Speaking of Challenges: Butterick 5030, Part One

In general, I feel that I am a fairly fearless sewist/knitter/crafter.  I’ll take on whatever project I’m interested in and slog through until it’s acceptable, or it’s in a ball in the corner, and I typically (eventually) come to peace with whichever comes to pass.  However, everyone has their kryptonite, and mine is sewing for others.

It’s a fear that whatever I make won’t turn out as planned, and I’ll disappoint.  I have accepted, as a sewist, that not every project I start on will turn out favorably, but I don’t like the idea of putting that possibility on another person.  On the flip side, I feel that I’ve had a string of pretty successful projects lately.  IMHO.  ;)

And so, it was with part love, part trepidation, and part good ol’ fear conquering spunk, that I agreed to sew a rehearsal dinner dress for one of my oldest friends, C.  C is getting married to her Manfriend in the beautiful hills of northwest North Carolina next month, and soon she will have a pretty, custom made dress to help begin her nuptial festivities!

After poring over several pattern websites, she picked out Butterick 5030:


And we quickly honed in on view C.


We did a bit of online fabric shopping, but ended up at the local JoAnn (so much easier to pick when you can see and touch the fabrics!) and C found this fabulous linen print in the clearance section.  Being primarily white, it’s a bit sheer, so the dress will be underlined with a white linen blend.


First step: muslin.  C’s measurements pretty much perfectly fit a 22 in the waist and hip, and I used an 18 in the bodice (grading out to the waist) and added a 1/2″ FBA.  I typically only add the really essential parts to a muslin, but decided to basically do everything but facings for the fitting, so she could get a good idea of what it would look like.

The back neck, shoulder, waist and the hip turned out pretty great on the muslin.


The V neck gaped a lot, so I pinned out the fullness and will slash the pattern to match, and it seems the my estimated 1/2″ FBA was a bit too small, so I’ll be adding another 1/2″ FBA, which should hopefully add enough volume for her ladies!


The back waist had a bit too much vertical volume, so I’ll either be using a swayback adjustment or shortening the bodice all around.  Though, it seems to be hitting her correctly at the waist in front, so I’ll probably end up doing the former.


C also said the sleeves were a bit up in her ‘pits, which is mostly because I didn’t clip any curves, but I think I will probably lower the armscye a bit just in case.

Had to include this pic because we were laughing about how her pants were around her ankles the whole time…

There is definitely a second muslin fitting to be had for this dress.  I won’t be satisfied that the changes I make to the pattern are truly effective until I see them on her.  I’m hoping to get the dress fitted with just these two fittings, and that any additional tweaks I have to make will be minor enough that they won’t require a third fitting.


10 thoughts on “Speaking of Challenges: Butterick 5030, Part One”

  1. Oh, I recognize your kryptonite! But you can do it, I am certain of it. Great job with the muslin and a second one coming, well, that is just semi-profi. And how wonderful that your friend trusted you with the job, that is a big compliment, don’t you think?

  2. I generally stay mum about sewing just so no one asks me to sew something for them, very nerve racking. When I decide to do it, I just gird my loins for the massive anxiety.

    I do think the bodice needs shortening because there seems to be a fold below the bust in the front and you took out some fabric at the back. And the neckline seems so wide. Does she like it like that? Because sometimes I trace a size that isn’t mine at all just to close in the necklines a bit (I have narrow shoulders so that area is always problematic for me).

    But I do have that pattern and I keep meaning to make it. You make me want to but my To Sew List is sooo long, LOL! Good luck!

    1. I’m glad I’m not the only one who gets anxious when it comes to sewing for other folks!

      Looking again, I do think you’re right about the bodice…I’ll just shorten it all, front and back. I’m hesitant to change the neckline too much because we have a deadline to meet, I believe it has to be finished by May 10th, and there really isn’t time for a third muslin of the bodice. I will probably adjust it so there’s slightly more overlap, though.

  3. Hi, I’ve just discovered you blog and I think it’s wonderful! I’ve nominated you for a Liebster award (hope you don’t have it already?) so if you like you can answer the questions I’ve left on my blog and then pass the award on to 10 other bloggers you enjoy. Good luck with the dress! :)

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