Pattern Reviews: Vintage 1950s

Butterick 7206: Evening Gown (1957) - Recommended with caution (Advanced)

This beautiful gown pattern belonged to my grandmother, and it was the gown that my youngest daughter, Maria, wanted made for the 2012 Emerald Parlor Tipsy Tea, which had a 1950s theme.

It's important to note (as you can see on the package face) that the sizing for this 1957 Butterick pattern is precise - a size 16, 34 inch bust - no other sizing options are included like most of today's commercial patterns. Further, a size 16 in 1950s clothing patterns is not the same size 16 in today's clothing patterns. To illustrate this, I am size 14 retail and a size 16-18 in modern pattern sizing. My daughter is a size 6-8 retail and a size 8-10 in modern pattern sizing. For this vintage Butterick pattern, a size 16 measures 34-28-37 (Fortunately, Maria's exact measurements!) - note the significant variance in pattern sizing over 60 years.

While the pattern came together well, the short waisted design of the bodice surprised me. I needed to add couple of inches of length (you may view the alteration photos here). Further, if you have not worked with a portrait neckline, you may experience some difficulty. While aesthetically charming and deceptively simple, it's one the more difficult necklines to construct. Visit here for photographs of the completed gown and a discussion of the construction issues.

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