Tuesday, January 23, 2018

title pic The Lavender 1950s Party Dress – Butterick Retro Pattern 5708

Posted by Edelweiss Patterns on May 6, 2012

A Lavender 1950s Party Dress


Hello Ladies!  Here is my latest 1950s party dress made from the newly released Butterick 5708, a great vintage design which has some details not usually seen in retro reproduction patterns.  I’m having a giveaway for this pattern on my Facebook page which I’ll give more details about in a minute, but first here are a few of my favorite photos of this dress. : )   


Perhaps I haven’t mentioned it before, but my all-time favorite color is lavender!  There is something so refreshing and charming about a very light shade of purple, and for years my closet was stuffed with lavender chiffon dresses, lavender knit tops, lavender high heels, and a lavender tweed skirt.  But after learning that I had “fall coloring” several years ago, I’ve tried to keep my color choices in a more earth-tone sort of palette, and subsequently discarded much of my spring colored wardrobe.


The only problem with this is that I never get to wear my favorite color, so I finally decided to make an exception and sew a 1950s dress from a beautiful lavender satin. 


I don't usually like gathered skirts, but on this dress I think it worked out fine.

I was so happy with the way this dress turned out, and I thoroughly enjoyed using Butterick 5708 which I will give a detailed study of below. 

Materials Used

For this party dress I used the Mystique Satin from Liba Fabrics, which is the best matte satin I’ve worked with.  It has a fine sheen to the material, but is not so stiff as most matte satins and actually drapes quite well. 


The sparkly overlay is something that has been in my stash for about five years, and had actually been used for my first prototype of Liesl’s Dancing Dress nearly five years ago!  But since it was just a prototype and was quite a bit different than the final version of the Liesl dress design, I knew I would never be able to use the dress.  So out came the seam ripper and off came the skirt overlay, and hence I had a perfectly good piece of fabric to overlay this 1950s dress with!


I made the ruffly rosette from 3 yards of thin silk ribbon, which is the same weight as what you can do ribbon embroidery with.  This particular ribbon comes from the May Arts ribbon collection, and it just happened to match the color of satin perfectly!


I also added a sheer floral ribbon along the "v" seam line.

The bodice is embellished with Hot Fix Swaraovski crystals, color Wisteria.  In case you haven’t worked with them before, you might like to read my post from last week about how easy it is to use Swarovski crystals.

Butterick 5708 Pattern Review


I wish the grass hadn't been so vibrant, but it actually wasn't recolored at all!

Butterick Patterns released Retro pattern 5708 in late fall 2011, and I instantly snatched up a copy of it since it looked like such an interesting design.  If you think the pattern cover looks like the famous “walkaway dress”, you’re right – sort of!  I’ve given a detailed comparison of the two patterns below. 


But for now I’ll just mention my experience with the pattern.  I am quite fond of this vintage design, though I had to do some alterations in the bodice.  The gathered skirt is a terrific skirt choice for this design, and I am usually not fond of waist gathers at all!  As with most reproduction vintage patterns, the bodice fit as is will not look like the perfect 1950s silhouette.  Since I wear a corset with most of my vintage dresses, I had to take in about two inches in the waist.  I could have used a little more ease towards the top of the bodice, but I am actually a size larger up top than in the waist area, so it’s not really the pattern’s fault.  



The fit of the upper bodice is a little constricting, but if I used this pattern again I would use a lighter weight material.

I did added a good inch of width to the shoulder ties, then used a very narrow seam allowance when sewing that part of the dress in order to make the shoulder straps as wide as possible. 

I should add that because this dress has no darts in the bodice, you should not use a heavy fabric for it at all!  The upper portion is cut on the bias, but since you have two layers of the fabric, there won’t be much give to the upper bodice fit unless you use a fabric that is very thin.  Personally I wouldn’t make this pattern again unless I was using a faille, satin charmeuse, China silk (lining weight material), rayon, or very very thin taffeta. 


Dressing up is kind of a lost art nowadays...

A Comparison of Butterick 5708 vs. Butterick 4790 (aka The Walkaway Dress)


  At first glance you might think it is another version of the “walkaway dress” (the 1950s wraparound dress which was edited in 2006 into the current version of B4790).


The famous three hour "walkaway dress".

But after a quick read-through of the instructions, there are actually no similarities at all, except for the triangular seam in the front which is closely associated with Butterick 4790. 

I’ll start with a comparison of the bodice details and work my way down. 

  1. First of all, Butterick 4790 snaps in the back and closes in the front, while Butterick 5708 has a side zipper closure. 
  2. Secondly, Butterick 5708 has an actual triangular shaped seam in the front and back of the bodice, while Butterick 4790 has no triangular lines at all, contrary to the pattern illustration on the front. 
  3. Thirdly, there’s the obvious shoulder ties for Butterick 5708, (contrasting with regular shoulder seams for 4790), and no darts in 5708, while Butterick 4790 has quite a few.
  4. And lastly, this new design has a gathered skirt which is simply a rectangular pattern piece, while Butterick 4790 is a half-circle shape for a widely flared skirt with a smooth waist area and no gathers at all.

That being said, my version looks much more like the “walkaway dress” than Butterick’s version does because I added an overlay which splits in front, looking very much like 4790’s wraparound skirt.  (You can see my three versions of Butterick 4790 here.)


Butterick Retro 5708 Giveaway!

Finally, I am giving away one copy of Butterick 5708 on this Edelweiss Facebook page this week!  Simply “Like” our page, then leave a comment underneath the givewaway post on our Facebook page.  The contest is open to international contestants as well, and the winner will be randomly chosen on Sunday, May 13th, 2012.  The winner will be announced on the Facebook page, and will be contacted for a mailing address.  If within one week after contacting the winner I have still been unable to get a response, a second winner will be chosen instead.  The pattern  that is being given away has pattern sizes 6-14 in one envelope. 


Have a wonderful week!

Happy sewing,