Orange and Black Goes Retro for Halloween

DSC_0192a-comp,wWhen I think of Halloween, either costumes or the colors orange and black naturally come to mind. Since I’m the type that rather likes to go historically themed for this holiday, and since we already had something to wear, my Halloween Challenge submission for Sew Weekly is a retro/vintage Butterick dress which I actually made in August.  I put it together just in time for my Birthday, and, by happenstance, my dress matched perfectly with a scarf which was a b-day present from my parents (“picked out” by our 5-month-old) as my belt.  Orange is used in an unusual color combo for my wardrobe, but this cool print can span several seasons to get optimal use.

This dress went together in a flash, fits wonderfully, needed hardly any adjustments, looks great dressed up or down, fits with more accessories than I expected, and has been worn MANY times already.  Its just one of those projects when the everything goes together just right.  Now for a scary mix up of my blog order, here are THE FACTS first instead of last.

THE FACTS:B570760s

FABRIC:  100% cotton, found in the quilting section of Hancock Fabrics, that has a geometric print of orange and black and grey rectangles against a light orange/peach background; bought for about $10 in total

NOTIONS:  had thread and interfacing; just needed to buy a zipper

PATTERN: vintage re-issue Butterick 5707, view B (short-sleeve), originally year 1958

TIME TO COMPLETE: about 5 hours

FIRST WORN:  After my B-day, to F.Y.E., an audio/visual entertainment store, checking out what was on sale.  After this…anywhere and everywhere!  It’s a go-to, throw-on piece.


I made the pattern as is, with no real personalized alterations, just grading between sizes, as usual.  There was a tricky spot on the front of the bodice.  The square panel that connects to the shoulder yoke was hard to sew as a sharp corner in the first place, and then to pull it to the right side and top stitch it down was somewhat frustrating.  However, I did well enough to be happy, but not good enough because I still wish this spot could have been perfect.  This is one of those self-critical things that all artists do – whether they’re artists in paint, fabric, or anything else.

I really love the sleeves to this pattern.  It is very easy to move in and different with the seam down the shoulder.  It’s also roomy enough in the bust that I can go authentically vintage if I want and wear a bullet bra!

DSC_0201a-comp,wOne problem that I did have with the pattern might merely had to do with the slight stiffness of the cotton.  The neckline didn’t drape too well on its own as one might think from the envelope picture.  It was almost awkward unless I kept pulling the neck drape down, but then, who would want something to wear as complicated as that?  So I made an easy and attractive fix and gathered the neckline fabric nicely and tacked it down with some stitches to finally have the easy, uncomplicated dress I wanted.

This was definitely an impulse project.  I knew I needed fabric like I need a hole in my head, but, honestly, at this point I really don’t have much plain 100% cotton in my stash. Actually, what is neat about this project is the fact that I found it along with fabric and supplies for two other of my projects: our little son’s bedroom curtains and an upcoming border print vintage dress.  Yay for future project planning!  Now, time to get to those projects…

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