Butterick 6299 in Nanas fabric, and my cheat grading up method
I have been working on a number of projects this year, many sewing, some stitching, and lots of reading…the blog has been a little neglected. I finally have some finished photos of Butterick 6299. I used fabric my nana gave me a few years ago, when she was de-stashing her hoard. It is a lovely printed rayon (she had two lengths of similar prints and colour ways), which I have loved and been scared to cut into, because it’s one of those ‘one of a kind’ pieces of fabric, and there was just enough for one dress, so no room for error!
Almost there! Butterick 6299, letting the hem drop…
My nana has been unwell lately, and it seemed like the time to use this fabric, and when I saw this pattern, I knew this was the right project.
I picked up this pattern a month or so ago, and I was smitten. It is about one and a half sizes small for me, so I needed to grade it up and make a muslin, just to be sure I had the right fit.
When it comes to a slight grade up or down, I can often get away with adding a centimetre (give or take) at the seams when I cut out the fabric. However, with the asymmetrical cross over bodice on this dress, I needed to be more precise.
This post includes my kind-of cheat to grade up a pattern.
I had another pattern that needed to be drafted up a size, so I worked on both at the same time, the second pattern is this elegant vintage Vogue 9839.
Both patterns are 32″ bust, I use a 36″, close, but enough to check placement of bust and bodice waist darts, and size of armhole. My method involves using a pattern I know well, with a basic bodice that I know fits; comparing and grading up the smaller pattern, while checking dart points, shoulder width and armholes. This is like referring to a pattern block drafted from your own measurements. The pattern I use for a fit reference is this Weigel’s simple sheath dress, it is a close fitting high boat neck, and I know it gives me a great fit. Also, all three patterns are designed to be used with woven fabric.
It’s quite simple, for a grade up like this, I trace off a new pattern piece, so start by laying out my tissue paper, and by placing one on top of the other, compare corresponding bodice pieces from my fit pattern and the smaller one, figure out the design elements that need to remain, like the high neck, I refer to the darts mainly to be sure they will fall in the right place.
Here is the bodice back for the Weigel’s pattern on the left and the Butterick on the right
Then I simply trace off a new piece, following the lines of my trusted fit pattern piece, you can see below it adds approximately 1.5 cms each side at the waist, I was happy where the shoulder point falls, so this was really all I needed to do. It is worth noting that both back bodice pieces are placed on the centre fold, so I was not going to make changes there, but I used that as another point of reference.
Back bodice for Butterick 6299
Three bodice backs, the new drafted piece at bottom, then my fit piece, and then the Butterick bodice. My main changes were in the waist, and adding a touch more at the underarm.
Three pattern pieces laid on top of each other to show the increase I added
The front bodice pieces for the Butterick pattern were more involved, I used the same reference points, waist dart, shoulder and centreline (marked on the pattern piece) taking into account the waist darts, and added an additional 1.5cm to the lower part of the crossover bodice piece. This was where I gave myself a little more work…I figured a little extra would be better than being a little short, when I ought to have kept the measurements exactly the same (I figured if I needed a touch more to work with at the waist, it wouldn’t be a biggie, but given the assembly process, I needed more time fiddling around pinning, trying on and re-pinning, refitting….and then cutting off the extra I gave myself in the end). Lesson learnt.
Butterick 6299 right front bodice
Right bodice front, this was more challenging, so I took my time to be sure that the centre line and darts were correctly positioned, when compared with my fitting, I did this to both bodice pieces.
Bodice front, detail
My next step was to create a toile, I lined this dress, so I cut out my lining, black cotton lawn from my new drafted pieces and found it all worked great! It was also helpful to run through the neckline pleats, the crossover bodice and assembly, then I cut out the rest of the pattern. I added the same 1.5 cms at the skirt side side seams, and carefully checked the fall of the ‘v’ at the waist, it would all line up fine! Phew.
On the sewing room floor
There was just enough fabric, and I actually stuck to the pattern lay out for this dress!
Butterick 6299 and nana’s lovely fabric
I had some minor issues with the instructions for this pattern, the bodice assembly all goes as you’d expect, then there seems to be a gap where there may be notes on joining the waist seam. This would be no concern with a straight waist seam, but with the asymmetrical join, it seemed a bit odd not to include pointers there, you wouldn’t want to bugger that up. I went carefully, double checking the pleats fall in the right place, then top stitch the waist, it all worked out fine.
I added a bias trim on the bodice, both pieces fold over and attach at the side seam, this is a good way to assemble it, however the bias trim added some bulk on top of the folded fabric. Not really ideal, and I spent some time getting it to sit well, and not bulge out.
I added pockets too!
I am SO pleased with the outcome, it is a slim fitting dress, and I love the fabric!
Perfect colours for Autumn.
I had wanted to add bias to the waist seam, however I was just short trim! I was using a piece from my stash, the colour was perfect…
The pattern called for a small zip closure at the back, however, I could whip this baby off and on without it, so I left it off.
I love it! And I’m set for Autumn.