Butterick 4443 - The "Spring Confections" Dress

9:00 AM

My latest finished item is another former UFO. Hooray for getting those pesky flying saucers into the closet! Last summer, I had dragged Brandon into Jo-Ann's to look at the new Lisette fabrics. (Poor guy!)  What was probably 45 minutes later, while I was trying to talk myself into a printed blue one, Brandon, likely eyeing the exit, saw this fabric by the door.  He turned me around and told me this fabric looked much more 'me'.  He was right, of course.




What I am holding you ask?
A vintage Longaberger picnic basket and a lemon cupcake in a pink and green liner, baked especially for the photos

You may have noticed my admiration for pink and green in my queue posts.  It's actually one of my favorite color combinations and I thought this one, with its touches of white and yellow, was adorable.  The plaid asked to be a strapless a-line.  The busyness of the print would have looked off next to my face.  However, having only made one strapless dress to date and hating them in general really, I was a bit daunted by the idea.  Knowing the biggest issue I had with them was their tendency to fall down (ugh!), I took a cue from a rtw dress and decided to add a built-in corselette.

The corselette is not nearly as difficult to add as it may sound.  I cut a third bodice piece from sheermist batiste and basted it together to check for fit.  Being the supporting layer, I wanted to get it to fit as closely as possible without being tight.  Luckily, this pattern has princess seems, which were very easy to alter to my shape and the perfect setting for the boning.  Once I had the fit the way I wanted it, I sewed each seam permanently, pressed the seams open, trimmed them, and attached channeled featherweight boning to each, centering it over the seamline.  I trimmed the lower edge of the corselette with 1/4" bias tape.  This secured the boning and finished the edge, since it wouldn't have a skirt attached.  Then, I sewed the corselette to the lining at the neckline to be treated as one layer from then on.  Easy right?

Note: the corselette does not lay down completely in the dress because it is slightly smaller than the outer layers.
Also note: the blue dots have since washed out ;-)
I should note that the corselette layer is slightly smaller all-over and roughly 1/2" smaller at the waist to ensure it stays put.  Also, I recommend using a stronger cotton so it can handle the pull of the boning curve.  Mine certainly does its job though and I was able to wear it all evening without adjusting it once!  Woo hoo!

Now, on to the rest of the dress.

This dress was my first attempt (remember this was last year) at plaid-matching. I had barely enough fabric to work with but I carefully laid out each piece, selecting one of the lines to match thoughout.  I was so proud.  Until I started stitching it together... this fabric had a directional plaid!  This means, I should have chosen two lines to match instead of one.  There are places on this dress where the big green stripe matches but the pink group is upside down so it looks just off. Oh well.  From any kind of distance, it seems to look close enough.


For the lining, I also used batiste and had originally cut it out with the original pattern pieces.  However, this added too much bulk to my hips so, I trimmed it down to more of a sheath shape.  Problem solved.

I added horsehair braid to the outer hem to encourage it to keep its a-line shape.  It's too short to be worn with my petticoat.  Oh! And I added pockets!  While I am, in theory, excited about this. I should have made them from Ambiance instead of the batiste lining. They have a habit of bunching against the lining adding bulk to that usual dreaded area: my hips.

The final touch?  I baked cupcakes! He he  This dress reminded me of spring desserts so, I thought it would be cute if I held a cupcake wrapped in a matching pink and green liner.  Too bad when it came time to take the photos, I forgot to not cover the wrapper.  At least I had the basket :-)


For more ramblings about this dress, check it out on Sew Weekly.

Have you tried adding structure to a garment?  Would you try sewing a corselette?

Happy sewing! x

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16 comments

  1. Amazing dress Jen!!!!!!! Absolutely amazing. I want to make a strapless dress one day!

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    1. Aww, thank you, Neeno! If you're looking for a strapless dress pattern, this one has princess seams. I know you love princess seams! Hint hint ;-)

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  2. wow that's an awesome dress and i love the corselet instructions! i've wanted to make a corselet for a while and am less worried about it now. thanks!

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    1. Thank you, Kristin! I'm so glad I've eased your mind a bit about making one. There's really not much to it! But, of course, if you do have questions, feel free to email me!

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  3. Interesting reading about how you constructed the corselet. I really prefer strapless sundresses in the summer so I really ought to learn how to construct one!

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    1. Thank you, Amy! I'm so pleased you found it interesting. Strapless sundresses can be great, provided they stay in place. If you do make one, please share!

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  4. Really, really cute! Brandon has great taste! Sewing a corselette sounds really intimidating, but yours really looks great!

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    1. Thank you! Hehe, doesn't he? Oh no, I was hoping it would sound fairly easy (because it is). If there's something I could explain in a better way, please let me know.

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  5. Your dress is so cute! I never added boning to anything (bat costumes don´t count, do they?) and its in my to-lern list. I hope I can make a strapless soon!

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    1. Thank you, Merche! Sure, the costumes count! Adding boning to a dress wouldn't be much more difficult. (Of course, I can't speak for using spiral steel - which is on my to-learn list). I'd love to see your strapless dress if you make one!

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  6. This dress is very you. I love this pictures with the picnic basket, kinda makes me want to go on a picnic (but it's raining).

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    1. Thanks, Annabelle! Shamefully, we've never even used the basket for a proper picnic. Hopefully, we will this summer though. I do hope your weather has cleared!

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  7. He is right, the combination of green and pink so beautiful, you made ​​a dress of great beauty and sparkle, as if the dress tells the stories of the lives of the beautiful spring day in the memories of women, you look great.

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    1. Why thank you! What a lovely compliment!

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  8. Beautiful fabric, beautiful dress. Very spring feeling.

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