fit for a picnic: butterick 6446

I have lived in Texas for almost ten years and, in that time, I’ve been completely spoiled by the gorgeous weather we have here. The summers are brutal, there’s no getting around that, but the winters, you guys. The mild, short, bearable winters with no snow or ice or bone chilling cold. It’s the perfect climate for someone like me who enjoys being outside a lot, year round. I can hop on my bike on the coldest day in December and not have to worry about icy conditions or piles of dirty, gray snow on the roads. I’m also a weakling who could cry at the mere idea of endless gray skies and snow and bundling up in half a dozen layers just to check the mail. No, just no. So, high five to those of you in colder climates who enjoys those freezing temperatures. You’re much stronger than I am!

My disdain for winter coupled with mild Texas winters and my overwhelming love for spring (flowers are blooming! the sun is shining! the grass is green again!), means that come February I am all in for the new season. This year is no different, and I’ve already finished quite a few projects and we’re just three days into March. I’m also on a deadline this month, which is the ultimate motivator to get things done. In case you missed it, see what I have planned for our Florida trip here.

 I’ve always wanted a gingham or checkered dress for spring and summer. Around the time I was thinking about said dress, this new Butterick pattern was released. Then, a day later, I found the fabric. Meant to be, right?! This fabric is unique because it’s 100% linen, and I am crazy about the color. It’s fresh and happy but also classic.

Originally, I wanted to put sleeves on this dress, as seen in view C. I went back and forth for a good two days about this sleeve. In the end, I went sleeveless because I felt like the dress was a little more versatile without the sleeve. I couldn’t put a cardigan on over those sleeves, and I just so happen to have a green one that matches perfectly. Also, when I tried the dress on with the sleeves it felt like a lot of gingham, a lot. I adore the sleeves though, and I will definitely make this dress again in a solid color with sleeves.

I added fullness to the skirt and contoured the neckline because it was gaping open a little bit. It didn’t require major changes so I took off 1/4″ at each end of the neckline, tapering to the original shoulder seam line. I made two bodice muslins before cutting my fabric to make sure the fit was accurate.

Notice on the shoulder seam and side seam where the white paper is. That is there to illustrate what the pattern looked like before I took off 1/4″ in those spots. Normally, to contour a neckline, the excess is transferred and released in a dart or gathers or a pleat, but there was no clean way to achieve this on this particular bodice. When I made changes the first time, I moved the neck excess to a bust dart that I created just for that purpose, but I didn’t love that solution. So, I ended up making small adjustment at the shoulder and side seams, which essentially makes the neckline shorter. That way, all the excess around the neck that was causing it to gap open has been eliminated.

I lined the entire dress (the lining is 100% cotton), which took some creativity when constructing the bodice in order to keep the bodice lining free  around the waistline to attach the skirt lining.

I absolutely adore this dress, and I can’t wait to make it again. But first, I have enough of this fabric left to make a new spring top. You know I love it when that happens!

Have a great weekend!

13 COMMENTS

  1. Abigail | 16th Apr 17

    I just bought Butterick 6446 during a fabric store sale, and I can’t wait to get started. Your gingham dress is absolute perfection! Did you find that the pattern had too much ease? I’ve never used a Big 4 sewing pattern before, and I don’t know if I should size down. Thank you!

    • Emily | 17th Apr 17

      Hi Abigail! I’m so excited you got this pattern! Great question about the ease. I thought the amount of ease was perfect. I went with my usual size, and only took it in 1/4″ in center back (instead of 5/8″ seam allowance, I went with 3/4″). That did the trick! I made a muslin to make sure the fit was good before I sewed it, which helped immensely. Just keep an eye on the finished garment measurements and you should be just fine. Good luck, and let me know if I can help! 🙂

  2. Erica Kennedy | 5th Mar 17

    I love the lining. Great job on the neckline adjustment, also!

  3. Logan | 4th Mar 17

    Lovely dress, perfect for March. I envy you your warm weather.

  4. Donya | 4th Mar 17

    Hi Emily,
    Wow. Just wow! So… I love working with linen…it’s like butter in my hands 🙂 But my problem is how to finish the seams without a serger to keep them from fraying!! I have a great sewing machine, just not sure what stitch or approach would work best. Any ideas?

    • Emily | 6th Mar 17

      Hi Donya! You are a woman after my own heart loving linen! It really is the best, and I love working with it too. Great question about the seams. Most sewing machines have an overlock stitch which might be helpful. Or, you can turn half of your seam allowance under and stitch that. Doing that is like sewing the first step of a hem so it wouldn’t conceal the raw edge completely, but it would turn it under and hide it. French seams are a great idea on lightweight linen. Fray check is another option, and you can lightly “paint” it on the edges to ensure more accurate coverage. I’ve done this before, and it’s worked well. Lay your pieces down on some paper, dip a small paint brush into the fray check, and dab it on the edges of the fabric. Hope that helps! Let me know how it works out! 🙂

  5. Amanda | 4th Mar 17

    I am so inspired by your blog! I am new to sewing clothes (working on my second top right now) and am in awe of your skills. This gingham dress is beautiful!

    • Emily | 6th Mar 17

      Hi, Amanda! I’m so glad you’re inspired, and I’m happy you’re here! Let me know if you ever have any questions. I’m happy to help! 🙂

  6. Chris | 4th Mar 17

    Hi, Emily! Greetings from Brazil. What a lovely dress!!!

  7. Jennifer Winters | 3rd Mar 17

    I love, love, love this dress and have contemplated this pattern since it came out because I, too live in Texas! I don’t feel very confident in a sleeveless design though and I’m not a fan of the sleeve option. I haven’t bought the pattern yet to look at it more closely but I wondered if the sleeve option could be modified to be a much shorter sleeve like a cap sleeve or maybe a flutter sleeve? I would love your opinion on this one. Also, thank you so much for your information on shortening the pattern at the shoulders to eliminate the lower neckline. That was my only other concern. Thank you so very much for your wonderful posts! I really look forward to reading and learning from them!

    • Emily | 3rd Mar 17

      Hey, neighbor! 🙂

      Great questions! So, let’s talk about those sleeves. I’m with you about not feeling confident in sleeveless designs. I prefer sleeves too, but opted out of the sleeve on this dress simply because I thought it was a lot of gingham. It’s possible to shorten the sleeve, yes, to make it more of a flutter sleeve. That would be lovely! You’d have to eliminate a lot of the flare in the sleeve to make it a cap (or just draft one from scratch), but a shorter version of the sleeve from the pattern is totally doable. I’m so glad these posts are beneficial! I’ll keep ’em coming! 🙂

      Let me know if you have any other questions!

  8. Danielle | 3rd Mar 17

    This turned out so beautifully. Now you have me feeling like I should run out and buy the pattern. They are on sale this weekend after all. Hehe. If my dress turns out even half as pretty as yours I’d be a happy camper. Thanks for inspiring me to keep trying to get this sewing thing down! I learn so much from your posts.

    • Emily | 3rd Mar 17

      Hi Danielle! Thank you for the kind words! I am so in love with this dress, and I think you should go for it!

      I’m so glad my posts are helpful! 🙂

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