In Progress: Butterick 6019

13 Apr

Hey guys, guess what.


This is 100% not a joke. I am going to a literal high school prom.

Butterick 6019

Before anyone starts thinking that I’m dating someone WAY too young for me, I should probably use this opportunity to point out that my date is my BFF, who happens to be a high school English teacher and gets 2 free tickets to prom every year šŸ™‚ I will take any excuse I can get when it comes to dressing up, though – especially if it means I get to make a party dress! The bulk of my sewing used to involve a lot more frosting than cake, and while I’ve reverted to making a lot of useful basics, I still get starry-eyed when I think about ridiculous party dresses. Prom is the *perfect* excuse to get some fancy sewing out of my system!

My pattern of choice is Butterick 6019, which I have been wanting to make for ages. I’m going with view A, which includes removable halter straps and a circle skirt. The fabric is a black solid silk faille from Mood Fabrics. I ain’t gonna lie – I originally tried to buy something with actual color, red being my first choice. But it being prom season and all, Mood ended up selling out before my order was fulfilled and I had to choose a different color on the spot. Since I didn’t have time to get swatches for color comparison (and I didn’t want to end up with a bad color, considering this silk is $50/yard and non-returnable!), and the selection was super limited at that point, I ended up getting basic black. This means I probably am sewing the most practical formal dress ever. Oh well! šŸ™‚ At least I’m ready for my next black tie wedding, ha!

One more thing I want to point out about silk faille – it’s pronounced “FILE.” Not fail or foll (both of which I have tried and been laughed at for. Ok, y’all, it’s been like 10 years since I studied French and I wasn’t very good at it to begin with! Give me a break). I already made an ass out of myself, so now you don’t have to! ā™„

Butterick 6019 - In progress

This project is definitely a labor of love – there’s a lot of work (and notions!) that go into a dress like this. The bodice is lined with self fabric, and features boning, shirring, a lapped zipper, bust padding, and that beautiful bias-cut crossover piece. For the skirt, I decided to add horsehair braid to give it some extra body and really make it flare out. Whenever I start a project that includes a lot of notions, I like to corral them into one place so they are easy to find. In the past, it’s been Ziploc bags – which are super useful, but not really that pretty! I recently received this sewing notions pouch from Tailor Made Shop and it’s perfect for this use! The pouch is roomy enough to hold everything I need (it even fits a pair of 8″ Gingher scissors – not really necessary for this particular use, but GREAT for when I’m teaching and I need to take some tools with me!) and it zips securely so nothing spills out. And it’s way prettier than a Ziploc bag šŸ™‚

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I don’t want to freak anyone out here – but I actually TRACED my pattern pieces for this project. lolwut right!? I had a hard time determining my size (even with the finished measurements and cup sizing – the sizing on this pattern just doesn’t make sense to me at all), and so I needed to keep the sizes intact in case I cut the wrong one. Fortunately, the bodice of this pattern involves a lot of small pieces, so it wasn’t a huge time suck. I ended up going with a size 6 A/B cup at the bust (FWIW, I wear a D/DD bra so yeah, um, the cup sizing is a bit skewed here!) and graded out to an 8 at the waist. Since the skirt is just a giant circle, I didn’t trace those pieces.

I made a muslin of the bodice – shirring included, but no boning. The shirring is extremely necessary if you’re muslining this dress, as it drastically affects the fit. The sizes I traced and cut ended up being perfect, albeit the top of the dress itself is quite low (which I had read about in reviews, so no surprise there!). The pattern changes I made were to add 5/8″ to the top of the bodice all the way around, and then shorten every piece by 1/2″ at the lengthen/shorten line so the skirt seam would hit my waist. I also traced the cup pieces a second time and removed the seam allowances all the way around. These pieces ended up making the bust padding, which is constructed the same way a foam cup bra is made (with the pieces butted up together and zigzagged across the seam). Rather than cut my pieces and then remove the seam allowance – which is wasteful as hell, sorry – I did this instead. Look at the difference in their size!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

The pattern has a lot of markings for placement – boning placement, the bias strip, and just basic construction seam allowances. Since I didn’t want to risk a permanent stain on my dress, I marked the wrong side and then thread traced the markings with silk thread. The silk thread allows the markings to be seen from both sides, and can easily be removed. I used a different color for the type of markings – tan for the strip, white for boning, red for construction. This was MASSIVELY helpful when putting together the puzzle that is this dress.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

