Do not, I repeat, Do NOT follow instructions

When I got the bodice done and held up the skirt for Butterick 5485, it was just too–well–


and precious…

like for a 6 year old.

It is now a top and much better.  I’m not done yet, but I’ve run into some gotchas and thought I’d share.

My mind being much more attuned to fixing Mr H than sewing, I’ve been casually following the printed instructions for my new Butterick dress-now-top.  They have you construct the bodice, line it, then attach it to the skirt and *finally* put the zipper in.  There are two big issues with this construction order, IMO.

First, you can’t fit as you go because the bodice side seams are inside the lining by the time you get to the skirt.

Second, the zipper application is tacky, tacky, and TACKY.

Tacky or not, I did it anyway.  They have you fold in the upper edges of the zipper tape and apply it to the back of the top.  They drew it neatly, but yours won’t be.

zipper instructions

Mine most assuredly is not:

My zipper

I realized afterward that they wanted the tape ends to wind up underneath the zipper and mine is on top.  It wouldn’t have made any difference because those little ends aren’t going to stay where you put them long enough to be sewn down.  I suppose I could have stitched them in place by hand, but I didn’t have the presence of mind to consider that last Sunday afternoon.

At least they can’t be seen from the outside.

Despite all that, I think it turned out really cute!  (It’s not hemmed yet.)  Not that I can wear it.  Remember the inability to fit as you go?

Top front Top Back

When I make this again, I’ll change the sewing order so that I can pin fit with my nice 1-inch side seams and put in a decent zipper.

I think I’ll sew in this order:

  1. Back darts
  2. Front gathers
  3. Upper bodice to midriff sections
  4. Skirt to midriff, front and back still separate
  5. Insert zipper in back  (easier flat, right?)
  6. Stitch shoulders
  7. Pin fit side seams
  8. Assemble bodice lining
  9. I might partially insert the bodice lining at this point
  10. Side seams, finish bodice lining
  11. Hem

That should result in a neat garment that will not be snug on my hips.  As for this one, I’ll hem it and wait to see if a few pounds to melt away.

I’ll just call it practice.

Brunhilde needed something new to wear.

Butterick 5485 Alterations

Back bodice alterations

Trying to help Mr H move his right foot and form those new pathways in his brain is strenuous work, and I’m sore all over.  My knees whine at night like a mosquito looking for a place to rest.  I was (clearly) not cut out to be an amateur physical therapist but I’ll press on, because this is important work we’re doing here.

Somehow this week I’ve managed to alter the back bodice of the Butterick dress. (Say that three times, fast.)

In the photo you may be able to see what I’ve done: Shortened the center back for swayback 3/8ths inch, and made some room for my forward shoulders and shoulder blades.  I used a method that I came up with back in March, 2008 that I blogged about here. I think it will work very well for this dress.

Besides the changes on the back, I lengthened the skirt 2 inches to make it cover my knees. I did not make it the dress any bigger in the hips or bust, because the finished garment measurements promise that it will be adequate. I don’t especially trust their measurements to have what I need where I need it, so I’ll cut with 1″ side seams for insurance.

The pattern is laying on the fabric ready to be cut, and I will have enough fabric for the front overlay. I realized this morning that I need to double check the depth of the neckline before I commit this to cloth, so I’ll have to do that one last check before I cut.

It shouldn’t be long before I can thread up the machines!

Home again, home again…

We’re ba-ack!!

Mr H has completed his three weeks of Constraint-Induced Motion (Movement?) Therapy at UAB and we returned home on Friday.  They took away his cane while we were there, and now he is walking with only the aid of a trekking pole.  He has three month home program to complete before we’re officially done.  We can definitely see some improvements in his walking already, especially in speed and confidence.

The home program will take some getting used to.  He has a sheet of therapy exercises, including stretching, electronic muscle stimulation, strengthening and shaping tasks to complete each day.  On Saturday and Sunday it took us four hours to get through each day’s sheet.

Between that and Mt. Washmore, I didn’t get any sewing done.


I am starting work on a project, however.

As promised, while I was in Birmingham I kept up with my sewing blogs.  Debbie posted a new Butterick dress pattern that I just loved.  Then, BMV conveniently put their stuff on sale and through the magic of the Internet, Butterick 5485 was waiting for me when I got home.

Late Sunday I traced it off and put in a couple of known alterations.  While the Mr is gone to his men’s group tonight, I’ll do a tissue fit.  I traced off a 12 in attempt to get the shoulders a little closer, so I know there’ll be some circumference issues to deal with here and there.  I hope to cut it from a piece of Louise Cutting’s linen that’s been aging in my stash for about 4 years.


I bought it to make one of her boxy tops before I realized that all those square shapes didn’t suit me, so I might be short a half yard or so.  If there’s not enough, I could leave off the skirt drape since the dress has a full front underneath.  I do like the mock-wrap, so I’m sure I can find another fabric that’ll work.

Glad to be back!