Butterick/McCall's, Dresses, Vintage

Finally back online – and Butterick Retro 5032, the Glamorous Sheath

Hi everyone!

Here’s Butterick 5032, a sheath dress from 1952.

What drew me most to this pattern were the box pleats at the waist, a detail I’d long wanted to find in a pattern for a sheath dress. I also liked the waist seam, which made a difference from my usual princess-seamed or vertical-darted sheath dresses.

I was also hoping the square neckline and polka dots would help make the dress stand out from the usual crowd of “little black dresses”. I was a little unsure of the square neckline at first – I don’t think these are the most flattering of décolletés – but I guess it’s good to stray from one’s comfort zone every once in a while.

It may be a bit too long for my liking (and body type), and I’m considering taking the hem up an inch; then again the dress wasn’t intended to be worn any shorter (the pattern shows an even longer hemline, but that would be a no-go with my short legs), so I’m undecided. What are your thoughts?

I kind of bought the necklace for the dress. I mean, I’d long been wanting a long string of pearls (coloured, to step up from/perky up/jazz up the « pearl necklace » cliché), and I’ll definitely be wearing it with other outfits; but I was in the middle of making the dress when I happened upon this one at brocante/handmade fair nestled on a quay in the île Saint-Louis, and the two made perfect sense together in my mind.

My only regret is that I didn’t have a black zipper at hand when I finished the dress, and it being a Sunday, the shops were closed. Hopefully it is not too conspicuous.

Happy stitching!

34 thoughts on “Finally back online – and Butterick Retro 5032, the Glamorous Sheath”

  1. Congratulations on your latest creation Isabelle and glad to read you are back. I like your choice of zipper. It went to look closely only when I read your comment (I didn't even notice it before). Good luck for your work, enjoy your stitching and have fun. Ann

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  2. Hi Isabelle, the pearls are a great addition, in fact I like everything about this dress! It is definitely a LBD with style and looks lovely on you. I'm sure you'll enjoy wearing it on many occasions. So glad you are back, your sewing projects are always inspirational.

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  3. Now that is a very sexy dress. Love the box pleats. You are right, you should take the hem up an inch. And although the neckline is flattering, it seems a bit high. If you made the dress again (and you should, dark red?) you might consider lowering the neckline an inch. Still proper, but more proportional.

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  4. Lovely dress! It's very ladylike and looks great with the pearls.
    I think the lenght is right for that style of dress. (and while I am writing this last sentence I am well aware that I myself still feel a bit weird wearing skirts and dresses just below the kneecap – until 6 months ago my skirt lenghts were either ankle lenght or above the knee). 🙂

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  5. Good to see you back again; the dress is lovely and looks great on you. Do make it again in a different version. Also, apart from the zip tab, I would not have known, and, if that really bugs you, you could perhaps colour the tab with nail lacquer? OllieV.

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  6. So good to see you back on-line. It is such a struggle with my internet connection lately that I hardly post at all. I do get a bit of access to the hi-speed computer at the gym and I will view your photos again there later today. With the poor quality of the computer at home I cannot even see the polka-dots on the dress!
    Have you ever seen the American TV show “Project Runway”? I love to see what new designs they come up with. Some are down-right ugly, but some are really very nice. All create and sew their own designs without the help of purchased patterns. It's amazing. I don't think I could ever do that, although most of my doll patterns I have drawn-up myself. Hope to show some new dolly outfits soon.
    I like the current length of the dress hem. It is in keeping with the vintage look of the 1950's…that narrow, long “New Look”.

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  7. What a great dress! I like the square neckline and the small dots. I think that a shorter hemline would be more flattering–try pinning it up mid-knee and see if you like how it looks.

    Rose in SV

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  8. Welcome back! I've missed you and your lovely kitty. I love the square neckline and everything about the dress. An inch or two shorter would be flattering, too. And, a sleeker shoe without an ankle strap will also make your legs look longer. Love the pearls. Looking forward to seeing more of your projects!

    Sherry in Little Rock

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  9. I think that dress looks great, I love the length too, it fits the style. But then again, it's your dress, the main thing is you feel comfortable in it. But I don't think your legs are short, you are very pretty!

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  10. There she is and looking sooo lovely too! The dress is fantastic, Isabelle! I love the petite polka dot print and wait pleats–nice changes from the “usual”. Being short/petite I too have a problem with hems and necklines. I think the hem length here is very attractive–not too short, not to long. And with your long necklace the neckline really works. Terrific job! Glad to see you back online. Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS))

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