To keep the cups curved against my body and to prevent them from stretching out, I added twill tape to the seam allowance. This isn’t instructed in the pattern, but it’s good practice for anything that runs the risk of gaping (such as bustier tops like this, or woven wrap dresses). You basically just cut 1/4″ twill tape the length of the neckline minus 1/4″, then place it inside the seam allowance, up against the seam line. Since the tape is shorter than the neckline, the neckline gets eased into the length of the tape. The easing means the neckline curves with your body, and the twill tape provides some stability to an area that would otherwise stretch out over time.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Assembling the bodice is pretty easy and straightforward. I trimmed down, clipped, and graded my seam allowances pretty aggressively to prevent a bunch of bulk (silk faille is quite stiff), and pressed the life out of everything. #1 reason why I went with silk faille instead of cheaper polyester faille – it’s just easier to work with. I really shudder at the thought of trying to make this dress with something that doesn’t press well.

And now it’s time to shirr! I STRONGLY recommend testing this out on a scrap of your fabric first, as you might need to tweak your machine settings a bit.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

For shirring, you need elastic thread. Be *very* aware of the yardage amounts that your spool contains, by the way – I didn’t realize this brand only has like 11 yards, which is not enough for this project and I unfortunately ran out and had to stop and buy more (also, black elastic thread is harder to find than white, ugh). I used 2 spools, even though the pattern has you only buy one. Just FYI! Anyway, the elastic thread goes in the bobbin, and it is wound by hand with only a slight tension in the thread. The upper thread is your basic all purpose polyester.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Set your machine with a longer stitch length. For the Spiegel 60609, I used a 4.0 length.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

At this point, you’ll want to test the stitches and make sure the tension is good. If it’s not, you can adjust the tension in the bobbin (the little screws you see here). The needle tension (the numbered dial at the top of the machine) can also be used. If you mess with the bobbin tension, its a good idea to mark the location of the screws before you start twisting them around – just use a really fine point marker and draw directly on the bobbin. Otherwise, you might have trouble getting the tension balanced again when you’re done shirring – and you’ll need to take the machine in for a service to set things back to default (and this question has come up a few times – you can get a Spiegel machine serviced at pretty much any sewing machine dealer, regardless of the brand that they sell. *Most* dealers will service all machine brands, even if they sell something different). My Spiegel 60609 did not require any tension adjustments for shirring, so yay!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

To shirr, you’ll sew long lines of parallel stitching 1/4″ apart. Some people draw guidelines for this, but I just use the edge of my presser foot as a guide. The foot on the Spiegel 60609 is the perfect width for this. Start your first line of stitching a little outside of the seam allowance, and continue sewing parallel lines until the whole piece is covered. Leave long thread tails at the beginning and end of each line, otherwise your shirring will come undone.

Here are what my shirred pieces look like after stitching. Also, I know my nail color keeps changing. I told you, I had to go out and buy more elastic thread! Sewing came to a stall for a few days! blech!

Butterick 6019 - In progress
Right side

Butterick 6019 - In progress
Wrong side

After you’ve finishing sewing all those lines, you’ll have a really hairy looking piece of fabric that still doesn’t stretch. The real magic happens with you steam the crap out of it, which shrinks up the elastic thread and makes the whole piece really stretchy and awesome. It’s fun to watch it shrink up! However, I recommend skipping this step for now and waiting until the bodice is constructed first. It is a lot easier to sew those pieces when they are flat and non-stretchy. You’ll see the shirred pieces in all their glory at the end of this post šŸ™‚

Ok, back to the bodice construction!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the bust cups are slightly padded (to give that area some structure and also for modesty reasons, if you’re wearing this dress without a bra). The pattern calls for cotton batting, which I did not have on hand. Instead, I used foam padding that is used for bras. The pieces have the seam allowances removed, and then the edges are butted up next to each other and sewn across the split with a zigzag stitch.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Then the little padded cups are nested in the cups of the bodice lining, and sewn in. The pattern has you catchstitch this part, but I don’t particularly care if you see stitching inside my lining so I zigzagged those pieces in. YOLO, y’all.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I used plastic sew-in boning for this dress – the kind that comes pre-covered (purchased at Mood Fabrics, if you’re curious!). Spiral steel boning is nice, but a pain to work with (it has to be cut *exactly* to size and capped, and no). This stuff is much easier to use. I straightened out the pieces by blasting them with steam while they were still in their fabric casing (you can also dunk them in hot water to relax the plastic), and then removed the boning and sewed the empty casing to the bodice lining. Like I said, the boning can be sewn through – but it’s easier to get a consistent straight line if the casing is completely flat. After the casing is sewn down, you can just slide the boning in. I trimmed off the sharp corners at the top of the boning so it won’t tear through my dress fabric, and left the ends long (those will be trimmed when I attach the skirt).

