UFrOcktober take 3

It seems like aeons since my last post – howy’all doing?

So – hands up who remembers when it seemed you couldn’t turn on your computer without seeing a new version of the Butterick Walkaway dress.


When was that 2009?2010?

I’m not going to go too deeply into the history of this pattern – lots has been written about it – but in a nutshell it was originally issued in 1952 (I think) and was immensely popular (legend has it that Butterick had to stop production of all other patterns while they caught up with the demand for this one). It was then “recently” re-issued as part of Butterick’s retro range – suitably updated in order to accommodate the uncorseted stomachs of the current generation of home sewers; I don’t know what year this happened, but it seems to start cropping up on the internet around 2005. Anyway when I first started reading sewing blogs in 2009/10 it seemed to be everywhere. So I jumped on that bandwagon; bought pattern and fabric and cut one out. But never sewed it up.

Until UFrOcktober 2013!

Butterick 4790 5Now I must make excuses for the pictures. My hair needs washing; it is freakin’ cold in West Yorkshire today; I had until recently been wearing long socks and knee boots over my tights; JB was not prepared to set foot outside, so he crouched in the doorway to take pictures. I think that adequately explains the hairstyle; the expression; the wrinkly tights; the less than glamorous backdrop… BUT I wanted to get photos taken before the end of the month and daylight was rapidly disappearing.

So I made this out of some kind of thin cotton in a black and green gingham check which I bought it from the £1/m section of one of the stalls on Leeds market. I can’t remember exactly when (or even which year), but I know it was a Saturday afternoon and I was with  Andrea. And if I am in Leeds with Andrea on a Saturday afternoon there is pretty much a 100% chance that some wine has been consumed with lunch. I mention this only because the fabric choice is in many ways (and as is so oft the case with me) not ideal. It’s a bit too thin. But this dress does have a full circle skirt and therefore requires many metres of fabric, so I do not regret trying it out with something inexpensive.

Butterick 4790 6I finished it with some purchased black bias tape and too few darts. Yeah – couldn’t be bothered with the last two, which probably goes some way to explaining the gape in the armhole area.

Now I think that the pattern is really cute and a little bit cunning; just in case you don’t know it is like a really big child’s painting apron with a bit of 50’s style; you stick your head through the neck hole and then the undersection fastens in the back (snaps in my case) and the overskirt wraps around and fastens in front (with a frog closure, if that is what you have on hand and you haven’t the inclination to make the 3 buttonholes the pattern suggests).



The dress does seem to be equally revered and reviled. There is some proper hating on this pattern goes on out there, but there is also a lot of love for it. I was quite surprised to find that people are still making it – I thought the ardour had cooled a bit, but it seems to still be popular. I loved The Curious Kiwi’s version from earlier this year (Mel also managed to include those pictures I didn’t get, which properly illustrate how it fastens. I so wanted to do that, but it would have meant moving the ironing board, undressing my dress form, re-dressing my dress form… and I am a bad, lazy blogger.)

I did have this almost finished a week ago, but after hanging it for a day (because pieces cut on the bias will stretch) I could not quite pluck up the courage to try and straighten the hem. Eventually I set to and realised that I could either spend the rest of my life trying to get it perfectly even, or I could give it a good college try and then just make sure I never stand still for too long when I wear it.

Butterick 4790 7

Butterick 4790 2

So, my fabric is too thin, my hem is wonky, my armholes are indecent and it wrinkles as soon as you look at it, but come the Summer I just think I’ll get some wear out of it.

And at the very least it is no longer a sad pile of cut up fabric on a shelf in my sewing room.

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11 Responses to UFrOcktober take 3

  1. Amanda says:

    I love it! Never ever seen a dress like it before! I had a look at Mel’s close up of how to put it on! Ha! I think I would be very confused! It would be more like… Don’t drink wine before getting dressed! I have got a few Butterick retros whilst they have 40% off!

    • rachsews says:

      I am definitely in the fan camp for this pattern. One day I hope to get around to making another one and actually – you know – fitting it and stuff! But it goes together really quickly (apart from the mile of hem, of course), as there are basically 3 seams and 6 darts!

  2. Oh I have this pattern too, and have been meaning to get around to make it- now I’m inspired!

  3. sewexhausted says:

    I have to go look through my patterns now to see if I have it- I have so many patterns I don’t remember! But it is very cleverly made and I am thinking I may try it out. I like the colors of the fabric- and it looks like you could definitely get some wear out of it. It also looks very flattering! I like the black and white version they have on the pattern cover. ~Laurie

    • rachsews says:

      I know that feeling – I was about to buy a pattern I’d seen on Thimberlina’s blog the other day when I happened to chance upon it in my stash!
      I think it is a really clever design – as I say there are a lot of people who don’t like it at all, but I find it really effective for such a simple idea. I love all of the pattern cover versions – now if only I could get that 20″ waist, I’d be all set!

  4. Pingback: It’s UFrOcktober again | The Monthly Stitch

  5. This has been in my pattern stash for several years, waiting for a fabric to chose it. Yours looks great and I’m feeling inspired, although I’m not sure what my “slightl- more-than-20-inch” waist will look like in it.

    • rachsews says:

      It is a really quick make, so I would definitely recommend it for one of those “need a no-brainer sew” weekends. I think that the contrast binding actually makes it quite flattering, as it gives some definition in that waist area (and lord know I have little enough definition of my own!)

  6. Yay for saving sad piles of fabric! I’m glad these dresses are still popping up 🙂 My hem isn’t perfect either, if I kept trimming it I’d end up with nothing left so I stopped before I went totally crazy!

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