Retro Butterick Dress & A Morning At Chiswick House

Hello everyone! I hope you all had a lovely weekend! The hubby and I finally made it over to Chiswick House and gardens for a wander around in the sunshine. It is the most beautiful place and only a 10 minute train journey from where we live in London. We have been meaning to go for years- don’t you love it when you finally get around to one of those long standing intentions!? I also finished reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover this weekend which has been on my to do list for about eight years so it was obviously a good weekend for getting things done!

I wore one of my latest creations to the gardens as it was the perfect weather for a cotton day dress. It is one of a few final summery projects I am squeezing in before I need to start working on some Autumn dresses. I have been making up lots of the big four vintage republished patterns recently (just having a phase of them for some reason!) and this one is a Retro Butterick Dress from 1956. I made it up in a discontinued Liberty print called Carline that I was lucky enough to nab on eBay- I have always wanted to get hold of this particular colourway as I love pale blue but had never found any available until now. Hooray for eBay!

Retro Butterick Dress Hanging

I decided to try and take some pictures of the dress for the blog whilst I was wearing it out and about. Normally all my photos end up being taken in my house for some reason and I have been wanting to mix things up a little recently, standing in front of our dresser is getting a bit old! A sunny morning in a beautiful setting was also a great excuse to play around with my new camera.

Retro Butterick Window


Retro Butterick Elsie Bench

Retro Butterick 5605 is a dolman sleeve dress that actually has a big circular skirt- I switched it out for a gathered A-line skirt as I had a few dolman sleeve vintage dresses floating around in my head when creating this and they all featured gathered skirts. I love the original skirt shape and think it would make a fantastic dress- maybe a winter evening dress in a black silk or velvet? I originally bought the pattern with the bracelet length sleeve version in mind so a winter version is a must make.

The pattern came together really nicely but don’t be fooled by the thought that the lack of set in sleeves will make this a quick project. There are eight very sharp corners to sew- four on the bodice and four on the bodice lining. They all need reinforcing, careful pinning, slow stitching and a lot of precision so this is rated accurately as an intermediate pattern I would say. That being said the instructions for reinforcing and sewing the corners are fab, the corners are reinforced in a way I have never come across before that I will be using on all corners like this from now on.

Retro Butterick Corner

We had such a lovely morning walking around the garden, the house is a Neo-Palladian villa and apparently the gardens were originally inspired by the romance of Italian landscape painting. There are so many things to see as you wander around including beautiful sculptures and statues, a little temple with mirror pond and an ornamental bridge. As we were strolling through some of the hidden little pathways we even stumbled across a guy all on his own just playing his saxophone deep in one of the wooded areas- it doesn’t get more romantic than that! It was such a magically summery day-  I don’t think even my fancy-pants new camera was able to capture it but  I gave it a try!

Chiswick House

Lion Sculpture

Temple and Mirror Pond

Thanks for reading! Have you been anywhere inspiring recently?

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44 responses to “Retro Butterick Dress & A Morning At Chiswick House”

  1. Oh, wow, this is a really beautiful dress! I love the pattern and your fabric choice makes it look so romantic and dreamy. Great pics in the garden, as well. Looks like a fun day.

  2. Lovely dress! I remember making it in my early days of sewing (it was before I understood measurements, size and ease so its too small in the hips and too big in the bodice). I remember those sharp corners… I found them very intriguing. It not a feature seen on modern patterns! I should revisit this pattern…

    • Yep intriguing is a good description! I was really surprised by the way they were re-inforced when I saw the instructions but it’s so clever! 🙂
      You should definitely revisit the pattern! 🙂

  3. Such a lovely dress and print 🙂 I think I’m all finished with summer sewing. Mind you it still seems to warm to be wearing long-sleeves, although I’m sure I’ll be glad of them next week when we’re back to the school run.

    • Thanks Louise! Yep I think summer sewing has come to an end for me too now- apparently it’s getting super hot again next week which make thinking of cooler weather garments difficult too though! Guess it’s a good time to sew some non- garment projects! Perhaps I’ll get started on a baby quilt I’ve got planned for my sister 🙂
      Back to the school run already!- this summer has gone so fast!

