fall wardrobe: butterick 5030

There’s something so charming about a wrap dress. I designed one in my very first collection, and even now it stands out as one of my favorites. It had short sleeves and a layered, asymmetrical skirt and a sash belt, and I loved it. (See the bottom of this post for photos.) It was part a spring/summer collection, so we made it in a delicious linen/rayon blend that moved so elegantly and felt even better on. The dress was sold in a sample sale at some point, and I never got around to making one for myself. I’ve never forgotten about that style though, and I finally had some time last spring to make one–and I didn’t have to draft a pattern!

The thing about drafting a pattern for a wrap dress or top is that there’s contouring involved–a process whereby the pattern is manipulated to lie against the body without gaping open. It’s a consideration for any garment with a low neckline or cutouts, and it can be tedious and a pain. There’s a reason why so many wrap dress styles are done in knit fabrics; the stretch factor helps ensure a better fit. That said, I still love wrap dresses in woven fabrics–I just didn’t want to invest all the time required to draft the pattern myself. In my search for one, I got really, really lucky.

Butterick 5030 is the ultimate wrap dress pattern for wovens, and when I make it in red for the holiday season, it will be the third time I’ve made it. The fit is excellent (no adjustments needed), but I did make a few small design changes: I added a cuff to the sleeve, increased the flare in the skirt, and drafted a lining. I have a hard time not lining things, especially dresses like this. It just looks more professional and polished to me. I made it in blue cotton for spring and navy for fall.


I added fullness to the skirt using the slash and spread method by cutting from the hem to, but not through, the waist in more than one spot. Only adding fullness in one area will show up in the garment. Fullness must be added evenly across the pattern piece. It’s also important to spread an equal amount in each spot, and I added about 6″ in each of the three areas that I slashed. Once you’ve done this, it will look like this:


Any time I adjust a pattern like this, I like to trace it onto paper. It’s less messy and easier to work with.



This is what my sleeve pattern looked like after I shortened it and added a rolled cuff. I’m sorry this picture is so out of focus. We had four straight days of rain so light was low in my studio, making photography a challenge. I will post a how-to for drafting this type of cuff soon. Better pictures then, promise.



One of my favorite elements of this dress is the collar. It’s simple, but it looks so sharp and it’s super easy to sew. (I love couture sewing as much as the next gal, but sometimes efficiency and simplicity beats time consuming and complicated, am I right?!)








Things to know about this pattern:

#1. The fit is great, the design is flattering, and you’ll want it in lots of colors.

#2. Easy to sew.

I spent less than $50 on supplies for each dress, which is always a plus in my book. I can’t decide which one is my favorite, but if I had to pick it would probably be the navy one. You know I love, love, love navy!

Finally, here’s my design from 2010, the Mabel dress:


Have a great week, and don’t forgot to vote tomorrow!

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  1. Dana Bultje | 23rd Feb 17

    How much extra fabric did you use when making the skirt bigger? I love the look, but wondering how much extra I would need to replicate it…

    • Emily | 23rd Feb 17

      Hey Dana! I used about 3.5 yards of fabric for this dress, and my fabric was 60″ wide. I probably could have gotten away with just 3 yards, but the sash belt took up a good bit of space. Just for reference, this skirt is close to being a full circle, and a full circle skirt takes about 4 yards of fabric, a little less if it’s wider. Hope that helps! 🙂

  2. emily | 10th Nov 16

    This is a really lovely dress! Thanks for sharing your versions.
    Can you explain a little more how you drafted the lining? I’d love to try it in a cotton lawn but it would need a lining for sure!

    • Emily | 11th Nov 16

      Hi, Emily! I will dedicate a post to this later this month. For now, I can say that it’s super easy. Basically, you just want to copy the pattern pieces you need lining for, and adjust to match any facings or yoke pieces. I make small adjustments at the waistline seam too, for example, so that the lining isn’t too big. Let me know if you have any other questions and I’ll do my best to help! Pictures coming soon! BTW, I love the idea of this dress in a lawn. I think that would be so lovely! But yes, lining for sure! 🙂

  3. Janelle | 8th Nov 16

    Gorgeous. I adore your Butterick 5030 dresses. Would love to know how you add fullness to the skirt. Do you slash and spread the skirt pattern or do you sub in a completely new skirt piece? The fall and drape of your skirt is particularly nice so I’m keen to know more. I’ve had this pattern for ages but held off making as I hadn’t seen any truly lovely versions yet to be confident in the pattern, (most of the others online for this pattern have used a knit fabric which tells me nothing about how it works in a woven) so I am especially happy to see these versions. The lining is just lovely.

    • Emily | 8th Nov 16

      Hi Janelle! Great question, and my apologies for not going into more detail about that. Oftentimes when I draft a fuller skirt I start from scratch and sub in a new piece, but in this case I used the slash and spread method. Because the skirt only extends a few inches past center front, it would have been pesky to draft a full circle. The grain would have been off, etc. This way, I maintained center front and the grain. I will photograph the pattern and edit the post to include it later this week. And I totally know what you mean about needing to see the design in a fabric you’re more likely to go with–it’s so helpful! Best of luck, and let me know how yours turns out! 🙂

      • Janelle | 8th Nov 16

        That would be great to eyeball your pattern piece! I’m just waiting for the right cotton poplin or similar to cross my path. Like you, I’m loving navy and solids for this kind of dress so I’m trying to find something with the right quality and weight to do the pattern justice. Ivory or a great Kelly green would be lovely also, I just need to find it!

        • Emily | 8th Nov 16

          Oooh!! Kelly green is on my list of colors I must have! 🙂

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