Butterick 6354 by Patterns by Gertie is a retro-style set of summer coordinates. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it, but held off making it until I had a vacation planned. This March was finally the time!
I had about four yards of a lightweight tropical print in my stash that seemed perfect. I knew I wouldn’t have enough to make all of the pieces, but I thought with some creative layouts, I might get pretty close.
Due to the fabric requirements, the shorts I made don’t use the Butterick pattern, but the rest of the pieces do. I’ve only made modifications for fit.
Butterick rates this pattern as Easy, which they describe as follows:
There will be more details when the techniques are simple and fewer details when the techniques are more involved. Some fitting knowledge required.
So, the garments with easy views have detailed instructions. The more complicated pieces have less. It’s left as an exercise for the customer to figure out which parts Butterick considers simple. When things get a little vague, you are expected to find (or already know) the answers on your own.
I think I did that and hopefully I can pass some of my newfound knowledge on to you.
I would rate the skirt as easy, the jacket as slightly more difficult, and the bustier as most difficult. Although I didn’t make them, I would put the side-zip shorts between the jacket and the bustier.
This wrap skirt goes together easily and has some details that make it more flattering than many skirts that are much harder to make. There is a hook and eye that keeps the tucked layer in place* and ties that are shaped to make a pretty knot at the side. The tucks going in to the side tie and two back darts give it shape while keeping bulk at a minimum. It’s a nice feature that gives all kinds of body shapes a curvy look.
Instead of a waistband, the top edge is finished with bias binding. The other edges are simply finished with narrow hems. The pattern called for a purchased package of 1/2 inch binding, but I thought the contrast of a solid color would look wrong. I certainly didn’t see it on the pattern’s cover photo. Making my own was easy enough and didn’t use up too much material. It only requires a piece a little longer than the waist circumference.
I have to admit that I accidentally sewed the ties on upside down. It looked nice anyway, so I didn’t change it. Done correctly, it should be even better!
Being an easy view, the skirt had a nice complete set of instructions.
* I forgot to do the hook when I took pictures, so all of them have the inside layer hanging down a little bit.
The Bolero Jacket
The bolero might be the most versatile view in the pattern set.
It’s just big enough to cover the shoulders when worn over a slim fitting top. While the sleeves and shoulders would accommodate a variety of shapes with no adjustment, the ribcage/bust area uses darts for a close fit. I didn’t need to make adjustments, but given that I usually reduce fitted garments there, I would say it’s worth checking before sewing.
I didn’t have enough fabric to do the self-lining the pattern called for. I used a simple lightweight unbleached woven instead. I also chose to carefully topstitch the sleeves closed instead of slip-stitching. Using this technique, the jacket can easily be made reversible.
The bustier was the most ambitious project I have undertaken in a while. I was pleased to find out that it was not beyond my ability, although there were many steps.
Preparing the Pattern
I knew from experience that I would need to make a long waist adjustment, so I made that pattern modification before I did anything else. I then started a test of the front and back body pieces. My test bodice revealed a lot of fit issues. I pinned out new bust darts and new side seams and tried again. Success! I transferred all of the changes to the paper pattern using colored pencil to make sure I knew which lines to use. Once that was done, I adjusted and smoothed out the lines indicating boning placement.
The pattern uses a lapped zipper application with a separating zipper. Separating zippers are easily found in 7 inch lengths, which is what the pattern calls for. But since I made a long waist adjustment, I needed a longer one. After much searching, I found that they can be custom ordered from Botani Trim. I paid more for my custom zipper, but I really love it. It has metal teeth on soft twill tape, which really makes it feel authentically retro.
The pattern calls for 2 1/2 yards of 1/4 inch boning.
I started with a package of Dritz featherlite boning, then halfway in noticed that 2 1/2 yards would require 2 packages so things sat around for a while until I got more. Continuing with my theme of making mistakes from not reading carefully, I accidentally ordered a different boning the second time. The other type turned out to be a 1/4 inch casingless version.
When complete, the top contains 10 strips of boning. That gave me plenty of time to experiment with the two different types and how to sew them.
The less expensive uncased boning worked fine and will probably be what I use in the future. I used some scrap bias tape to make casings, which was fine for this because the casings were sandwiched in between the lining and the surface fabric. I would choose something softer and stronger if the casing was going to come in direct contact with skin.
By the tenth strip, I had a process.
Carefully mark the wrong side of the lining fabric with the placement lines and the seam lines.
Then, for each boning strip:
- Make a small arrow in the seam allowance to show the center of each placement line.
- Cut casing strip to go from seam line to seam line
- Iron small squares of fusible tape to upper and lower edge of casing (more for longer or curved sections)
- Fuse casing in place
- Using blind hem foot, sew casings in place close to the edge, leaving top and bottom open.
- Cut boning strip to casing length.
- Using nail clippers, clip ends into curved shape
- Using lighter, slightly melt ends to smooth them (takes a little practice)
- Insert the boning into the casing.
I have to say that I am amazed at how effective the boning is at smoothing out all of the top’s little pull lines and wrinkles.
Another unexpected bonus was that I don’t need to wear a bra under this top. The boning is placed directly over the bust points, so it conceals very well.
Putting it all Together
I did my best to squeeze all four of B6354‘s views into the fabric I had, but there was just not enough for the shorts. So I took the pattern pieces I had from my Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts and just barely made them fit with the scraps.
Perhaps that should have been a hint, because squeeze and just barely fit is what these shorts are all about! It seems that I took too much comfort in the comfort food over the winter. Oh well. They’ll make great motivation for getting in shape this summer.
I go into detail on how to make them here: Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts – Part 1 and here: Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts – Part 2.
Separating Zipper – Custom Length
Separating Zipper – 7 inch
Dritz Featherlite boning
1/2 inch Buttons
7 in non-separating Zipper
3/4 inch button
Lightweight fusible interfacing
Butterick 6354 Sewing Pattern
Itch to Stitch Angelia Shorts Sewing Pattern
Have you made a bustier before? Corset? I would love to hear from you!
Until next time, happy sewing!