Vintage Sewing Patterns: Butterick 5209 40s Dress

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I’m a big fan of Butterick vintage reproduction patterns and B5209 was always on my wish list. I was avoiding it for quite a while because I really wanted to use it for something halter, weightless and made of silk. The idea of having something similar to the iconic MM’s dress from the “Seven Years Itch” was so tempting, it wasn’t allowing me to check this pattern twice and discover the second version of this design. Gathered bust, capped sleeves, full skirt….Sounds like the perfect ingredients for a nice cotton dress!








I checked some reviews and saw a lot of complaints about the pattern instructions. That’s true, they aren’t very clear. I decided not to follow them and sew this dress the way it was comfortable for me. I assembled left and right bodice front and back pieces separately and then stitched them at the centre and side seams, breaking the seam between the lining and main fabric. It does require some hand stitching in the middle area but it’s so small it hardly takes any time. 


I did my typical alteration of transferring the zipper to the centre back seam and added a little hook and eye above it. Since the V-neck was a bit too revealing to my personal preference I raised it 2 cm. I’d highly recommend starting this dress with a muslin because not only you’ll be able to add some of those changes but you will also pick the best size: this pattern has quite a lot of unnecessary ease and I had to go one size down.


I also swapped the recommended gathered skirt for a full circle one. It always works better for me and it compliments this gorgeous fabric more than any other type of skirts.

I used:

Lady McElroy Blossom Reflection Cotton Lawn Fabric in Peach
Butterick Pattern 5209 Vintage Style Dress

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