The Hundred Dresses: Day 66

by Erin on August 7, 2013

This one is definitely dug out from the time capsule. It’s been hanging in my “active duty” closet, but I’m not sure if I’ve worn it in the past year. It’s (mostly) Butterick 2344 — I know I used a different (circle) skirt pattern:

yellow broken plaid Butterick 2344 front

I originally made this dress in early 2006, to give one of the first “big-conference” talks I ever did.

yellow broken plaid Butterick 2344 bodice

It’s funny to look at these older dresses now — I see all sorts of things I’d do differently today. It looks like perhaps I didn’t pre-wash this piping …

yellow broken plaid Butterick 2344 midriff

Boy, I wish I had more of this fabric. I remember I bought it at Paron’s, and it wasn’t even in the sale section. I loved it that much. Such a sucker for broken plaids, I am. Looking at it now, though, I’m wondering if maybe it was upholstery fabric? It’s almost that weight. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

And this is probably the ONLY back-zip dress I currently own (that’s not vintage):

yellow broken plaid Butterick 2344 back

I know some folks have been asking in the comments “what’s with all the side zips?” and I thought I’d show this dress so I can explain … except there really isn’t a good explanation for why I vastly prefer side zippers; I only have justifications. Which mostly are:

  • I have some lingering shoulder issues from ill-advised and uncoordinated college sports days, which make doing the “reach to the middle of my back” contortion uncomfortable, and I travel alone quite a bit and don’t always have someone handy to help with the zipping/unzipping
  • Back zips are too public, I like my zippers hidden under my arm
  • Back zips are usually much longer than side zips, which means more leeway for things to go wrong
  • Harder to match prints across back zips (for me, at least)
  • I don’t like the extra step to finish the facing nicely at the top of zip (laziness)

That’s pretty much it! No really good reasons, except maybe the first one.

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Doris August 7, 2013 at 2:52 pm

Those are all very good reasons!


peppermintpenguin August 7, 2013 at 7:20 pm

and the side zips cost less? good reasons.

love the grey and yellow, the piping shrinkage is so even it looks like deliberate gathering.


WinterWhimp August 7, 2013 at 11:42 pm

I’ll vote side zip over back zip any day. I’m not sure why dresses still have back zips since most women don’t have maids to dress them anymore.


Hermana Linda August 8, 2013 at 12:17 am

The part I don’t understand is that the side zips don’t appear to go all the way up, so I’m not understanding how much they help with access. Or am I just not seeing them correctly?


KimP August 8, 2013 at 1:28 pm

Erin, maybe you can give us some insight as to where you store your dresses; how many are in the “active closet”; and how you picked your 100 dresses for this dress-a-day exercise. I’m very curious about where you put all these dresses and how you selected them for each post. And what characteristics allows a dress to remain in active duty or not.


waterbear August 8, 2013 at 3:20 pm

Yes, second this! Please do!


Poligirl August 9, 2013 at 12:39 am



Sydnie August 8, 2013 at 3:55 pm

I love love love this series! :) When you have a pattern with a back zip, how do you change it up to use a side zip? Do you cut the back on a fold, or just put a seam there instead of a zipper? What about on the skirt? How do you decide how long to make your side zip? Is that enough questions?? Sorry for the inquisition! :)


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