~the twist dress~

I’ve finally finished the twist dress! 

It has been sitting on the mannequin, conveniently concealed by my partially made trenchcoat, ever since I did this:
Mmm. Moving right along…
All I had to complete was the zip, armhole facings and hem, so really it was finished in no time.  I tend procrastinate on projects that aren’t going as planned, and sometimes I just have to say to myself “finish it now, or else!”.  
The pattern is Butterick 4598 and cost only 70c in it’s day – I don’t think you can even buy a packet of chewing gum for 70c now!  I couldn’t find the exact year of issue for this pattern so if anyone does know, please share!
It is a straight shift dress with square armholes, a keyhole front with button tab, and pockets in the side front seam. The front yoke is cut in one with the back panel, so it ends up on the bias which is probably quite nice if you are using a check/plaid fabric, but not so good for getting a nice square tab – it changes shape every time I look at it:
I used some lightweight 100% wool twill in an inky colour, an end piece leftover from some menswear-styled trousers that we ran.  I just had enough yardage to squeeze out this dress and had to cut around a couple of mystery holes in the cloth!  I also found a relatively unremarkable solo button from my stash that happens to be the right size and colour, so took the opportunity to use it up.
A couple of pattern quirks:
  • Despite being above the knee in the illustration, this dress ends at my knee, and I am average height at 5’6″.  I cut it longer with the intention of it being knee-length, and didn’t need to. 
  • The front is eased onto the yoke which is very weird to me – I see no reason for it because the bust dart is adequate. The easing onto the bias area is slightly rippled despite a good steaming, and I would eliminate it if I made this again. 
  • I would recommend redrafting the armhole facing in one with the neck and keyhole facing to neaten the inside.  If only I had enough cloth!
By the way that is not the door to our house, that is the door to our garden shed.  I am supposed to strip it and paint it one day, but for now I am sewing loving it’s authenticity.
I didn’t bother toiling this pattern, so was a little concerned how the boxy look would suit me.  I quite like how it just skims my hips and hides my (non)waist.  At a size 34″ it is a fraction small but wearable as long as I don’t slouch!.  I really should have done a sway back adjustment, and the bust dart sits a bit high in the photos so I better wear another style bra I wear with this – the one I have on has major padding going on below the bust. 
Overall I quite like it – and I know I won’t be able to keep my hands out of those pockets!

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Designer, Patternmaker, Blogger Of All Things Sewing. Follow as I share projects, patterns, and my favourite tricks of the trade.

28 thoughts on “~the twist dress~

  1. That dress is awesome. Your bound button hole is one of the best I've ever seen! Can you please show what it look like from the back. I've seen lots of tutorials but have never bothered making one because I imagine the back is a big mess.


  2. I love your dress. And I think it is very flattering on you. I'm glad to know that even very experienced people make mistakes sometimes. It somehow lessens the sting of my own mistakes.



  3. Thanks guys!
    ~Mary Nanna~ I will make a shift dress out of anything!
    ~Sew Red Hot~ The back of the buttonhole is faced to hide the mess – I will post a tutorial shortly so keep a lookout!
    ~eword10~ be assured my quick-un-pick is never far from my side!


  4. Great dress! Love the low-waist pockets, very slouchy & cool. Glad you were able to come back to the project later and correct the 'twist' – what a pain!! We all make little errors now and then.
    I also made a 60's pattern recently where the illustration showed a knee length dress and in order for it to be at my knees I had to shorten it by six inches! I know I'm short, but 6 inches? I'm at least 5'4″ I think 🙂


  5. Really a great dress. I love the 60's styles…so interesting with the angles and cutouts. It's funy you mention the bust darts. Every 60's pattern I make has the darts pointing up too high. But remember that was the era of the bullet bras followed by no bra. Love the buttonhole too!!


  6. I'm always staggered by the quality of your work. Little details like the welt buttonhole make all the difference. Love the way you've brought this pattern into the 21st century.


  7. I love this dress and the perfect little details. The pattern looks very up to date, must be all the Mad Men re-runs I'm watching! You've made another beautiful dress.

    BTW, I love that door, in the USA we call that particular green hospital green! I hope you never ever strip it!


  8. I really love your work… it is beautiful. Crisp, sharp points… I must say that, when a pedantic and professional seamstress as yourself makes a silly mistake as twisting the fabric – it makes me feel ok for those sillier mistakes I make. When I come to Auckland again I would love to meet up! There are fantastic fabric shops there! Love your work and I love your great professional finish tips too. Sofie


  9. Super cute! I love how simple and chic the shape is – I'd also have a hard time keeping my hands out of the pockets!

    Also thank you very much for your kind comments on my Summer Ball dress, they were much appreciated 🙂


  10. First of all, love the door.
    Secondly, your sewing is exquisite. If I'd had half a brain and more time, bound buttonholes are what I should have tried for the trench I did. Though I'm thinking the chambray would have fought me by fraying at every step.
    Thirdly, definitely try the fountain thing, my husband actually enjoyed it as much as I did!


  11. Hi Sherry

    Thanks for your really helpful comment about the fitting issues with my pedal pushers. I was clearly being too ambitious trying to make trousers for the first time without consulting any reference books! I'll be an expert in back crotch curves (ahem) soon though.

    Your dress looks great! Very elegant indeed. And the shed door is pretty cool too 🙂


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