Thursday, May 7, 2015

New Vintage Pattern Review: Butterick 6212 Pop Over Dress

New retro sewing pattern Butterick 6212 is a super cute 1950's style popover, or pullover dress pattern destined to become a popular model this summer. It has great details in the shaped sweetheart neckline, midriff waistband and double buttons in the skirt back, with an optional back waist tie.

These photos show the how the actual garment looks on a model. At this point, small details are more clearly seen. This pullover style is really a multi-fit house dress, with a mock blouse attached to the mock waistband of a contrast color skirt.  The front bodice wraps around to the back where the skirt is buttoned to an 'inner back' panel.  This panel can be seen in the gap between the skirt at center back.

In several ways this dress is alot like Butterick 4790, which wraps to the front, rather than the back. The schematic draft for that dress shows how one bodice is sewn to the skirt, while the other side of the body has a plain sheath style design.  The sheath is worn to the front with Butterick 4790, while it is worn to the back with this pattern.  Both have bodices that wrap around with diagonal edges where it meets: at the front with Butterick 4790, and in the back with buttons in Butterick 6212.

The back view photo above shows where the skirt wraps come together, and there's fabric strain at the waistline where it buttons in back. This view also shows that the 'inner back' is probably a 'sheath' shaped one piece pattern: from shoulders to hem, shaped with 2 vertical darts.

The flat drafts of this garment reveal the seam lines and darts.  But the inner back piece of this dress is not shown. It is clear that the front bodice will wrap around to the back, and this bodice and waist band will be held in place by the button rows in back.

Looking closer at the back view, it seems that the 'inner back' sheath piece is not tightly fitted at the waistline, in fact the vertical darts used for shaping this piece are the only means used to create a snug waistline fit in back.  Without a tight fight, the front of this dress will shift and hang loose.

The strain along the waistline in back results in horizontal wrinkles as seen in the back photo. This strain may cause the buttons to rip out or tear the fabric of the "inner back" sheath, unless the waistline area has interfacing (which does not seem likely).

The back can be made into a better fitting piece if that "inner back" pattern has some adjustments. I feel that it should have a true waistline seam across the back. Even better, a waistband could be inserted with the same width that the "outer back" panels have, so it matches across the back, rather than showing a gap between the buttoned skirt panels that are now seen.

A waistline would also make it possible for the "inner back" lower skirt area to be cut from fabric that matches the rest of the skirt (it doesn't match with the current pattern design).

How to add a waistline seam:

Using the top button placement on the back sheath pattern, draw a horizontal line across the back at the waistline button location as shown in the picture above.

Cut along this line.

Using a wide piece of paper or tissue cut into 3" wide strips the length of this cut edge. Tape a 3" wide strip along each edge, then mark a line that is 5/8" from the cut on the newly added strip. This will be the new seam allowance.

There is a tutorial for a similar process that shows an example of cutting apart a pattern, adding seam allowances and sewing it back together HERE from Craftsy that shows this method as used when creating color blocking pieces.

After two pattern pieces have been made, the lower pattern piece will become the 'skirt' and can be cut in fabric to match the skirt front.  This will make the back view have a continuous color, rather than the gap between the buttons.

The upper piece can be cut from the bodice fabric.

Baste this seamline together for a fitting. The existing darts may need to be made deeper to shape the waistline and add curves for hips in back.

When sewing this seamline, it can be reinforced with a ribbon or seam tape to keep the seam from 'popping' or breaking when the skirt is wrapped around and buttoned along that seamline.

Other fitting finepoints: The bodice has bust darts that 'end' into the armhole wrap. This shouldn't gap or fall open when wrapped around to the back. If the arm hole seems too loose, the bust dart might need to be taken in more, making the loose armhole tighter.

Style alterations: If you want to see the back of the skirt meet, rather than show a gap, just extend the skirt pattern to meet in the middle of center back with a 1" overlap for buttons. By lengthening the back waistband and skirt, it will be possible for the center back of the skirt to button together, rather than expose the "inner back".

Once this pattern has been fit and any style alterations have been made, this will be an easy dress to sew and wear, especially in easy to sew summer cottons.

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Lynn said...

What a great how to! I associate the Popover with Claire McCardell, but now I see that her version was only one of many.

Jen O said...

Lynn, you are right, and the pattern lists it as a 'pullover back wrap' style. I just know many do use the term 'popover' for this type of dress too. It seems more descriptive in some way.

Helvetica Von Ampersand said...

Fantastic review! I bought this pattern a couple of weeks ago and I will refer to your comments on alterations when I decide to make it.

Jen O said...

Thanks, looking forward to seeing how that pattern makes up.

Anonymous said...

I found this blog post after searching for reviews of this pattern. Did you ever get it to make it? I bought it last weekend. From the directions, a 1” elastic and hook and eye closure is used to create a waistband, attaching the inner back around the front waist to the other side. To me, this seems like it would create the snug fit you were thinking was lacking. It doesn’t address the armhole gape you mentioned, but presumably, having it sized correctly for the wearer would take care of that aspect. - Kaitlyn

Jen O said...

Kaitlyn, I do think that if you can get a good custom fit, this would probably work. I think that many sewists want a 'quick fix' when they start this pop-over style of dress, hoping for a more universal fit. Hopefully the elastic waisting (I did not know it had that), will help out. Obviously I re-considered and did not make up the dress, but hope to eventually make it up for my daughter-

Jen O said...
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