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!
Now 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.
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.
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.