Here is the bodice lining once assembled:

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

I added a couple extra pieces of boning for additional support – the center front was especially necessary to keep things smooth. Looking good so far!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Finally, time to attach those shirred pieces and cut off the thread tails! The pattern has you tie off each individual line of shirring… I don’t know about y’all, but pretty sure ain’t nobody got time for that. Instead, I shortened my stitch length and sewed two lines of stitching when attaching the shirred panels to the rest of the bodice. Once those were secure, I gave all those thread tails a haircut and then steamed the elastic.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Butterick 6019 - In progress

It shrunk up quite nicely!

Butterick 6019 - In progress

Here is the finished bodice flat.

Butterick 6019 - In progress

And here it is on my dressform! šŸ™‚

WHEW that was a lot of post! Next week, I’ll go over the rest of the construction. Can’t wait for prom! Yay for fancy dress making! šŸ˜€

68 Responses to “In Progress: Butterick 6019”

  1. Genevieve April 13, 2016 at 7:13 am #

    Lauren, even with all the details you write….your makes always sound so simple šŸ˜Š. I wish I had a BF who was a teacher going to Prom! I love getting all gussied up, but never have an opp. Can’t wait to see your dress…

    • LLADYBIRD April 13, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

      Because it *is* simple – as long as you take it step by step and try not to get overwhelmed with the whole picture (something I have to remind myself, especially with knitting patterns haha) šŸ™‚ And yes, I’m super excited to have an excuse to dress up! Those rarely happen these days šŸ™‚

  2. Martha C April 13, 2016 at 7:53 am #

    Wow! The construction on that is incredible! Fantastic job both sewing and explaining. Have a great tIme at prom. I know you will look fabulous in your new fancy dress!

    • LLADYBIRD April 13, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

      Thank you! I’m really excited to debut it šŸ˜€

  3. Indoor Kitty April 13, 2016 at 8:16 am #

    So, you went with featherweight instead of ridgeline for your plastic boning. (I’m assuming that you had the option of the –somewhat difficult to find –1/4 ridgeline since you’ve got the Mood hook-up.) Any reason?

    I have found that I prefer the ridgeline because I can easily stitch through it with a leather needle, and it stays flat once it’s been stitched. Most of my boning projects have been crafty or baby related — neckline of a nursing cover, fixing the sunshade on a swing, etc.

    • LLADYBIRD April 13, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

      Oh, I didn’t even consider ridgeline! I went with featherweight because that’s all Mood had (well, they had spiral steel – but I wanted something easier to work with, and I liked that it came with the casing). I didn’t even consider ridgeline, to be honest, because it’s been years since I’ve worked with the stuff and I’d completely forgotten about it haha šŸ™‚

  4. Marie-Paule Coutens April 13, 2016 at 8:32 am #

    Great work as always..! You impress me a lot, even with your French and I’m French…! I’m especially interested in this work of yours as it is one of my next project for work. (I’m an old jazz singer in France who makes her own dresses. Happy artist but poor Artist, I can’t afford the already done dresses but I must look like a million dollars most of the time, and classy…:-/
    So, I bought a personalize pattern from a lady on etsy but it comes with no explanations so the purpose of me following you, who is WAY more advanced and WAY more funny btw, will finally be fulfilled as I will try to walk into your footprints. Do you care about “sort of” recreations? Hugs mp

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:08 pm #

      Yay! I’m so happy that this will be helpful to you!! You will definitely look like a million dollars once your dress is done šŸ˜€

  5. Carol Crocker Ware April 13, 2016 at 8:39 am #

    OK, usually I’m a LLadybird Lurker but I had to comment this time. I looooove this post! Your bodice makes me want to buy this dress pattern! I love the fact that you chose black silk file! (LOL!) You will get a gazillion miles out of that dress. The bias band is flawless! I itch when I see made garments gone wrong (hence the pattern pic) and this dress requires no calamine lotion at all!!! Have a wonderful time at the prom! You are going to be stunning!

