It’s not a shirtdress, but …

by Erin on February 20, 2008


Butterick 6183

I had to have it. You understand why, don't you?

First off — those little button flaps! Adorable! I really, really hope they actually button, but if they don't, well, I have ways of MAKING them button.

I've made variations of this pattern every summer for years — short kimono-sleeved bodice and big full skirt. They're cool and breezy to wear and make up great in lightweight cottons — even quilting cottons, which often don't hang right in a narrower skirt.

And the six-gore skirt is just ideal for adding pockets; it's so easy. (Figure out where you want the pocket to hit on the side gore. Trace the side gore pattern from that spot down to where you want the pocket to stop. Add seam allowances to the top and the bottom of traced pocket piece. You can either line/face the pocket or finish the top with bias binding. Finish the top of the pocket — may I suggest piping? — and turn under the bottom seam allowance. Top-stitch turned-under bottom of pocket to gore. If you don't like the top-stitched look, sew pocket to gore across bottom, right sides together, and press the pocket up. Sides of pocket will be secured when you sew the side seams. See? Easy!)

Whew. Sorry for that pocket-making digression. Anyway, I can't wait to get this pattern (from Best Vintage Patterns) and go to town.

And — as for what the women in the picture are saying — I think Yellow Dress just said something like "Check out that guy's butt!" and Black Dress is about to inform Yellow Dress that "That Guy" is in fact the boyfriend of Black Dress. But that's just my take. What's yours?

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Miss Kitty February 20, 2008 at 8:39 am

I love your “conversations” between models on the front of old patterns. Hilarious! In this one, I think there’s a conversation about “Do you ever get that not-so-fresh feeling?” going on. But that’s just me.

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Anonymous February 20, 2008 at 8:44 am

I think yello dress just told black dress “I can’t believe we both wore the same dress to this party! I am absolutely mortified!” Black dress is about to say something snotty, like “But it looks so much better on me!” *Grins*Linda A-Z

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Julia February 20, 2008 at 8:56 am

It’s adorable! I just have to find it in my size now. Wish me luck.

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libby February 20, 2008 at 9:12 am

Yellow Dress: “I can’t believe it, Dahling, we’ve been waiting all year for the Bumble Bee Convention and now were finally here!”Black Dress: “Oh crap! We forgot to swap our center gores!”

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Anonymous February 20, 2008 at 9:48 am

Yellow Dress: My girdle is killing me!Black Dress: At least your dress doesn’t look like it was designed for breast-feeding mothers. Just my take–Karen

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Wendy February 20, 2008 at 10:25 am

I love this dress! What a great way to showcase vintage buttons.Wendy in NM

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R.M. Koske February 20, 2008 at 11:14 am

This pattern brings up a question for me that I’d love love love for you to address, if you can and don’t mind.I thought for ages that I didn’t like dresses (horror!) when the truth is that I don’t like back zippers. Yes, there are ways to make them manageable if you don’t have a helper to get dressed, but I still don’t like them.I was really excited with I discovered the concept of side zips, and immediately tried to convert a back-zip pattern to a side zip. It was a miserable failure. The dress was too tight through the shoulders to get off without the extra zipper space even though the neck was big enough to pull over my head. I thought I was going to have to get someone to cut me out of it.Do you know anything about how one could make that conversion? How do you tell if there’s enough ease through the shoulders for this kind of thing? Or did fashion (apparently) abandon them precisely because they only worked okay and the shoulders are always a problem?

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SteffS February 20, 2008 at 11:26 am

Yellow Dress (leering at “that Guy”): “Do you think he’s wearing underwear under those tight Levis?”Black Dress: “Well, I know, for a fact, that he is, since I see him put them on every morning. I also know that he’s got a thing for his wife, so maybe you’d better back off, Sugar, unless you enjoy being publicly embarrassed.”

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Anonymous February 20, 2008 at 11:28 am

Black Dress to Yellow Dress, “You could at least let me borrow ONE glove!”

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Elle February 20, 2008 at 11:32 am

Yellow Dress: “We’ll take him out after the cake is served. You’ll have to do it, I don’t want to mess up my pretty white gloves.”Black Dress: “Oh, must I(anxious wringing of ungloved hands)? You know how I hate it when the little wire thing goes around their necks and they make that gurgly noise before their eyes role up to the back of their heads. At least I did wear black; white would have been impossible.”BTW, the only thing my parents could say when they saw my now extensive vintage pattern collection (and I don’t mean 80s patterns, I refuse to think of those as vintage) was: “But you have so many similar patterns. Why do you need more?” Details, details. Can’t get enough of the details.

