Butterick 5917– a Wearable Muslin

B5917please excuse the wrinkles

The Facts


Butterick 5917, view B sans ruffle.  Dress has ruffles, semi-fitted, lined bodice and inset, raised waist and back zipper.



Red linen blend from Clothworld bought in the mid-90s.  This fabric has a great hand – not too heavy with a bit of drape.  The fibers are woven in a checkerboard style, alternating matte & glossy.  The lining is a lovely cotton lawn from the Lisette Fabric Collection: white background, red flowers with little green leaves.  This was a gift from a friend.



Hand picked center back zipper, lined, French seam & Hong Kong seam finishing, and my first machine blind hem.  Woohoo! {PS I omitted the back kick vent.}


Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were finished sewing?  Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

I reduced the bodice width by 1”.  I prefer a snug bodice and since I sit so much at work I didn’t want any gaping in the bosoms.  Originally, I cut size 14 on top and graded out to a size 16 at the hip.  After basting up the whole thing I decided it was too full in the hips and cut it down to the size 14 in the skirt.  It fit perfectly.


Wear again?  Yes.  Already worn twice!

Sew again? Yes. I made this muslin to knock out all of the kinks before sewing it in a lovely striped silk.

Recommend to others? Yes.  Yes.  Yes.

Thoughts:  I would never have picked this pattern based on the photo in Butterick’s Look Book.  Then I saw Sarah’s interpretation on her fabulous blog – Goodbye Valentino.  Wow!  Amazing.  I loved everything about it.  The fabric, the cut, the style – everything.  I knew I had to make one for myself. (And she’s made another one.)  Be sure to click through, it’s worth it.

Goodbye-Valentino-B5917.jpgsource: Goodbye Valentino

This past October DSC had a Fabric Store Tour and stopped by Denver Fabrics (now doing business as Colorado Fabrics).  I spent a lot of time with Lynne browsing the store.  (Never shop with a friend if you aren’t prepared to spend.) Anywho I went on and on about Sarah’s version of B5917 and how I wanted it in silk for our upcoming Costa Rican vacation.  She told me she made a version and loved it, even though her hubby teased her & called it her clown dress.  (I wish I had a photo {hint, hint} to share.)  I insisted she wear it to our next meetup.  She did and she looked darling in it.  I had these great intentions of getting it made in the next week before our trip.  HA!  Then life happened.


Long story short, I didn’t get to it until March.  I decided to get my buttocks in gear and knock out some sewing before our Spring vacation.  Either I am more organized or have more free time or just plain old motivated and have sewn to my heart’s content these past two weeks.  (May I suggest taking some time to cut 3 or 4 projects out then sewing them in quick succession.  I am most surprised how well this method has worked for me.  This has really helped to keep the sewing mojo going.)

This dress came together so easily & well.  I was a bit worried about the odd triangle dickey but once I actually read the directions thoroughly it was simple.  I did leave out the ruffle for two reasons: the linen blend fabric has a firm hand and did not gather well and I wanted to leave it a bit plainer to be more work friendly (not that that has stopped me before). 


As I said earlier I did a machine blind hem and I was so surprised how easy that was.  I usually do a simple turned under twice & machine hem but wanted something a bit fancier for the project.  I knew a machine hem would be very visible plus I am trying to step up my game.  To be frank, I had no idea how to make a blind hem happen let alone if my 1960s machine could accomplish it.  I didn’t need to fret.  I retrieved the manual for my Singer 603E and there were the instructions plain as day.  Now to find the correct stitch disc.  Is anyone familiar with this?

I did a quick practice run & then went to town. 


I cannot say enough great things about this pattern.  It’s a great wardrobe builder and I can’t wait to get it made out of the striped silk. B5917i

What do you think?  Do you prefer it without the ruffle or with?  Would this be a pattern you’d make?


  1. As lovely as it looks in the photo, your dress was even more gorgeous in person! Your version of this dress has moved Butterick 5917 on to my “must sew” list.


  2. Fabulous! I think you should at least try a muslin with ruffles to see if you like it. Personally I think it’s kind of fun, even though my hubby calls it my “clown dress”!


  3. very lovely except for wrinkles but if you like linen enough to contend with them, go for it (probably a generational thing). can’t see the triangle inset you mention due probably to the angle of the picture. isn’t it amazing that things from the 60’s are great??? and that instruction manuals really do have answers! Mom taught me the blind hem stitch and she always used it until she decided “enough of that–use the machine and get the darned thing done!!!”. I think the silk stripe will be lovely and it can handle the ruffle–will give a softer, more feminine look. wish I could remember the fabric. send me a swatch or just bring the dress on your next visit.


  4. It’s beautiful, and I’m adding that pattern to my list (I keep a list on my phone of the patterns I need/want to buy). I think it’s a SMASHING dress for office wear sans ruffle, but could also be a cute summer dress with the ruffle. Gotta love linen – can’t avoid the wrinkles.


We love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s