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

      Thank you so much!! I am super excited for this dress šŸ˜€

  6. Tasha @ By Gum, By Golly April 13, 2016 at 8:48 am #

    Ooh wee ooh week, can’t wait to see more! I made a tropical version of this dress last summer and those innards are still familiar. Only my fabric when doing the shirring lines shirred up as I went and I wanted to stab everyone within a mile radius. šŸ˜‰

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

      Man, your version last year was SO GORGEOUS. Consider it my inspiration for this one! But, ugh, the shirring. I’m so glad mine stayed flat and behaved itself because I don’t know what I would have done otherwise hahaha

  7. Deborah April 13, 2016 at 8:57 am #

    Thanks for this post! Not planning to go to prom this year šŸ™‚ but love the look of this pattern.

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

      Ha! You can live vicariously through me šŸ˜‰ hehe

  8. ellegeemakes April 13, 2016 at 9:24 am #

    Fabulous post! I am a shirring novice and now I’m itching to give it a try. You’ll have a gorgeous LBD when you’re done with this masterpiece. Can’t wait to see it!

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

      Thank you! I can’t wait to wear it šŸ˜€

  9. Amanda April 13, 2016 at 9:55 am #

    You can be as modest as you like, but you’re an incredibly talented seamstress. Nice work here. šŸ™‚

  10. Anne April 13, 2016 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, amazing and informative! Thank you for (always) sharing your work in such an incredibly clear and encouraging way.

  11. Lodi Srygley April 13, 2016 at 10:32 am #

    I predict major crushes from the boys at prom!

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:13 pm #

      haha let’s hope not – I’m almost twice their age! šŸ˜›

  12. Beth April 13, 2016 at 10:43 am #

    This is just the most beautiful dress! You’d better be posting prom pics as well — and….now we know what you’ve been up to for the past several days. If I tried to make this one, I’d never live long enough to wear it šŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

      Oh yes, prom pictures are definitely happening! šŸ™‚

  13. Nina April 13, 2016 at 10:46 am #

    I was feeling like all sewing projects were simple now, compared to my Cascade coat marathon, but I hadn’t accounted for prom dresses… So many steps! But it’s going to look amazing, so classic and elegant. By the way, for pronunciation crises, there’s always Forvo: .

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:16 pm #

      Ah, thank you for the link! Bookmarking that for future pronunciation situations haha

  14. mertxelasierra April 13, 2016 at 10:50 am #

    Very interesting post, Lauren. Of course it is better to mark all your pieces with thread! I learnt to use patterns without seam allowances and mark them on the fabric with tailor tucks. And then I baste. And then I sew them with the machine. The pining and machine stitching method is fast, but only works with very very simple designs, I think.
    And that shirring method, using the iron to shrink the threads is new to me. Usually I put some tension in the elastic thread when I wind it in the bobbin. As you sew, the fabric shirrs. I wouldn’t know what works best, but i’ll try your method.
    To test if the bobbin tension is OK, hold the thread and let it hang from it. The bobbin has to come down a little way, like 10 cm or so. If it falls lower, screw the screw, if it does not fall, unscrew it.
    Sorry to sound so smart ass here, jeje… but i like to share… go ahead with that beauty of a dress. It’s a wonderful fabric, Lauren, I want to watch it progress!

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:17 pm #

      You don’t sound smart ass at all! I’m always open to new tips and suggestions šŸ™‚ But do try the method of shirring with using the steam iron – it’s easier to sew the elastic lines if the fabric stays nice and flat šŸ™‚

  15. Christie April 13, 2016 at 11:00 am #

    “Wow” just about says it all. Awesome work!

  16. sewitorthrowit April 13, 2016 at 11:48 am #

    I like the black: it’ll show off your corsage.

  17. girlintheflammableskirt April 13, 2016 at 12:48 pm #

    Yay it looks amazing so far! Can’t wait to see all the prom photos!
    Also, can I just say that you are an amazing seamstress, not just for your awesome sewing skills, but because you do these long-ass detailed tutorials to make it accessible to everyone else.

  18. sylviesuzanne April 13, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    It’s so pretty it makes my stomach hurt! šŸ˜‰

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:19 pm #

      Wait till you see the end result! šŸ˜‰

  19. shesewsswell April 13, 2016 at 1:17 pm #

    1. You’re amazing. 2. Twirling Video, Please. Preferably in Slo Mo. 3. Thanks for being you.

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:20 pm #

      I will do my best to fulfill your wishes! ā™„

  20. Katie Lynn April 13, 2016 at 1:31 pm #

    I am in complete awe at the happenings at Chez Lladybird at the moment. I really wish I were more of a sewist when I see things like this, but I concentrate on knitting, and we can’t all do everything. (She says, as she has been cheating on knitting with cross-stitch, making Pretty Little Cities like a LIAR). I HAVE been considering busting out my sewing machine and making a quilt this summer, as I’m in need of a new coverlet and not best pleased with the purchasable options.

