Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics: Butterick 5211 Review

When I see a three-piece pattern labelled “FAST& EASY FASHION EXPRESS 1 HOUR PATTERN”. I think: That’s probably a lie. I bet it does not take one hour.

I think: I bet it takes probably four.

But this little lady. She took me about eight. Maybe nine. I stopped counting.

sway back if i ever saw one IMG_0990 oh hey tailbone wrinklenumbers lie. <— Pretty little liars.

And now it’s taken me two months to blog it. But we moved and now I have a much prettier exposed brick wall backdrop, so there’s that.

And the delay also means I can attest to its wearability. It has been to: Several days in the office. One bachelorette party (my own. there are other pictures of me taking a bottle of champagne to the face in this dress but you will have to imagine them. they are secret photos.) And one emergency medicine residency graduation dinner.

The fabric is black silk satin from Fabric Mart that is underlined with strangely unbreathable cotton voile that traps in my summer walking outside sweat juuuuust enough to be noticeable. By me.

In terms of useful pattern information:

1. I SHORTENED HERE, two inches total. One inch at the horizontal rib cage area and another at the hip area. I’m 5’3″. In the end, I only turned up 1/2 inch at the hem and sewed it down, so perhaps one of the SHORTENED HERE reductions only needed to be 1/2″. shortening lines 

Actually, I really like that I had that option. For as much whining as people (myself, at the top of this post) do about big-box company patterns, the shorten/lengthen here lines are super helpful. Maybe they’re hard for the smaller guys to do? But it is so worth it for the shorties (and, I assume, the tall-ies?). Skinny Bitch Curvy Chick patterns have this, I know, but others don’t and then I wind up with a crotch rise that goes to my sternum.

2. I used the finished garment measurements to decide on sizing. I did a size 10 at the bust (38″ FG), 8 at the waist (37″ FG), and 10 at the hips (39″ FG).

3. If I made this again, I would take 1″ out from the center back seam at the neck, gradually reducing to nothing at about the waist. The stupid little keyhole back constantly comes undone because of the extra fabric. My conical sparklebutton (harvested from a green cashmere sweater that ACTUALLY had like ten conical sparklebuttons running down the front) probably doesn’t help.

oh hey paleneck.

4. I used french seams. Except at the centerback, because I forgot. And then I was too lazy to re-do. Just straight up zigzagged to finish, which looks terrible on the inside but you’re not looking.

5. There is no vent and the skirt is straight. I like the look, but when I walk somewhere quickly, even in these tall shoes, my stride is restricted a little. F your I.

6. I did a facing at the collar for the first time. I feel like my neck area is very padded. It’s okay.

7. I made the waist belt thing 50% longer. The pattern calls for two pieces of the same length to be sewn together at the ends. I cut out three and sewed them together end-on-end. I can now wrap the belt around twice, which gives it a more cummerbund-y look. Which I like, but to each their own.

8. If I did this again, I think I would actually do a 1-inch sway back adjustment. Look at that above-butt fold catching the light and just just waiting to be pinched out:

oh hey tailbone wrinkle

9. Those cap kimono sleeve things are just eh, right? Kind of wrinkly and not drapey, and this was some drapey ass fabric.

But those shoes are not eh. They are Clarks. Yes, like the comfort shoe brand. I feel smug every time I wear them. Secret slippers.


      1. It definitely worked out, the dress was super cute on and with the other mods when you make it again it will look even better! Im working on a dress today for the oldest, I’m hoping it does together quick! Fingers crossed!!

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