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Butterick B5209 in Bare Nopal Gloom

This dress was around 4 years in the making...

I remember buying this pattern (I wrote "Sept. 2012" on the pattern packet). But at the time, I didn't use commercial patterns really at all because I went to fashion design school and thought that if I did that, then I really should be making my own designs up and not using someone else's patterns. I made my own sewing patterns for every single thing I made from around 2004-2014-ish!

This is still something hard for me to accept: the fact that I have transitioned to using primarily commercial patterns versus using all of my pattern making skills that I worked so hard to gain. (I still have all my books, blocks, tools, etc.) I'll make something if the mood strikes but it's so easy and fun to customize with commercial patterns.

That, and I am having wayyyy too much fun with all the stuff that's out there!

This dress is Butterick's 1947 reproduction pattern called B5209. I see many, many people have made this pattern out there and it's awesome! I like the sleeve version of this one though I have seen a few sleeveless versions online out there.

This dress is easily the prettiest dress I have EVER made. You know me -- I tend to make quirky 1960s dresses in crazy colors, color blocking, loud prints, etc.

For this one, I was going with more of a Rifle Paper sort of look; pretty, feminine, slightly retro but still contemporary. I think I made it happen!

The fabric for this is from and is called Bare Nopal Gloom, designed by Leah Duncan for Art Gallery fabrics. When I got this fabric in the mail, I almost cried because it is so gorgeous! Seriously.

It's a super lightweight voile fabric that is absolutely perfect for hot summer days like in the month of August in Chicago. While I did wash my fabric prior to sewing, I am SO SCARED to wash this dress!

Knowing me, it will get caught on something dumb in the machine, spin out, and rip to shreds. So I'm thinking I will have to hand wash this one until I am ready to take a chance on it.

 I did do a muslin on this one prior to sewing (below) as I was far too timid to just use the pattern out of the envelope for this one in particular. I usually wing stuff like this (why buy a pattern if you need to do multiple fittings anyway?) but really.... I should take the time to do muslins.

 You can hardly tell the edits I made but on the midriff part, I shortened it about 3/4" as well as took the hem up about 2" for a grand total of 2 3/4" off the entire length. (For reference, I am 5 feet tall!) I almost always make a size 10 and that's exactly what this one was.

My actual measurements are more like a size 12 (the 26 1/2" is exactly what my waist is) but it seems that I somehow prefer less wearing ease?

Sidenote: I feel bad for the person who bought this pattern because it says "easy" on it and then struggled their way through it. Because even at my advanced skill level, some of the directions on this one were confusing and the way the instructions were written out for both views kind of in one row were confusing.

I definitely was able to work it out, but I perhaps would have attempted to construct the bodice lining and the self pieces differently.  There is only a side zip on this one.

 But yeah.... this dress is gorgeous. I also love Art Gallery fabrics, so I will be ordering more from them. Hopefully, I will make at least 2 more iterations of this dress someday!


  1. I was absolutely obsessed with these Art Gallery voiles last summer. I somehow missed this print, but it's on my wishlist now! I washed mine in the regular washing machine, but I did find that one of my dresses has a couple of tiny threadbare spots now, so I think you're on the right track with being more careful. This is a great match of pattern + fabric!


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