The “I totally made a Vintage Dress” Dress

Name and Location:   My name is Amber and I live in Vancouver, WA.  Not Canada!  It’s right across the river from Portland, OR

Blog:  Ridiculously Adorable

How long have you been sewing?  I learned the basics as a kid making Barbie clothes with my Grandma, but since I really got into it August 2011, I consider myself a newbie.

Why did you want to commit to the Sew Weekly challenge? I want to keep improving my skills, committing to sewing weekly seems like a great way to keep me motivated.  Also, I tend to get bored easily, so I am intrigued to try and make projects where the theme is out of my control.  I think it will make my projects more interesting, try some new techniques, and step outside of the box.

What do you love most about sewing garments?  I love that everything is customizable.  Is that a word?  I love that the options are limited only by your imagination.  Ok, and maybe your skills…but it’s fun to learn new things, right?

What do you hate most about sewing garments?  I’d say its a toss up between ironing and cutting out fabric.  Oh, and buttonholes.  I like them, but they certainly don’t like me.

What do you want to accomplish this year with regard to the challenge?  I made a pact with myself not to buy any more fabric until I had worked through my stash- which is considerable for someone who has been sewing for less than a year….so unless something is needed to finish a project, I hope that attempting to sew weekly will keep me motivated to work through my stash, and out of the fabric stores!

Your biggest non-sewing goal of 2012?  I plan to get out of debt.  I don’t have much, but it’s time to get the budget in shape.

What are your favorite sewing/fashion blogs?  There are so many great sewing blogs out there that I follow- but my absolute faves are:  Julie’s Blog, Grosgrain, Lazy Stitching and the Snugbug.   As for fashion blogs, I love Vixen Vintage and Esme and the Laneway.  And that’s the short list!

So here’s the facts:

Fabric: An obscene 5 yards of $5/yard mystery fabric from the bargain bin.  Feels like a stretch cotton.
Pattern: Butterick Retro B4790
Year: 1950’s re-issue
Notions: 2 packs of bias tape & 2 covered buttons
Time to complete: Approx 8 hours.
First worn: October 2011
Wear again?:  Yes!

Total Price: $30

I decided to make this dress after learning the back story on this pattern.  It came out shortly after WWII ended and was marketed by Butterick as the “walkaway dress” because a 50’s housewife could start sewing in the morning and walkaway with a dress by lunch. At the height of its popularity, Butterick had to cease production on all other patterns to catch up on the demand!

The The color palette of this dress totally washed me out, so I added a ruffled tab at the neck for added interest.  I cut the full circle skirt too small, so I couldn’t use snap closures as instructed.  Instead, I left the bias tape long to tie together in front.  This was not very attractive, so I made a cumberbund belt to cover it up, and I think it was just the touch this dress needed to work on my figure.



Inspired by Project Runway, Amber decided to take up sewing in the Summer of 2011. She makes lots of stupid beginner mistakes but continues to improve thanks to her stubborn tenacity. Amber lives just outside of Portland, OR with her handsome English Bulldog, Cooper.

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  1. Hello Amber, I love seeing your creations, I am really looking forward to seeing what you make this year!