If any of you are familiar with the sewing bee, aka the best TV show in existence, you may also be familiar with Butterick 4790, or ‘The Walkaway Dress’. If this is not the case (dear me where have you been. Pause reading, catch up on the sewing bee and then return immediately) then I shall do my best to explain. So dubbed because one could supposedly “cut it out after breakfast and *walkaway* in it for luncheon”, this pattern is a reprint of a popular vintage 50s dress.
All I can say is if 50s women were making this beast in a single morning they were flipping machines. The main time suck on this dress was the 5-6m of bias binding which is applied to the edges. So if ladies making this in the 1950s edged it in bias binding they must have known something I don’t about it’s application.
Anyway, this dress nearly didn’t get made at all. Soon after the pattern arrived I was given (very generously) a roll, yes a whole roll, of something dark blue and silky. I think its a lining of some kind. Thinking I might get a wearable muslin out of it, in June I began cutting out a walkaway dress. However, I hit a major snag in that the fabric wasn’t wide enough to fold in half to get the front piece out as a whole. I quickly abandoned the blue silky walkaway, stashing the pattern for the perfect fabric. I was prepared to wait years. As it turned out I only had to wait until September.
Isn’t she pretty? Could you have left her there? I thought not.
The “there” in question was the sewing and craft show I went to in September 2015. I spotted the little bunnies and instantly my mind went PING! Alice in wonderland style walkaway! SOLD. Anyway, I got it home and cut out (a beautifully simple process. It only had three pieces!).
Now, the construction. In essence it’s a tabard, an over-the-head jobby of the like worn by dinner ladies but with a big skirt that wraps around and cinches the waist. The front fastens round the back and the back skirt is brought to the front and fastens with 3 buttons under the bust. It is shaped with darts but the fit left something to be desired . The armholes were a tad gapey and the big skirt rested a little low.
Unfortunately I was on a bit of a roll with the bias binding and attached it all before properly checking the fit. But like I said, there was so much and it took so long there was no way I was re-doing it, so I made my adjustments anyway. I took in the shoulder seams about 1cm, and after toying with an FBA and a tuck in the underarm (the bit that came from the back to the front), I decided that if i just used button holes instead of loops the front would pull tighter together. This combined with the lifted front from the shoulder adjustments gave it a much nicer line to the waist.
I’m planning on shortening her for the summer. Can’t you just see her floating around the park with some pumps and huge shades? Hard to imagine with the roll neck underneath I know but a girl can dream. Though I might not make another for a while.
I also promise to get better at taking photos. And cropping them down.