So I made my own!
First up - apologies for the rushed nature of the photos (yep, there's still some pins on the straps) but it was about to pour down with rain and this was my only chance to get photos for a while!
The Gertie/Butterick B6019 is finally done, and what a journey. This pattern is not for the faint-hearted.
I nearly gave up twice, but in the end it's a lovely dress.
It really needed a bolero, so I made the this cute little one from Butterick 6087, circa 1952. The bolero was the exact opposite of the dress - super easy and fit perfectly out of the envelope.
- Difficulty - bloody hard! This dress was the most fiddly thing I have ever made.
- The Pattern - I don't think it was written very well. A lot of the instructions are counter-intuitive to an experienced sewer, and I still can't figure out why I was asked to do certain things.
- The Fit - I went by the finished measurements on the printed pattern, and not the envelope measurements (i.e. the envelope was telling me to make a size 18 bust and 22 hip - I made a 16 bust and 20 hip). I do think the final fit is flattering, and if I followed the envelope sizes I would be swimming in this dress.
The lined bra cups - that was a neat idea!
I also liked the shirring, it was my first time and I didn't know it was that easy to do.
Where do I start...
1. There's no way two bits of flimsy boning are going to keep a D-cup up. Ever.
2. The skirt was really short! I added two inches to the hem, and wished I added four instead.
3. The skirt doesn't offer enough coverage for my liking, i.e. the split is a tad revealing.
4. My skirt pleat doesn't look as dramatic as the pattern's example.
5. I had to unpick certain parts (the skirt + bodice, the sash etc) and re-sew a few times to get the fit or shape right.
Lengthened the skirt by two inches.
Added crossover straps.
Sway back adjustment.
Here's some close ups, firstly the front:
You can see the bust cups really stand up on their own.
The shirring worked really well.
Here's a close up of the bolero:
The fabric made me think of an Alfred Shaheen tiki-dress when I saw it.
It's from Spotlight, and is a traditional hand-printed cotton from the Babbarra Women's Centre. They're empowering indigenous artists by printing their fabric designs commercially and giving them money from the sales.
Mine is a lovely brown, ochre and cream design called Waterlily Flower, by Deborah Wurrkidj.
The fabric was really tricky to pattern match, and I think it took me two hours to get it right.
I'm also going to let you in on a little secret - I sew these little bra clips (from Spotlight too) into my dresses so I can wear strapless bras without them falling down. Shhhh, don't tell anyone!
Well, I'm glad it's finally finished, and this outfit is coming to Viva Las Vegas with me.
If you've been thinking of sewing this pattern, definitely give it a go but don't get down-hearted if it's a bit of a struggle. Unpick, resew, keep going - you'll have a killer dress in the end.