Butterick 5949


I love dachshunds, old Barbara Stanwyck movies, dark chocolate and bad ideas. In no particular order. A Saturday spent in the sewist bordello with all these elements makes my chubby heart sing.

Sometimes I feel very evil scientist in my lab fusing two animals together- alligators and hippos- so I can get larger alligator bags, of course. Or a hybrid dachshund/aardvarks- for better crumb hovering under the kitchen island. All excellent ideas, as I’m sure you would agree. My ideas with fabric mixing are also way ahead of their time indeed!
This week I will show you another combo that you may think is MADNESS! MADNESS! But I have vision!

Butterick 5949 has many wonderful ideas from the envelope, so of course, I ignored all that sanity and started playing. I skipped the waistband- I had a wide belt planned to breakup my 2 competing print fabrics. I basically did view C with the skirt and little sleeveys in the same fabric and the bodice in a crepe de chine stripey material. This stripe was seriously marked down at Fabric.com and I bought it thinking I’d get inspired later. It took a very long time- like in boyfriend terms- I’d have already given up trying to save it and moved on to another! I finally had an EPIPH-TACKY! Yes. That is a term. I know because I just made it up. But we’ve all had them- the moment when you are dressing or planning an outfit and suddenly something you never would have worn together just jumps out at you like Prints Charming!
Did you catch that? Print Charming! I’m a wit, oh so, so much. Back to Butterick 5949. I have a friend that I adore- she is the best human I know. For years she dated someone that was so not her equal. But the reflected glow of her amazingness kept the partner from being a dead bulb. It worked until it was eventually revealed that the bulb was not only burnt out, but a bit crazy. Anyhoo- my point is that you can make something work if you love one print and only feature the less loved print in limited doses.
Now, here we go: I was hesitant about this pattern because the envelope picture looks so bulky – like the fabric wasn’t ironed during the making process. PR had lots of reviews and they didn’t look so lumpen, so I kept going. My plan to make the sleeves in a contrast was worrying me tho. I was afeared that this could go very football pad looking if it didn’t work. So I cut out and prepped sleeves in both fabrics. Even the lining. Unfortunately with the construction process as it was, I reached a ‘do or not do, there is no try’ Yoda the sewcialist moment. I pinned it up on Ms Holloway with the contrast and worked on the skirt while I decided. It felt ok. Not amazing. Not EPIPH-TACKY, but ok. I seek stronger emotions from my gaudiness, so I broke down and hauled the husband into the sewing room under false pretenses.
‘Hey, Mr Barnes- have you seen this highly amusing State Farm ad?’ yes, we do address each other this way , we have a very Dickensian sense of intimacy. ‘it has a talking unicorn with questions about flood insurance!’
I then nonchalantly futzed about with the dress form, trying not to be too obvious. He watched the commercial and once more questioned my taste in entertainment. Loudly. But he didn’t have any comments on the dress. He usually does. He is my barometer. So when he didn’t politely tell me that it looked like a lukewarm mess, I knew I was ok.

Here we go folks- I’m about to unleash my messterpiece! On the hanger I love this. On me- not so much. It has 2 issues that I am unhappy about- first- the poofy bodice. The model above is smirking me- she had it too- why would I think I wouldn’t?


Here’s an action shot to show how it’s an all-over issue- not just in the front near the tucks:


Honestly- I’m not dunlapping over my belt (this time) it’s the poofitude! More bothersome is the limited range of motion from the sleeves. I spend all day transcribing the gospel-like thoughts of surgeons. I’m not sure I could type in this. I’d have a ‘She Hulk shred! She Hulk bust out of tacky dress’ moment by 11:00. Not so good. But a larger sleeve would have given it a little tiny airport hangar look.


So the final short sleeve dress of the season is a clunker. But, I was ready for fall anyhoo. Now, don’t purge this pattern from your files- PR has some lovely versions-including Westy85 with 3 and   the sharp grey of MissyBelle.

A pattern just can’t be all things to all people, right? Oh, well, back to other bad ideas!


photo credits: Pattern Review, meadhawg, google images. All images remain the property of their original owners.

51 thoughts on “Butterick 5949

  1. You are so damn funny! I think this dress is really pretty. If the poofitude were the only problem, I would say no problem at all – I see people on the street wearing RTW that fits less well than this. But the sleeve issue would be a deal-breaker for me. Sleeves are my nemesis – I WILL defeat them one day!

    Anyhooo – you look pretty in your new dress! I hope you can stand to wear it a few times!


  2. My husband thought I was a little crazy when he heard me laughing as I read this post! “alligators and hippos” and “hybrid dachshund/aardvarks” – lol I love how you write!

    I wonder if you could just cut the next size up sleeve. I often find that sleeves are too tight even on my skinny arms (but I think it’s a result of bad pattern grading more than anything). Seems like it needs to have a little more stretch along the edge – maybe cut the sleeves on the bias or add a little extra length and ease the hem back in with a bit of elastic. (The sleeve caps look too tight on the pattern model too! They must have made this to fit an armless dress form.)

