Butterick 5520 Black Dress

So, we got the bad news that my husband’s sweet Grandma passed away. She was a lovely lady and just so nice, but she had been suffering for some time now and she is probably in a better place now. We decided to make the trip back to Ohio for her funeral which is really nice in a way, it will be good to see family and pay our respects. I have actually been thinking for a couple a weeks now that if something were to happen to her, that we might be going to a funeral soon and I really should have something to wear. I don’t really have a black dress with any kind of long sleeve that would be appropriate for a funeral in winter, so of course, I needed to make one!

With a quick change of sewing priority from my LWD, I decided to make a classic black dress out of this raglan sleeve sheath dress pattern that I had in my pattern collection, Butterick 5520 view C (the red one on the pattern envelope) with no peplum and omitting the giant 80’s-esqe shoulder pads:

B5520pattern envelope - Copy      B5520

I, of course, had pinned some LBD’s in my Pinterest board that provided some good inspiration ideas for the outcome I was looking for the occasion. Here are some of those dresses I pinned:

KAMALIKULTURE Shirred Long Sleeve Dress    Office Style      Ralph Lauren  Akris - Animal-Patterned St. Gallen Embroidery Wool Dress - Saks.com, $3990

I have this really lovely black tropical weight wool gabardine 1 1/2 yards of 60″ wide end piece from fashion designer Giorgio Armani that I picked up a Mill End Store in Milwaukie, OR a few months ago, just enough to squeeze out this dress. I also had some black lightweight silk habotai on hand for the lining. Both are perfect for this dress.

I would love to do some sort of design twist on this pattern, for example, using leather, lace or some sort of embellishment for the sleeves, but decided that a) I don’t have time to fuss with it, and b) I want to keep it simple, versatile and not show-y for the occasion. Again, next time!

So I started cutting out the pattern right away, but got side tracked by little Gidget who decided to lay right on my pattern tissue pieces and refused to move until she received a belly rub and several kisses! Aw, Gidge!


Moving on, I had to do some real puzzlework to figure out how to layout and fit all of my pattern pieces on to my fabric, but finally came to a good layout that worked:

B5520table layout - Copy

I was able to add 1″ in length to the bodice front and back (after comparing to my pattern sloper that I made for myself in patternmaking class, I could see I needed to add at least an inch to the bodice so that it fit at my waist and was not sitting to high up too on my body), cut out and mark both the outer dress and lining fabric pieces, overlock all of the pattern pieces of the outer dress and lining, sew and crank out the bodice outer part one night, and got this far:

B5520bodice front - Copy

Not to bad for one night!

Last night, I rushed home after work and got started back to sewing most of the rest of the dress, staying up after 1 am to try to finish, as we leave late tonight and I am nearly out of time! I did get pretty far, though and only have to hand slip stitch the lining to the inside of the zipper and around the waist seam, finish sewing the hem, and sew on a hook and eye at the top of the back opening.

Luckily, the fit is pretty darn good for just trusting the pattern measurements and feel that I can actually wear it and not feel like a big sausage.  Here is a photo of my dress so far. It is very hard to see the details of the seams and such, so it does look like a somber black blob, but hopefully once I have it on and I am all ready to go, it will look decent and as I hoped for the wake and funeral:

B5520 - Copy           B5520II - Copy         B5520III - Copy

I will be bringing my sewing supplies and my battery operated tiny hand held sewing machine on the trip to Ohio to finish off the dress, and hopefully, get to finish my LWD and enter it in the contest. Wish me luck!

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