Saturday, April 17, 2010

Watch me 'Walk-away'




I've been working on sewing the Butterick 4790 Walk-away dress, which dates back to 1952. The pattern I used is reissued from the old vintage pattern. Formerly known as Butterick 6015, the reissue can be purchased here and it comes in a variety of sizes. Here's a little bit of info on the pattern:

During the 1950s, Butterick experienced a phenomenon it had not known since the 'Garibaldi Suit' of the late 1860s. It was pattern 6015, and it was dubbed the 'walk-away' dress, because it was so easy you could "Start it after breakfast... walk-away in it for luncheon." It's simple yet flattering wrap design and easy construction were what made it so popular. Sales of the pattern were so great, that at one point manufacturing of all other patterns ceased, and only the 'walk-away' dress was produced until all back-orders for this dress could be filled. (source)

The Walk-away dress is actually the very first dress I've ever made myself! Needless to say, I didn't "start it after breakfast... walk-away in it for luncheon!" In fact, it took me well over a month to complete. I decided to do the version A of the dress with raspberry red linen on the front, yellow floral cotton as the dominating fabric and yellow bias tape to finish off the edges.

I altered the pattern quite a bit. I resized it, moved the bust darts and snipped off about 5cm from the upper back. Unfortunately, I ended up resizing the dress too big, which I didn't notice until when sewing the buttons and and snaps, when the dress was nearly finished. I had to move the button on the front off center so that it would hide the loose fabric and make the dress better fitted. I also ended up cutting away too much fabric from around the armpits. Looking back at it, I should also have shortened the upper front a little bit. Lastly, it would also have been better to use another fabric than the linen because it tends to crinkle so easily underneath the heavier cotton. Oh well, you live and you learn!

Even though the dress is far from perfect, I still like it a lot and will surely wear it often during the summer. It is a great dress for summer picnics and I can see myself wearing it over a swimsuit when walking to the beach. I'm glad that I resisted the more glamorous fabrics and instead made an everyday cotton dress for the summer.

I just LOVE the pattern and I'm sure I'll make several more Walk-away dresses in the future - with the alterations in mind, of course. Perhaps next time I'll go for high glam with emerald green satin. *mm* I've seen so many fabulous versions of the dress that I'd love to try myself.

My next project, however, will be another 1930s skirt in blue polkadot cotton fabric. I saw a really pretty light green floral fabric at a store the other day and I think I shall use it to make the Sense & Sensibility Swing dress in the near future.





Dress - Butterick 4790 Walk-away dress, made by me
Shoes - Early 1950s vintage, from Huuto.net
Lips & nails - Revlon Cherries in the Snow

14 comments:

  1. Very nice work! My first attempt on that dress was a total disaster... first I had to shorten the bodice after the dress was almost finished and then I realised that for some reason I'd picked a color I would never ever use. When the dress was finished I felt kinda stupid and just sold it. Makes me laught when I think about it... ;)

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  2. Una - Thank you! :) Sorry to hear that your first attempt was a disaster. Do you happen to have photos of the Walk-away dresses you've made?

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  3. You look lovely, well done, my first attempt at a dress was a disaster! I have this pattern but have not got around to making it yet, I'll have to give it a go.

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  4. Okay, I loooooooooooooooove this dress! The fabric is pretty and fun and the shape of it is fabulous! I have GOT to get on my sewing machine and just go for it!

    Congrats, it's beautiful on you!

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  5. Little Miss B - Why thank you! You should definitely give it a go. It is supposed to be a simple dress to make in general. I'd love to see photos of yours once you get around to making it. :)

    Maggi - Aww, thank you so much! I appreciate your sweet comment! You definitely need to get a sewing machine and go for it. I'm a total beginner but it's been really fun learning something new that is so useful too.

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  6. What a fabulous dress, you talented gal! I'm smitten with the over-skirt (I've always loved them on dresses, play suits, etc) and the cheerful, vibrant hues you picked, my dear.


    Wishing you a splendid Thursday!!!
    ♥ Jessica

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  7. Jessica - Aww, you're too kind! Many thanks for the wonderful and encouraging comment.

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  8. Riikka, I think I have pictures of my walk-away dresses somewhere. I'll have to post them when I find them...

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  9. Una - Awesome! Would love to see them. :)

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  10. Great job on the dress! From what I've read about people's experiences of making it, it seems that while simple to make, it is difficult to get *exactly right*.

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  11. I love the pattern, and the dress looks very good! :-)

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  12. Anniina - Many thanks! I really love the pattern too.

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  13. I'm soooo glad you put a link to buy the pattern, i got it for $1.99, which is a great deal compared to everywhere else i've looked, can't wait to try it out myself. Thank you!!

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  14. Glad to hear that I was able to be of help. :)

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