Sunday, 19 April 2015

Butterick 4790; the Great British Sewing Bee Walk-away dress

Along with large amounts of the nation I bought Butterick 4790 after the Great British Sewing Bee.  I'm not absolutely sure why, as it isn't a dress that I think I will have much opportunity to wear, and I have to confess I think I just  got caught up in the programme.  Anyway I had some cheap cotton in my stash from ebay so it hasn't cost too much. 

It's a very difficult pattern to adapt.   I cut a size 14.   I raised the waist by 1" with difficulty as it interfered with the bodice fastening, and I still think the waist could be a touch higher.   Presumably drafted for a B cup I tried to give a little more room for the bust, but it is still pretty stretched there, plus the darts are a little too close together for me.  On the other hand the back looks a little baggy.

The skirt is massive.  I made a stupid mistake cutting out and only cut out one half of the skirt, I only realised this when I was watching the programme again!  I then had to scrimp around to fit another half in, which I actually had to cut in two quarters and then make 3 seams in total in the skirt.  The skirt does have quite a lot of weight in it which does pull down quite a bit.

This isn't a pattern that is easy to make a really good job of.  The loops are just stitched on to hold the buttons, and to me it looks a bit messy.  The most expensive part of the make was the 4 cards of bias-binding I needed.  I hated the satin bias binding.  It frayed and stretched so easily and I found making nice edges difficult.

The front bit is like an apron (in case you are wondering why my dressform wears a bra - its in an attempt to make the shape a little more like me).  You can see the bust is a bit stretched here.

So in summary I think this is a so-so dress and not a pattern I would repeat.  Could you make it in 3 hours, well I think if you weren't too fussy.  I chose to slip-stitch all the bias-binding on, so it took me quite a bit longer.

 This was just one of the garments I sewed in the Easter holidays along with the Sureau dress, a liberty blouse, a skirt and a pair of trousers!  Busy, busy.  I also had a lovely day out with a sewing friend.  We went to Carl Stuart's taylors in Ossett, Yorkshire so he could a bespoke suit made.  Watching a professional taylor of 50 years take the measurements was amazing and then we were lucky enough to look round their factory, really interesting.  The staff working there were amazing, so fast, and I watched the women doing the final pressing for ages.  I could learn a lot from her.

Then we went to Saltaire in Bradford  to have lunch.  Saltaire used to be one of the largest wool producers in the country and it's a fascinating place.

We've also enjoyed some lovely walks including Monty the puppy.

A first swimming lesson   (Dan looks wrapped up for winter here!)

Still so cute!

I've been back at work for a week now, and because we have a major review in two weeks things are very busy and a bit stressed, so my sewing time is even more appreciated.  I'm half-way through a skirt and almost finished another Dior inspired jacket.  What are you sewing?


  1. It is such a unique, fun dress. I think it turned out great. I'll bet it is fun to twirl around in that skirt. Like you, the GBSB prompted me to buy something; the books which contained patterns for garments made during the competitions. Specifically the 1930's blouse from last year, and this year's leather jacket. I am not sure I will ever make them.

    I would love to watch a professional tailor at work. What a wonderful opportunity that was!

    1. Thanks Audrey, I would like to try the leather jacket! Hard to get the leather here in the UK. Lovely to hear from you as I've been following your blog for some tme. Love those coulottes,

  2. Oh I loved that pattern when I saw it on GBSB and I love it just as much here. I think it's one of those dresses that looks easy but turns out to be a nightmare. I think you should be proud of it, it's gorgeous, very retro and fun but also stylish. x