons.

The Hem

Currently I am allowing my dress to hang on my dress form. This is standard practice to help the dress seams settle. Once that happens, I can mark my hem length and add synthetic horse hair braid to give this dress a lovely flare.

I have a black petticoat to under the dress to also add to the shape of the dress. I like the contrast between the black and white, give it that punky vibe and allows me to really add to the details on this dress. Speaking of finishing add ons…

Adding on the flare

Ever since I lived in Japan and would visit a Goth/visual kei shop in Harajuku, I have been obsessed with adding on anything to my clothing. I have pink spikes and dark pink studs to attach to the collar. As well as a chain and spider web material to complete the look.

I also have a light blue heels to wear and a pink purse to complete the outfit. There are some great hair and makeup tutorials on Youtube.

And those are my thoughts on this pattern. Ultimately I enjoyed making this dress. I love vintage 50’s wear and this dress will fit in nicely with the rest. Thank you for reading and I hope you enjoy my next post!


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