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Elle February 20, 2008 at 11:32 am

Yellow Dress: “We’ll take him out after the cake is served. You’ll have to do it, I don’t want to mess up my pretty white gloves.”Black Dress: “Oh, must I(anxious wringing of ungloved hands)? You know how I hate it when the little wire thing goes around their necks and they make that gurgly noise before their eyes role up to the back of their heads. At least I did wear black; white would have been impossible.”BTW, the only thing my parents could say when they saw my now extensive vintage pattern collection (and I don’t mean 80s patterns, I refuse to think of those as vintage) was: “But you have so many similar patterns. Why do you need more?” Details, details. Can’t get enough of the details.

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Anonymous February 20, 2008 at 11:40 am

The illustration seems to show buttonholes, and bound buttonholes would be really nice on this

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the_lazymilliner February 20, 2008 at 12:21 pm

They’re not talking to each other at all. The gal in the canary-yellow dress is distracted by someone who just walked in the door.

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belphebe February 20, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I love these dresses! They would be so much fun to wear.A favorite blouse pattern that I have made for myself is that short-sleeved kimono-style top. Although, mine consists of just two pieces: the front and the back. It would be much more flattering if I made it with princess seams.As for the pockets, I prefer inseam pockets, so I would either add them to the side seams or the side front seams. But maybe I should try your suggestion and see how it looks.

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Joanna February 20, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Do you think you could pretty-pretty-please post photos now and then of people (yourself or others, makes no difference to me) wearing some of these vintage patterns? I love this one and lots of others that you post, but I have great difficulty picturing how real people (i.e. with normal waists and hips and all) would look in them…

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zimmersarmy February 20, 2008 at 1:13 pm

I spend a great deal of time in the company of my five year old.Recently she picked up a book called “The Contrary Kid” by Matt Cibula.My favorite line from the book is, “You ask me how I’m doing and I say ‘The Porcupine.’ You ask my favorite animal, I say ‘I’m doing fine.’”So in my child infused mind, lady in black just asked yellow how she’s doing. Yellow answered “The Porcupine.” Black responds “Lady in yellow dress say what?!”Or maybe I just want to use The Porcupine into my daily life and am now projecting it on to envelope people.-Janet

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Cookie February 20, 2008 at 2:26 pm

For some reason, I imagine so many of these prim style dresses in gray flannel, worn with white gloves up on a witness stand. Perfect Little-Wronged-Wife outfit, circa 1951.Yellow Dress: I’m going back in there! I forgot to mention he promised to build me a sewing room once, and didn’t.Black Dress: We got the house and the car, and those twins of yours give me hives, anyway. The court will NEVER let us raise them together!

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Cheryl February 20, 2008 at 2:31 pm

There is definately some trash talking going on!

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Mel.J February 20, 2008 at 5:46 pm

Yellow lady is commenting on the lack of pockets, see she’s trying to put her gloved hand in. Black lady is she’s suggesting that a button detail on said pocket would be an attractive idea.

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enc February 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm

Black Dress is about to say: “Tough darts for you, Yellow Dress, but that guy is gay!”Beautiful pattern!

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Latter-Day Flapper February 21, 2008 at 7:04 am

I’m a big fan both of kimono sleeves and side zips (thought I’ve never tried to convert a back-zip pattern to side-zip). It would be inexcusable for those button flaps not to be functional; they are too cool.No, they’re definitely scoping the butts. Black Dress doesn’t look peeved enough to me, though, so I think she’s an accomplice rather than an adversary. In fact, I think she looks slightly shocked, as if pastel-demure Yellow Dress just dropped a hint about exactly how well she was acquainted with that musician that was in the newspaper yesterday. Jazz guitarist. Terrible, wild reputation. Her parents made her come back east to get away from those beatniks in California and she tries to play the part but, oh, once you’ve had a taste of the bohemian life . . .

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Mary February 28, 2008 at 9:21 am

I love the dresses you make they’re so cute! i found a lot of great ones at artfulwears.com- you should check them out!

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