3 January 2011

Butterick 5523

PatternButterick 5523

Size:  size 8, with modifications discussed below

Fabric:  coral wool blend knit from Fabric Mart

Project Photo
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Comments:  I love this dress.  It's such a wonderful addition to my work wardrobe for the winter months.  The combination of the long sleeves and the heavy knit fabric allows me to wear a dress in the dead of winter and still keep all my important bits warm and cozy.  Also, this dress is so comfortable and easy to wear.  And the best part?  People kept complimenting me all day long (even the clueless men in my department that never notice anything!).

The dress is sewed up straight out of the package, with only minor alterations.   The instructions would have you construct the bodice (complete with sleeves), followed by the skirt and then attach the two parts together.

Instead, I sewed in a different order.  I completed the  entire front, followed by the entire back.  Then, I set the sleeves in flat.  Finally, I sewed the side seams for the entire length of the dress (from sleeve cuff to armpit to hem).  Since my fabric was a very stable knit, with only minor stretchiness, I wanted to have the ability to sew smaller side seams if I needed the extra room.  In the end, I used 1/4" seams, instead of the typical 5/8" seams and this helped me avoid the stuffed sausage look.

My only qualm is with the depth of the neckline.  It's a wee bit too low for my taste.  I will be raising it by 1/2" to 1" in the next version.  I like to be able to bend over at school and not have all my wares on display (however, paltry those wares may be). 

I styled the dress with an enamel bee pin (Joan Rivers, similar here), worn at the waistline, a pair of opaque black tights and my fabulous new black leather boots (Clarks Wyld Polka).

Before I sign off, let me take a minute to gush about my boots.  I always have problems finding boots that will fit my monster calves (they are 15" in circumference in case you're wondering), but these babies zip right up, no problemo.  They are nicely cushioned in the sole, they have rounded toes and a lower heel, which is so important for a gal on her feet all day long.  I wore them for eight hours with nary a pinch, twinge or ouchie.  Also, the leather is soft and they are well made.  An extra added bonus was that I got them for an excellent price ($90 CDN, regular $160 CDN).  I will most certainly be looking for these bad boys in brown as well.  So ladies, if you have problem feet, combined with the calves of a Russian weight lifter like I do, then give these awesome boots a whirl.  You might be glad you did.

Conclusion:  This cutie pie of a cowl neck dress is a definite winner!  I can see myself making up several more versions of this little number.

47 comments:

Mary Beth said...

I like this dress on you, too: cheery, warm, and business-like with that back belt. Neckline looks pretty good where it is (not too low).

Jeanette said...

Love!! Thanks for the review, I've been thinking about making this for quite awhile and now you've sold me on it. :-)

Connie said...

Such a pretty dress- and a gorgeous colour on you. Maybe I had better cave on FabricMart fabric! I think that I have this pattern- or is there an almost identical Vogue version?

alethia said...

Very pretty and I love the color!

The Hojnackes said...

What a great dress. I may just have to try one! Thanks for reviewing it!

toy said...

I agree, such a beautiful color and of course I love the boots, so stinkin cute on you

Lisette M said...

I got this dress by the sewing machine! I love your version what a gorgeous color. And yes I have calves like you so I will be checking those boots out.

a little sewing on the side said...

oh thank you for sewing that dress! I really wanted to see it made up and don't have time to sew it myself. It looks just as pretty as I imagined. This color is brilliant on you, too. Love the bee pin, the boots, the whole thing. I like the depth of the neckline, too. Can you wear a snug cami for modesty (and, let's not forget, warmth!)
nice!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

ohmygoodness a pichur...a pichur of you wearing an outfit you sewed...ohmygoodness and you look GOOD...so GOOD! Thank you, thank you, thank you! So you got anymore...*smile*

Jill/laughbutnotloudly said...

Lovely dress. And what brand are those boots? I too have monster calves and I have a horrible time finding boots!

Trisha said...

Love your dress! Recently, several bloggers have mentioned setting in sleeves and then sewing up the sides all in one go--- must try this. Thanks for the tip.

I also agree with the suggestion to wear a cami underneath. I wear one almost everyday in the winter.

gMarie said...

::jealous:: I made that dress and looked like I was ready to deliver baby #3 any day now. Did you sew the pleats down? lower the empire seam? Anything?

you look fabulous and I'm so very envious. g

gwensews said...

Oh, Lady in Red, what a beautiful frock!

