Thursday, October 28, 2010

Butterick 5919

With much delay, I'm finally able to post my latest interpretation of a vintage sewing pattern. I must admit that three exams in three days takes it toll, but all in all it went well. I passed both my interpretation exams, so now I'm done with the interpretation part of my education - yay! I won't know the results of my financial translation exam until late November, so I have my fingers crossed.

I've been watching all episodes of the latest take on Agatha Christie's classic stories about Miss Marple, starring Geraldine McEwan (and later Julia MacKenzie) as the crime-solving spinster, and I must admit the costumes are fantastic. Most of the feature-lentgh episodes take place between 1950 and 1952, which are some of my favuorite years for fashion.
One day, I was watching the new interpretation of 'Sleeping Murder' and I completely fell for the pink shirtwaist dress with white polka dots that the character Gwenda Halliday wore at one point:

Sophia Myles as Gwenda Halliday in 'Sleeping Murder'.
No copyright infringement intended.

The series have had a lot of criticism because the plots of the stories have been changed quite a lot, so if you'd rather not see Agatha Christie's stories altered, you should steer clear of this series. If you don't mind the alterations, however, you're in for hours of classic 'who dunnit'-fun and great costumes :)

Anywho, here's the pattern I found in this shop on eBay:

And here's my interpretation:

Unfortunately, the pictures don't show the gorgeous bubblegum pink colour of this cotton fabric, but if you want to know what the colour looks like, it is actually the same shade as the fabulous vintage prom dress that was sacrificed in the 1980s film 'Pretty in Pink'. There's a picture of it in the post Gertie did about the sewing scene in the film over at Gertie's New Blog for Better Sewing.
The pattern was very straightforward to use. I didn't do any major alterations to the pattern, except my usual shortening of the hem by 2", and I also ended up using five buttons instead of the three suggested by the pattern. The reason why I increased the number of buttons was because I had some vintage 1980s white enamel snap buttons that were roughly the same size as the polka dots on the fabric, so I thought it would be a great idea to 'hide' them by placing them on the polka dots :P

I was a bit worried how the scalloped pockets would turn out, but I think they ended up looking great. Here's a closer view of one of the pockets:

I had previously heard of how tricky scalloped edges were to do, so seeing as I was hoping mine would turn out well, I decided to document the process.

Firstly, I ironed on some fusible interfacing on one of the two pieces required to make a pocket and I drew the scallops on with a pencil:

The original pattern piece for the pockets had had its seam allowance trimmed off around the scallops, so it didn't have its original rectangular shape, but I reconstructed the seam allowance when I re-traced the pattern.

After I had sewn the pocket pieces together, I did the slashes between the scallops as shown in the pattern instructions:

I don't know if it makes any difference, but I always use an old fashioned razorblade when I have to slash fabric.

The next step was to trim the seam allowance. A friend had advised me to do multiple clips around the scalloped edges at this stage, but my pinking shears managed to achive the same effect:

Here's how the pocket looked after I pressed it:

Maybe I was just lucky with how my pockets turned out. I do, however, think that the combination of using a stiff fabric with fusible interfacing was a big help to get them to look good.

Thank you for reading :)


  1. Gorgeous!! I love the scalloped pockets. I may give scallops a whirl again...

  2. That's really cute! I love polka dots. You did a nice job on the scalloped pockets as well!

  3. Your dress is nicer than the one on the TV - perfect body for it :-) and love the pocket detail - really pretty!!!

  4. Gorgeous dress in every way - v jealous! Love the waspy belt too. x

  5. You know Erin over at Dress a Day would be all over those pockets. You need to send her a link....

  6. I love it! I think you captured the original dress very well with your interpretation :)

  7. Oh, I love that Miss Marple sereies. There are sooo many gorgeous costumes on it. Great job on the scallops! :-)

  8. What a darling dress...It looks wonderful! And thanks for the scalloping tips. I've a few vintage patterns with scallops and they make me nervous, but now they don't seem so frightening. :)

  9. well done! i heart the scalloped pockets.

  10. Thank you so much everyone! As always, your kind words are deeply appreciated and a great motivation to keep me going :D

  11. I love the pretty in pink fabric. It looks wonderful. So cool to see my patterns made up.

  12. what a cute dress! My bf and I have been watching all of the Poirots. This episode ( is at a girls boarding school and the costumes, esp the sweaters, are amazing!