Hot! Gallery The ‘Flowers are Forever’ Dress

The Facts:

Fabric: Drapey polyester stuff I bought new but on sale sometime last year

Pattern: Butterick B5209

Year: 1947 (reproduction)

Notions: Invisible zipper from stash

First worn: For these photos (such bad photos!)

Wear again: Yes.. without the pearls

Cost: Under $30 for pattern and fabric – but both have been in the stash for a year.


So… I like floral prints…and I have heaps of floral fabric in the stash. (What’s that.. you’d never have guessed! lol)

I’d say that 99% of my fabric stash is prints… and 80% of that is floral. The queen on the other hand tends to wear plain head to toe colour. But….. back in the day, she did wear prints.. and floral (sometimes with matching turbans). Promise.

This past week I’ve really gotten into all things Queen Elizabeth. In short.. she’s pretty darned fabulous, and I’ve no idea why it’s taken until her Diamond Jubilee for me to find that out. I even bought the Women’s Weekly collector magazine thingy and have been gushing over all the old photos and stories. (Let me tell you.. the look I got from the teenage sales girl at the counter was priceless! I have officially entered the ‘old’ category)


My inspiration came from the floral day dresses she and her sister used to get about in in the 40’s. (sidenote: Did they always wear the same shoes as each other!)












This pattern has been around the block a few times, but this is the first time I’ve made it. I’m pretty proud of the fit I achieved on that bodice. I traced from every size in the multisized pattern and then some to get that fit. According to the pattern I should be a 12, but from the few modern sized patterns that I’ve used, I knew that wouldn’t be the case. Working totally off gut instinct, I traced – sz. 12 for the midriff, adding a little at the side seams. sz. 10 for the sleeves and armhole, sz. 8 for the shoulder and neck, and sz. 6 for the bust. I also raised the neckline 1cm. And guess what! It all lined up perfectly and it fit! wooh hoo!

I also changed the construction up a bit. (not that I could understand the instructions anyway!) I cut the front midriff and skirt pieces on the fold instead of with a centre seam. And I wasn’t keen on having the gathering at the bust done separately on the outer and lining. I knew that would just result in a baggy mess on me. I don’t have much to fill out these kind of styles so having the lining and outer slipping around independently under the bust wasn’t going to work. It took all my spacial awareness to figure out how I was going to gather the lining and outer as one but still be able to neatly enclose the side seam and zipper on the inside, and of course.. with no handstitching – but I’m pround to say-  I did it!

I’m not so proud of the gathering at the waist. ughh. Polyester. this stuff bounces all over the place.  I did use 3 rows of gathering and stitch between them… but still no joy.

Of course being polyester,  I’ll never be able to wear this dress in Summer here. But it’ll be nice for Winter with a Cardi. Our weather has finally cooled down! I’m not sure what happened to Autumn this year. I think it missed the memo.


Casey Sew

Casey Sew joined the Sew Weekly Sewing Circle in 2011 and completed 38 challenges. Casey learned to sew first from her mother, and then during an Advanced Diploma of Fashion course she completed 10 years ago. Her sewing supplies are generally thrifted or vintage passed on by family.


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  1. Ooh your dress is lovely, really cute. I have the pattern but haven’t used it yet. Was going to do a ‘Meena” and make the black halter neck out of stretch velvet for evening wear. Like you I’ve got lots of flowery fabric so I will give it a go. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • Thanks Karen. Definitely try it! Just be sure to do a toile/muslin first. The original fit seems strange. (in particular if you do the sleeved version – there is no way to alter the fit afterwards, can’t even run in the side seams because they are in perfect line with the sleeve extension)

  2. Love this style! I have to do exactly what you did with top pieces of patterns…and I’m slowly getting more proficient, too!.

    • I figured this out when I made the colette Parfait dress. So simple isn’t it!! Who needs an SBA. lol.

  3. The dress is really lovely, red, white and blue too, and what great inspiration pics. Win!

    • You know Charlotte, I didn’t even notice the red white and blue until I was looking through the photos. Such a happy coincidence! (Would have loved to come hang out with you and your little queen for the day’s celebrations)

  4. Very lovely! The print really reflects your inspiration shots as well. Great job!

  5. Such a pretty dress, and the fit is just perfect.. Happy sewing.

  6. This is lovely! I love the floral print.

  7. Adorable! I’ve always loved that image of Elizabeth and Margaret on board, and your dress is a great way to reference it. I’m also super impressed with your alterations.

    Huge kudos for your fitting. That may be the only version of Butterick B5209 that I have ever seen that actually fits properly – the pattern has major sizing issues, and you fixed it perfectly.

    • Why thank-you Leimomi! Back when I bought this pattern I hadn’t looked at examples on line. As soon as I did.. and saw the fit issues.. it went in the ‘when I feel like making 100 toiles’ pile. I was so chuffed that it only took one toile to get the fit right… and figure out my new construction. Whomever labelled this pattern as easy was not talking about the sleeved version! If you don’t toile it first you’ve got no hope of altering it after the fact.

  8. Adorable! I love the shape and lines of this dress. Very cute!

  9. The dress fits like a second skin, great tailoring, it looks beautiful on you.

  10. Wow! That is such a pretty and flattering dress you have made! I’m very fond of florals as well. You’ve done an excellent job on this. I liked the photos that you posted of the princesses in their floral dresses. Fun read.

  11. Oh, I just realized that I have that exact pattern and I have made that dress as the instructions said. All the while wondering who designed it and called it easy. I did not like gathering the lining separately from the top fabric. What a pain! I really like how you figured out how to put it together better, makes me want to try it again because the fit looks so nice.

    • It is a painful pattern isn’t it! Clever but painfully fiddly. And the way the sleeve is in line with the side seam means you can’t alter it afterwards. That alone to me says ‘not easy’. I’d love to explain my construction to you.. although I’m not sure I’ll articulate it very well. Let me know if it would be helpful and I’ll give it a go.

  12. Casey, what great fit and fabric and lovely inspiration. The construction changes you made are interesting and instructive.