I followed the Butterick B4790, or the Walk Away Dress.
This dress pattern has an interesting history. Released in 1952, The Walk Away Dress was intended to be a flattering but easy to sew dress that could be started in the morning and “walk-away” with it finished at lunch. A practical post-war/post Depression dress for a busy person, but it still allowed for a little bit of vitality to an otherwise rationed fashion.
For me, it took a bit longer than three or four hours. I started the whole process (measuring myself and cutting out the pattern) a little after 11am and ended at 4:45, with the intention of doing some additional final work. I do think someone with experience could knock this out quickly.
My notes on the pattern: I opted for a size above the size for my measurements. I wanted to leave plenty of room for mistakes and customized hemming. I’m glad I made that choice. I’m not sure that methodology would work on a more complicated pattern, but perhaps because it was simple it worked very nicely.
Fabric: I selected a heavier cotton fabric with bigger print. (Sound of Music, here I come!)
Dress: I’m happy with the fabric. It happened to actually be some thicker cotton fabric for furniture we had in my family home, but the pattern is lovely for this style of dress. Additionally the skirt keeps a fuller shape because the fabric is heavier but it’s also very breathable and very comfortable.
I didn’t do the recommended bias tape along the edges. I felt as though it would have structured the dress in an unnecessary way, given the pattern and how the fabric lays. Instead, I hemmed all of the edges.
I brought in the shoulder straps by an inch pinched in on both sides (keep in mind I went a size up with the pattern). The bigger size ultimately worked well for the binding, as 1) because this is a customizable dress I could cinch it in at my waist and 2) it left a fuller skirt.
The only thing I need to finalize is how I bind the skirt to the front. I was debating between having the back skirt gather to the sides (I’ll include a photo for that idea below), but ultimately decided having the skirt come fully to the front is more flattering on me. What I’m thinking I’ll do is use clips in such a way that I can have both options available to me. Have it all!
Additionally I think I’ll take in the bust area a little, reduce the shoulder band, and possibly eventually change the neck line to a more interesting shape. I’m happy with it overall though. I’ll update this post when that’s been finalized.
That’s that! The pattern was easy to follow. Great pattern for beginners. A little disclaimer-I’m not an expert. Just documenting what I did with this. This is my third sewing project from scratch.
With thanks to my sewing partner, Mish.