Pattern Review: Butterick 5886

Ok, so this was supposed to be my birthday dress.  My birthday was well over several months ago.  So, umm, yeah.  Ooops.  The silly thing is that it remained unfinished because of a zipper insertion.  And I was on the fence about hemming it (the fabric doesn’t fray and probably hangs better un-hemmed) and after having it sit about in the sewing space for so long I just kind of decided that I was over it.  I wanted to make a fancy metallic party dress using Butterick 5886 (a pattern from their spring collection – I basically started making this dress the day I bought the pattern.  Unusual for me with a Big 4 pattern.)  At first I was super excited about my dress, but it just sort of feels very 70s disco.  Which might be appropriate in some instances, but I haven’t found a reason to actually wear it out yet.

Butterick 5886

Here is my disco version of this dress:

Disco Birthday Dress!
Back of the dress.  Is a bit poofy.
Also, since I was doing photos of a bunch of sewn
objects in the same day, I forgot to change my bra.
Close up of the front pleating.
Also, you can see the not so fab zipper insertion on my left side.
I think the drape of the top doesn’t lend itself well to a smooth zip,
but it could also be that my fabric stretched out.
Fabric close up.  In real life it is a shiny metallic,
with a colored print and raised wavy textured pattern.

And here is my official pattern review:

Pattern Description:  Lined dress with pleated, mock-wrap top and racer-style back, with two skirt length options.  I made View A – the shorter, even hem length.

Pattern Sizing:  (6-8-10-12-14) and (14-16-18-20-22).  I used a lot of sizes on my dress – the bodice was an 8/10 (I have narrow shoulders, but need the larger size around my bust) and the skirt I graded out to a 14.  As with all BMV patterns I chose my sizes off of the finished garment sizes printed on the pattern tissue, and not on the sizes printed on the envelope so I can avoid the excessive ease that usually happens in their patterns.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  I thought the instructions were easy to follow and made sense.  I wasn’t necessarily a fan of the construction order though (you can’t fit the bodice as you go, so a muslin is a MUST for this pattern), and I think it makes the zipper insertion a bit odd at the end (I think my fabric stretched out a bit, so the zipper ended up sort of wavy… well that and the blousey nature of the bodice doesn’t really promote a smoother zipper either).  Because of the way the neckline of the dress is constructed I can’t think of a better construction order, but just know that this is a dress you won’t be able to try on until you are done sewing it.

Did it look like the photo/drawing when you were done with it?  Sort of.  I made View A, and from the waist down it looks the same.  But the bodice is a bit more poofy than is indicated in the drawing.  The model photo (which is of View B) also doesn’t look quite as poofy as my version, but then the model is sort of covering the bottom of the bodice with her arms.

What did you particularly like/dislike about this pattern?  Likes: I like the style of the back of the dress, and I like that this pattern includes separate pattern pieces for the lining.  Dislikes: I think the bodice is a bit more poofy than I really wanted, and I don’t like that you can’t really fit the dress until too far along in the construction process.  I made a muslin and was a bit worried about the style of the top.  I attempted to reduce the bodice poof a bit, and despite my apprehension I went along with the construction of the dress anyway.  I also wasn’t a fan of how the zipper looked because the poof of the bodice made it difficult to get a smooth zip.

Fabric used:  Mystery metallic print (pretty sure it is some sort of polyester/nylon synthetic) that I got for a few dollars at the National City Swap Meet in San Diego, and polyester lining from my stash.  For this dress to work the main fabric needs to be really light – my metallic print was light, but I really think this dress would be better if I had used chiffon as the main fabric.

Pattern alterations or changes you made:  I made a muslin before I made the dress, so I added a bit of extra length to the bodice (a common adjustment for me), and I tried to reduce a bit of the bodice puff.  I also added a bit of extra fabric for additional bust coverage.  I might need to add a little tack right over the full bust just to keep things in place though.  Otherwise I made the pattern as drafted.

Would you sew this again?  Would you recommend it to others?  I don’t know if I would sew this again.  I think I look better in clothes with a more well-defined waistline, and despite the waist seam and belt-tie I think the blousey top might not be the best look for me.  And there are plenty of other dress patterns out there for me to try.  If I did make it again I would use an even lighter chiffon as the main fabric.  I don’t know if I would recommend this pattern to others – I think this pattern could look good one some body types, but I recommend making a muslin before making a version of this dress out of good fabric.

Conclusion:  Not as happy with this dress as I wanted to be.  I was super excited to make it when I bought the pattern, but somewhere between my disco fabric and the less than flattering cut of the bodice I sort of lost my interest in it.  I finished it just to get rid of a UFO, and I am having a hard time finding a reason to wear it.  I don’t hate the dress, but I don’t love it either.  Right now it is just something that I made.  I think this pattern has potential if you want to go with a more casual summer look in a printed chiffon, but I don’t know if I like the style for a more special occasion type dress.  I also think that if you make this a muslin is an absolute must – both so you can test the fit because of the construction order, and also so you can test out the style and see if it is something for you.

7 thoughts on “Pattern Review: Butterick 5886

  1. Darn. Birthday dresses are supposed to make you happy! I can see why you weren't happy with the fit of the bodice. It looks a little droopy in front. Not sure how that could be remedied though. Happy belated birthday. Let me know if you want to get together sometime soon.


  2. Yeah, in the drawings it seems like a much tighter bodice, but in reality, it is not. I even removed a bit of the poof by reducing the amount in the pleats! Oh well. I am just going to call this pattern a bust. I might steal the skirt portion to use with a bodice from the 02/2011 Burda though (because I like the way this skirt fits, and Burda used a dirndl, which I won't), so maybe it won't be a total loss.

    And, it would be awesome to meet up sometime. I don't know when I will be free to visit San Diego, and my fabric budget is a bit tight after nationals, but it would be fun to get together sometime in the next few months.


  3. Oh! This style totally works on you! I get that the zipper is wonky and there's a little back waist poofiness, and that's a bummer. But the wrap/crossover neckline and halterish back is super flattering, as is the skirt shape and length. So, I'm hoping this grows on you. Awesome fabric, btw. THe pattern really works on the dress.


  4. Thanks! There are things about this style that I like (pretty much all the stuff you mentioned), I am just a bit annoyed with the imperfections. And the fact that this remained unfinished for so long didn't really help that sentiment. But no worries – my mom really likes the dress, so it is going to stick around for a while. I think my problem is that I don't really have anywhere to wear it right now, so it sort of feels like closet filler. I don't dislike it, and I do want to wear it out, but in person it feels a bit more over the top and gaudy (the photos tone it down a bit), so I have to find the right occasion to use it.


  5. Well, I LOVE it!! It does have a 70's disco vibe, but not overwhelmingly. I think it's a super flattering and groovy dress. Put in the magic closet for a while and then take it out in a couple of months. I bet you'll love it 😉


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