Vintage Midnight Swing Dress - Vintage Butterick B6158

Friday, 21 March 2014

Hey Guys,

I present to you the recent bane of my life - Vintage Butterick 6158. 

Incredible pattern, eh?? I adore that red one.

I didn't make an official vintage pledge this year, but I hope to use at least 3 - so here's the first :)

This is my newest make for the Minerva Crafts blogger network. I used a Navy Blue Bengaline stretch suiting to make this dress. I chose the fabric because when I looked at the tags of some of my vintage reproduction dresses, they all were all made of Bengaline so I said I would give it  a go!

Working with this fabric was interesting. It doesn't crease easily, which is handy, but is difficult to press seams out flat. Almost a bit spongy and boingy. My iron is not exactly up to scratch at the best of time anyway so it may work better with a bit more steam power. A new iron is on the cards soon!

I made a muslin of the bodice, which was a good fit - I only added an inch to the back seam (which I had in fact added when I measured the pattern. Unfortunately, I hadn't factored in the number of seams/darts, etc in the bodice, and the thickness of the fabric. In total there are 7 seams/darts and also the front fold over! The bulk of all those seams made the bodice way too small.


I had to taper out most of the seams to even squeeze in, so I am going to have to be careful not to put on weight before I need to wear it!! In fact I'm shocked that I managed to fit the bodice into the skirt in the end, as I didn't keep a close track of their respective circumferences. There was a reasonable amount of easing to be done with about 1200 pins!

I will definitely not be rushing into this dress again, as it was pretty tricky in many places, but I definitely learned some things, and you gotta challenge yourself sometimes. One of the trickiest bits was the upper bodice curves, which have mini-pockets behind the curve like the popped skirt pockets do. I'm not sure I can even explain how it goes together. The hardest part was having to clip into the point, turning it under and topstitching all around. There ends up being nothing to turn under at the tip of the clipping, so its bloody hard to get a good finish!

The other tricky bit was the side zip, never before have I attempted one. It was a bit of a haphazard attempt, but it worked out semi reasonably in the end, so all's well that ends well. It was almost the last thing I did in the dress (as per pattern instruction I may add - and then all I got in the instructions was "insert slide fastening". Thanks pattern. Thanks FOR NOTHING)

And as well as it turned out in the end ("well" used loosely here) I do still despise side zips.

My body doesn't suit them - I need to use safety pins to hold the zip close together to get it up! I have always had issues with side zips. Maybe its because I have such a steep curve from waist to hip and then back out to ribcage. It's the only thing I can think of!

The buttons were vintage buttons from my stash, and I really love them. I used the gold version on my sister's Christmas skirt. I'm sad that they are gone! I can't even remember where I picked them up, I went on a button rampage a little while back.

I had to chop about 5 inches off the bottom of the skirt, and when I hemmed it, it was tricky (again?? who'dve thunk it), as it was more curved than it looks, and not as full as the front drawing depicts. After I had stitched it, some of the hem had that warped look about it where the curve couldn't fold flat.

To deal with this I basically gave it a second row of stitching below the first row which worked out dandy - I will definitely employ this method in the future! Flattened out all the silly warping and looks like a twin needle.

I'm don't think the sleeves are supposed to be so curved out but the fabric has a lot of body - and a decent amount of stretch too I might add (although the way it all worked out, I didn't have the stretch direction around my waist - mores the pity. Will definitely take more factors into account next time I lay out my pattern pieces.

This is me trying to show the width of the skirt, haha

Oh and I used most of the 4m of fabric for this pattern - the most I've ever used! Granted I could've lost 5-6 inches off each skirt piece, but I didn't think to measure at the time.

Either way I've come full circle with this dress. I didn't feel much for it during the make but it's definitely growing on me now! Of course my kit is available for anyone who wants to give Bengaline a go!

And to reward you for your reading, I will include the photo's I found amusing when I flicked through what I took

Pop ya collar, eh?


Emmie x


  1. Charity Shop Chic21 March 2014 at 10:50

    "Insert side fastening" HAHAHA typical!

    This looks great on you - great colour with your hair - love the shoes too! Fabulous!! x

  2. A Stitching Odyssey21 March 2014 at 11:41

    Ooooh Emmie! I'm so pleased you saw this make all the way through, because it's gorgeous It really suits you and you look every bit the chic vintage lady in it! I've totally added it to the #vintagepledge Pinterest board and will be tweeting imminently

  3. This is beautiful. You look incredibly stylish

  4. This is such a great make! Even with all the issues you had it still came out looking wonderful. :D

  5. Sew Little Time21 March 2014 at 13:32

    this looks great emmie! despite all your issues getting it done. it really suits you and look you really fresh and lovely in the pics too. hopefully means you are feeling better now?

  6. Yes feeling much better!! Thank you!

  7. Thanks! I just have to watch the cookies, lol

  8. Cool! I'll have to take a look at your board :)

  9. Thanks! These are not shoes I can even wear anymore I think, very much car to bar!

  10. Charlotte Helen Nadia Cooper21 March 2014 at 17:20

    I thought you and your readers would love to read the interview I did with the editor of Vintage Life magazine, Rachel Eggleston-Evans who said when I asked her about her influences, "There isn't really one answer. As a designer, I like to take ideas from here, there and everywhere. But if I had to pick one – my mum." Read more at

  11. Well done for persevering through all the issues - it was definitely worth it! Your dress looks great!

  12. OH MY GOD. First of all you look FIT AS! Second, this is just so authentic looking. You've taken my breath away, it's beautiful. xxx

  13. Oh Emmie!!! I love this so much. Ooooozing style, lovely lady! xxx

  14. This is beautiful! I take my hat off to you for sticking with it after all the fitting issues. I haven't heard of Bengaline before, it sounds like it would be a good winter fabric. I must remember it. Also, I love your hair! Lynne

  15. This is FAB! I love the fit on you, and all the little details - pockets etc - are just perfect. And I like the new technical term you've introduced - 'boingy'

  16. Emmie, this is all kinds of amazing! It may have been a PITA but the end result is gorgeous.


I really adore reading your comments :)

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