sewing || butterick 6453

Mr. P. hamming it up...

I recently carved out some time to stitch together Butterick #6453! This is one of the popular dress patterns from Gretchen Hirsch's line for Butterick, and it's been on my wish list for ages. The pattern is a new addition to my stash (thanks to my husband taking a work trip back to the US that coincided with a JoAnn's pattern sale--he was kind enough to stop by and pick up a few patterns for me!), and I knew right away I wanted to sew this up with some vintage fabric I've been hoarding.

(Note: my bust is a bit low in these photos; I'm aware of that. Unfortunately, I don't have a great strapless bra solution right now while I'm nursing!)

I really like the back neckline!

 I went down a pattern size, based on the finished garment measurements on the tissue. I also made up a bodice muslin, which needed a few tweaks (hello, post-two-kids body!). Overall, this was a very easy to fit style--the princess seams on the front make it quite easy. 
  • I curved the princess seams in under the bust more, taking out some excess and allow the bodice to "cup" my bustline and hug my torso.
  • Added 1/2" at the underarm as it was far too shallow.
  • The bust apex was shifted down slightly.

As usual, once I adjusted the pattern and transferred my changes, I traced my final bodice pattern on to Swedish tracing paper. The cutting is straight forward; I opted for view A with the full skirt.

Fabric: a vintage, dead stock sheet. I purchased quite a few in-package sheets years ago at an estate sale and have been hoarding them since! I knew right away that this fabric needed to be matched with this dress when I was considering options in my fabric stash. It's a woven, 50% cotton 50% polyester poplin; a little sheer due to the white background, but not too lightweight.

Sewing: Overall, this pattern was super easy to sew, and I didn't make any major alterations to the construction. I would rate it as a great pattern for an experienced beginner.

Following the pattern the bodice is unlined, but since my textile is a light background I opted to underline  my entire bodice in muslin. To underline I cut out a second bodice from the muslin, stitched the princess seams, darts and joined the side seams. Putting the outer bodice and muslin wrong sides together, I basted all the raw edges (neckline, armholes, back, bottom) together and treated the poplin and muslin layers as one. 

I also opted to change the straps to a tie-style. I've made sundresses in the past that have tied shoulders--which I love the look of! It's not entirely nursing friendly, but can be done (I've done it!). And I'm pretty determined to wear this style now

Final Thoughts: One thing I will change in the future is adding some extra width to the center back seam; I found it a bit narrow with the lapped style zipper.

I also need to continue to tweak the fit a bit. After having each of my children, figuring out what new things I needed to do to alter a pattern is a learning curve--and one that takes a bit of trial and error. With this dress, I could take the waist in a tiny bit more (it's hard to tell in the photos, but it's loose--I think shaving 1/2" off would do wonders, and it still wouldn't be too snug) and shorten the bodice 1/2". I've almost always had to adjust for a long waist, but I guess things have moved around a bit after this pregnancy! Like I said: it's a bit of trial and error. 

This is a perfect, wardrobe-builder pattern. The style reminds me of the Bernie Dexter sundresses I've drooled over for years. The style is classic, and I love that view A includes pockets! (Useful these days to stash crackers or a binky.) I can see myself stitching up at least one more version (I may or may not have ordered a large-scale black & white gingham plaid for another!). Not sure I'm going to tackle view B at any point--pencil skirts are not quite wearable running around after small children these days! I think this too will be a good transition dress as the weather warms/cool with a cardigan thrown over top.


  1. Hi Casey,

    What a beautiful dress, beautiful baby and beautiful pictures!! <3
    Erin, Jodi and I have organized a sewing-motherhood event. I've sent you a message through fbk. I hope you can read it an participate!
    Would love to read your story! <3


  2. You look amazing in this dress. And of course I now had to buy this pattern. Oh, and I can't believe how big Mr. P already is. They grow so fast. My second son is nine days old today. Best wishes to you and your family


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