    I really like your fabric combo!


  3. The sleeves do need to be wider at the bicep and can you shorten the armhole to waist length like move the skirt up a little? If the belt is tight it may be holding the bodice up higher and not letting it relax down. You can cut new sleeves or add a gusset or panel that no one will see or care about. Great fabrics!


  4. Prints Charming! I will sport a wry smile all day in your honour.
    I’m glad I’m not the only one with sleeve issues, many is the time a sleeve has impeded me, are they drafted for folks who only gesticulate from the elbow down?!


  5. I love the fabric contrast, they go together perfectly! And then the tights, anyou’vd the shoes … it’s too bad the dress has fit issues, because you’ve got such a great looking going on here. Nothing to add about fixing the dress, there are already some really good ideas above. You really should salvage this make, it’s too good to let languish in the ‘meh’ pile.


  6. So, do you think you’ll try to make it work another time? Or is this a goner? With all that work and if it didn’t work out for me I would be found weeping in the corner of my mad scientist lab.


  7. It doesn’t look that poofy to me from these photos. The poofiness you pointed to could just have easily been natural wearing wrinkles. Is it really that bad even when you’re standing mug shot style?

    It may be the pattern or the fabric. I’m always surprised at how silkies can poof too. I thought their slipperiness would drape well. But then get nasty surprises when I get poofs from gathers or pleats. Even the Georgette I used recently for a top gave me unsightly poof. The only time bodice gathering didn’t give me the Michelin Man effect seem to be drapy knits that weights more than they seem. Like the rayon lycra I used for my Endless dress.

    The sleeve does look a bit tight on you. The envelope photo does seem to have a bit more ease at the bicep than yours. But I find this style of sleeve tend to be binding regardless. I’ve tried a few RTW with this style of sleeve, and they always forbid me from raising my hand too far. I’m not sure how a gusset would help since the sleeve doesn’t extend to the underarm where gussets usually go. This is more like a raglan cap sleeve isn’t it. Do you have enough of the floral fabric to cut a new sleeve? I’d second the suggestion to try adding a bit more bicep ease & then keep the airplanes out by elasticating the sleeve hem. But probably best to test it with muslin / scrap silkies to see if it gives you a silhouette you’d be happy with. Or use a raglan sleeve that you like that isn’t binding, and get matching net / stretch fabric to use for the sleeve?

    Lastly, love love love you print mix. They go so well together what with the same sort of red in both prints!


  8. well you have so many successes that an occasional clunker is just a sign that you are trying new things. I like the colors on you but I agree, just not your pattern. Short sleeves that are constricting are the worst! By the way – you know I am a BIG fan of your blog and your writing but often find it difficult to read, the font color/contrast etc doesn’t show up well. Although it does fascinate me how the borders and backgrounds change, like magic 🙂


  9. The model looks nice, inspiring. Your fabric is beautiful! Sorry you’re not happy with the dress. It happens sometimes. Last time it happened to me I chopped off the top and used the bottom as a skirt… That’s as far as my patience went … sadly. Funny post, enjoyed reading it! Is there really as ad with a unicorn?? Would love to see it!


  10. It looks so cute on you! I don’t think it looks too poofy. Too bad about the sleeves though. I hate when that happens. We absolutely must be able to move our arms for those dramatic gestures.

    BTW, I love love love love your new background. The pink text is a bit hard to read though.


  11. These are fantastic colors on you! I definitely would keep fiddling with it until you are more comfortable with it as well. If for no other reason than it goes so well with those beautiful tights and shoes! I would slash the sleeves from the hem up it until it feels comfortable, then take a very narrow bias strip and bind it. It might be tricky to get it to lay right though, but then you’d have a fly away sleeve that would be a new design element!


  12. You are truly a visionary with pattern combining – I swear in a million years I would never have thought of that, but you did it and it looks great!! I know you’re up to the challenge of fixing those sleeves – what about a small tulip sleeve? I can never figure out why patterns are always designed for the pencil-armed… I’m always and forever adding bicep room and monkey arm length ^___^


  13. There you go go, expanding my sewing vocabulary with your prose. I am often sewing in “boyfriend” time. The pattern may have failed you, but you matched the hell out of those prints.


  14. bimbleandpimble says:

    You are totes Frankenstein-tastic with your patterns! Tame that puffiness down with your awesomeness- you can totes do it!


  15. Dachshunds!!!!!! Ignore the sleeves, the little regal carpet sharks can feed you for a change! oh, ok, you’re right … Gorgeous fabric – you will make this work 😉


  16. I love that you call your sewing space a bordello. I might have to steal that!

    The fabric combo is gloriously perfect, and if anyone can save this, you can! Given that the sleeves don’t have underarms to adjust, perhaps some form of flutter sleeve? Or, if you’ve got a similar cap sleeve pattern you’ve made before that has sleeves that work, steal the pattern piece? I have faith in you, regardless!


Something lovely to share?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s