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

      Oh, knitting! I have been cheating on my knitting with my sewing. There just isn’t enough time in the day to do everything that I want to do!

  21. heather April 13, 2016 at 2:39 pm #

    you are a font of info! looks fantastic so far! thanks for sharing & hope you have a fabulous time! šŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:21 pm #

      Thank you! I’m looking forward to it šŸ˜€

  22. esewing April 13, 2016 at 2:41 pm #

    Looking great ! The adjustment you made on the length looks perfect as is the bodice is sitting perfectly on the bust , looking forward to seeing the dress completed

  23. JavicsCloset April 13, 2016 at 5:57 pm #

    Great job. I can’t wait to see the finished product.

  24. Ines April 13, 2016 at 8:38 pm #

    Oooh! I love it so far ! So elegant and sexy, that flip (must have a name that is unknown to me) of fabric over the bust that crosses across the chest is beautiful!

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:22 pm #

      Isn’t it!? That’s my favorite part of the dress!

  25. oonaballoona April 14, 2016 at 7:03 am #

    ok, you KNOW you had me at prom, but MY GOD WOMAN THAT BODICE!!!! stunning!!!

    • oonaballoona April 14, 2016 at 7:05 am #

      and i just checked that pattern envelope. your swoop doesn’t droop like the model pic, which makes my heart sing even more.

      • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

        YES! No droop in this swoop!! ps if only I could wear this to promaballoona ::sob::

  26. Kristel Quintana April 14, 2016 at 8:23 am #

    Your bodice is a zillion times better than the pattern photo. It looks very old school couture. You’re going to look like a 1950’s film siren!

  27. Lisa Poblenz (patternandbranch) April 14, 2016 at 9:13 pm #

    This is a crazy pattern! I love seeing it come together. And THANK YOU for telling us how to say “faille”. I need a fabric dictionary with pronunciation guide! Can’t wait to see the rest.

    • Mabel April 15, 2016 at 5:47 am #

      Inspirational! Love to see the results!!

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:41 pm #

      Right?! I am happy to help if only to keep someone else from mussing up the pronunciation!

  28. Becky Thompson April 15, 2016 at 5:50 am #

    Great tips, great instructions, great post. I “print-friendlied” your post into a .pdf and added it to a folder on my laptop I called Formal Wear for future reference. I never thought of removing boning before sewing the casing. DUH! Brilliant. I hated sewing the boning in a previous project (end result was crappy) and the thought of removing the boning never even entered my mind. And why don’t pattern companies put in the instructions what actually works like how you installed the shirring? Do they intentionally make sewing hard so you get frustrated and never want to come back? Ugh. And thanks for FILE. In my mind, I always heard “fil-yay” being that I took Spanish vs. French in school. I knew it wasn’t right but I’m not sewing it either so… šŸ™‚

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:44 pm #

      If it makes you feel any better, I started to sew the boning on while it was still in the casing too! Then I realized, duh, I could remove it and things would be much easier (and smoother!).

  29. Grace April 15, 2016 at 12:58 pm #

    Fabulous post! I love reading all the awesome detail. Good for you for making a fancy schmancy party dress!

  30. New Capel Street: Fabric Division April 15, 2016 at 4:56 pm #

    This is so fucking exciting! Can’t wait to see the results!

  31. klarisabet April 16, 2016 at 1:22 am #

    Wow. You do make it sound so smooth and simple….*bookmarking this post for future copycat moves*

    • LLADYBIRD April 19, 2016 at 8:46 pm #

      It’s smoother than simpler than you’d think! šŸ˜‰

  32. jenables May 8, 2016 at 2:35 am #

    Heya! I have been shirring pieces for a project as well and I had a bit of a eureka moment after I had done the first (which is not the first thing I had shirred, but it had been awhile). I was like, hey why have all these loose elastic ends when I could just start the next row? I still backstitch at the beginning and end of each row, but can’t see any real need to cut the thread, plus I found it turned out much neater. Thoughts?

    • LLADYBIRD May 9, 2016 at 8:13 am #

      Damn that is a really good idea!! Definitely going to try that next time, thank you for the tip!!

      • jenables May 9, 2016 at 2:11 pm #

        Well, thank you for chronicling your sewing journey, I have learned a lot from you!


  1. Sew Fashionable 04/18/16 - SewsNBows - May 6, 2017

    […] Constructing a prom dress at Lladybird, but mostly how to pronounce silk faille. […]

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