Minerva Crafts Blogger Network: Butterick 5559 sheath dress

Tuesday, December 24

My project for this month is not for the faint hearted. Don't get me wrong. Butterick 5559 is not a difficult pattern. Far from it. What it is though, is LABOUR INTENSIVE.

I should have read the reviews from other bloggers before picking this pattern, but what can I say? I loved the pattern. I have been admiring it for a long time on other bloggers, and wanted to have a go at it, so I have no one but myself to blame.

For this project, I selected a turquoise ponte roma knit fabric. This fabric is absolutely luscious, and I love the fact that it behaves like a woven fabric, minus the fraying, and it is stretchy enough to hide my many lumps and bumps. You can find it in 21 colours here. I am  definitely going to buy more of this fabric for future projects. I call it my "no hassle fabric".

 So, back to the pattern.

It is a sheath dress, which is good for me because my body proportions are all over the place. I cut a size 14 for the bodice, and then graded out to size 20 at the hips. I have a feeling after Christmas I shall be grading out to size 22.

The pattern like I said before, is easy, but quite tedious. It has 7 darts which are placed between 14 1/4 inch tucks, which when sewn, are hidden. Genius non? Tracing the fold lines for the tucks was not remotely amusing. You have to make the tucks on the right side, so what I did was machine baste the lines directly on the pattern with the pattern pined to my fabric. In hindsight, I should have used wax paper and traced the lines unto the wrong side of the fabric, then use that as my guide to machine baste the lines. My pattern is now completely destroyed, because I had to rip it off my fabric after basting. If you want to have a go at this pattern, don't make the same mistake I did.

When doing the 1/4 inch tacks, you have to be very accurate. I think I rushed things a bit, and the sides are not as aligned as I would have loved. I can live with the way they are though.

The dress runs short, so if you don't like short dresses, you will need to add some length to it.I added about 4 inches to the hem, but I think I should have added more because after hemming it, and all those tucks, it went to my knees, and I am not even tall.

I am actually quite happy with the dress. Mr.Dibs was impressed, and in his own words, "hmm, you know what you are doing sometimes". I'll take that as a compliment, thank you

If you want to read more about this dress, and various ways to help with the construction, you can check out this pattern review page on it.There are 37 reviews on it. If you want to brave it, you can buy the kit to make it here.

Merry Christmas everyone, and see you all next year.

Make your own Catherine Middleton engagement dress

Friday, December 6

Ok, so I have not been around these parts for the longest time ever!!
I had such grande plans at the start of November. None have been realised. The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed I did not even post a Minerva Crafts project in November. What can I say? Life happened. So many things happened last month, more on that on another post. For today though, we have the privilege of hosting Adrienne of All Style and All Substance

I first met Adrienne when she lived in the UK. She currently lives in Sweden. sigh! I have long envied Adrienne's country hoping. It feels like every time I read her blog, she has moved to another country.Adrienne is kindly showing us how to dress like the Duchess of Cambridge as part of the Wrap dress project. 

For those of you who don’t know me: Hello! My name is Adrienne and I blog over at All Style and All Substance. I’ve been a regular reader of Dibs of the Machines and it’s an honour to write this guest post today!

When I saw that Dibs was doing a wrap-dress sewalong, nothing was going to stop me. I was going to take part. Wrap dresses are my favourites!

But what wrap-dress sewalong would be complete without the wrap dress of all wrap dresses, namely, Catherine Middleton’s engagement wrap dress by Issa London?


Today, I’ll show you how to make your own engagement dress with a few simple tweaks, using a basic shawl-collared wrap-dress pattern, such as Vogue 8827.


1)     As we know, in dressmaking, picking the right fabric is half the battle. In this case, pick a fabric having extreme drape. It’s also preferable to pick a stretchy fabric.
2)     Make your dress following the instructions as you normally would, making sure the belt is wide enough (at least 3 inches, I would say) and long enough (so you can wrap it around your waist 2,5 times). During construction, omit any steps for side ribbons or snaps on the inside. Also hold off hemming your dress. If you’re using pattern Vogue 8827 as a base like I did, make View B with long sleeves, and cut three belt pieces instead of two, so you’re making the belt 50% longer.
3)     Sew the panels together down the middle. In order to determine where to sew, try on your dress and let both panels hang down the front. Mark on your dress the point where you would like the center front seam to begin (and the neck opening to end). With the dress on a flat surface, draw a straight line from the marking to the bottom of the front opening, as in the picture bellow. Stitch on that line.

4)     You’ll see that the hem will be irregular. Before hemming or cutting anything, hang your dress overnight, to let gravity pull your dress.

Thanks for allowing me to share this tutorial with you, and I’ll hope you’ll enjoy you Catherine Middleton knock-off dress! Happy sewing everyone!

P.S.: For more construction details and pictures of my dress, feel free to stop by!


Thanks Adrienne for such an informative post. This will hopefully spur me to make my own wrap dress this weekend. I say "Hopefully" because I have learned the hard way in the past 30 days not to plan too much.

What about you, have you made your own dress yet?