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

Lovely dress and I love the color.
The style/color suits you and I can see why you would get so many compliments!
I have mine cut out in black and now wish I had gone with another color.
I hope to finish mine this week.

I also love your boots!

Jen said...

Great dress, since you first posted this pattern I've been waiting to see the final product. You've bought a bunch of other stable knits, so I assume you're definitely making more versions soon.

Shannon said...

Love the dress- it looks fabulous on you! And the boots and tights are perfect with it!

AllisonC said...

Gorgeous dress, the colour really works for you - as I am sure you know already!

K2 said...

Love the dress.

For all you ladies that have huge calves (me too! 16 1/2") lots of different shoe companies make boots for you. Just search for "wide shaft" boots. I know it sounds dirty, but I promise it isn't, that's just what the shoe companies call them. My favorite company is Naturalizer. They make a couple of wide shaft boots and their insoles are really comfortable too.

Jenny said...

Awesome dress! I love the bright color. It feels so great to get compliments when wearing things you made.

Lisa said...

Very pretty.

Linda T said...

Love, Love, LOVE it. I must have this pattern. You look great; no wonder you got compliments all day!

Cindy said...

I love everything about this outfit..down to the bee! It looks so comfortable.

Faye Lewis said...

Shannon I love that dress on you. Really might have to pull that pattern out. Thanks for the boots tip. I have a problem with my right foot/instep/and calf that makes getting into boots w/o zippers impossible.

SEWN said...

I love the dress! So cute. I thought about buying this pattern but was wondering if it would look maternity like. Now I know it won't! You look gorgeous.

MushyWear said...

This color is stunning on you! Everything about this looks perfect. Definitely a wonderful addition to your wardrobe. I'm going to have to check this pattern out.

Helen said...

You look absolutely gorgeous! The style is so flattering and that colour is made for you. Beautiful.

Jali said...

You look nothing short of fabulous in the dress and the whole outfit!

Chris said...

Absolutely gorgeous! That color is stunning on you.

senaSews said...

Goergeous dress in a beautiful color!

Little Hunting Creek said...

Great dress - that's a really nice color on you too

Summerset said...

It is a great dress - just right for teaching and for those days when you don't want to think about what to wear. Just one piece to put on! Love the boots. I have the same calf problem and have been on the hunt for boots for the past couple of years. It gets worse with the hiking and running, so I've just about given up.

Carole said...

Absolutely fabulous!

CarlaF-in Atlanta said...

Lovely! I have this pattern and wonderful purple knit just waiting for me. I like your sewing sequence better I think I'll use it.

The Slapdash Sewist said...

What a great dress! It looks nice and warm without sacrificing cuteness. I passed on this pattern because I have several similar, but you're making me want it...

Carolyn said...

This is indeed a gorgeous winter dress. I adore this colour! Actually I think you and I have very similar colouring.
Thankyou for taking the time to write a review!

Bonnie D. said...

I made this one, too and love it. Your version looks fantastic!

kbenco said...

You look so good in this outfit. I love the colour and the cowl neck.
Personally, I have calves that kind people describe as very sturdy and I am a fan of DUO in the UK. Despite the horrendous shipping cost to Australia, these are the only boots I own, because they are the only ones that fit -you order them by calf size.

Dana said...

Can see why you got all the compliments - it's really a WOW dress! The color, the style are both great!

DeniseAngela said...

Gorgeous! Love the colour & fit!

RebeccaHoward said...

I love this dress on you. We have similar colouring and I never were red but I think I will rethink this. I am also a high school chemistry (and biology)teacher and am with you about the bending over and displaying wears bit. Either the kids end up staring down your front and you are embarrassed or they are so embarressed they can't concentrate on what you are saying to them. Not good either way!

pendlestitches said...

You look so gorgeous in this dress. I love everything about it, particularly the amazing colour.

WOW indeed.

mermaids said...

Adorable dress! Will have to take a second look at that pattern. Boots are fab too. I have the opposite problem. I have twigs for legs. Boots always gape awkwardly.

gina said...

This dress is a great cut and perfect on you. I love the color and the neckline!

amber said...

Fabulous - the color, fit and styling!!

Leslie said...

I've contemplated sewing this dress as well but wasn't sure how good it would look in person. Now that I've seen yours I really, really want to make it!

Susan said...

I love your dress too! A really nice wardrobe addition for sure.

Faye Lewis said...

Shannon I had to come back for a double take on your red dress. Believe it or not I'm still thinking about making it - my last winter dress of the season. Your kitchen is going to be BEAUTIFUL!