  4. I love that Liberty print too. I have some in red, pink and even dark blue but I’d never seen the pale blue – it’s lovely. I particularly like the back on your dress.
    Great photos – it’s amazing what you can find so close to London isn’t it?

    • I couldn’t believe it when they discontinued it, I thought it was one of their best 🙁 I have some of the dark blue too, it’s hard to know what to make with favourite prints that you know aren’t repeatable though isn’t it!
      I know!-I really love visiting such non-London little havens so close! 🙂

  5. Your hair is getting really long!! Chiswick house looks wonderful, I hadnt heard about it before, but must check it out one day. Thanks for all the inspiration you give everyone….next time I come to London (to see Top Hat in september which Im really looking forward to) I am going to look for vintage shoes in Carnaby st (I forget the name of the shop), but my renewed interest in vintage fashion is all down to you!

    • Ah thanks Angela! So happy to think I might be offering some vintage inspiration!! 🙂
      Ah Top Hat- that should be great fun!
      Chiswick house is absolutely worth a visit, really really beautiful! 🙂

  6. Oh my goodness, what a beautiful dress! But I shouldn’t really be surprised, as everything you make is always beautiful. And I really love the fabric you chose, such a gorgeous colourway.
    Love your photos, Chiswick house looks lovely, and it’s fun to see you ‘outside’ – but I do love your usual style of documenting your makes too – they show off the garments really well.
    Oh, and love your hair curly!

    So in summary – lots of love for this post! 😀

    • Ah thanks Suzie!
      It really is lovely there! So tranquil and pretty!
      Aw thanks about the hair- I have been experimenting with pin curls! Takes a bit of practise but is lots of fun! 🙂

  7. Such a pretty dress! Perfect style for you! I am really liking the gathered skirt you added better than the circle skirt of the original, especially in this fabric.

  8. You’ve done it again my dear! This is beautiful. Classy, feminine, elegant, soft, ethereal, and I love the A-line skirt adaption. I also love the pairing with those adorable shoes!!

  9. A beautiful print which perfectly matches the style of your dress. Gorgeous location and perfect weather for your vintage style too 🙂
    Betty D eat your heart out – you have competition!!

  10. Nobody rocks pastels like you do! Every time I look at your blog, I want to take my hair a shade lighter, and put on something peachy-pink, and get a new Revlon Creme lipstick! (Oh, and new shoes while I’m at it.)
    This dress is so lovely, and looks right at home in the garden setting.
    Will you share the corner-sewing technique with us? I really like your tutorials.

    • Aw thanks Wendy! Glad to hear my pastel obsession is contagious!- hehe ;)Oh I do love those Revlon lipsticks! 🙂
      I have just bought some powder blue wool crepe and a pinky wool fabric to make some 1960s winter dresses after seeing Marianne’s amazing vintage collection on her lovely blog Esme and the Laneway. I always feel I should try and avoid too many pastels in the colder months but I couldn’t resist!
      I will absolutely be documenting those corners on the next rendition of the butterick dress as I think the reinforcing technique the pattern uses is really worth sharing 🙂

  11. Fab, fab, fab. Lovely to see your creations outdoors in such a beautiful setting. Again you have inspired me. I bought Butterick Retro B5603 ages ago and have never made it up. Thanks also for your tip about stockists of Liberty Fabric. Shaukat is new to me but what an amazing range of cottons – and silks! Enjoy your beautiful dress. I hope you have many more lovely days out this summer to wear it again. Ann

  12. It’s so feminine and pretty, I am jealous of the fabric! A winter version in black velvet with long sleeves would look fab, make it 🙂

  13. Gorgeous colourway on you Amy! You look so classy as always! Loving the sunnies too, where are they from? Can’t wait to see your winter version!

  14. Love it, have it, want to make it! HOWEVER….like you, I’m not up for the huge skirt and being inexperienced was hoping for some advice on how to make the gathered skirt (ie how gathered?). Totally beautiful, I’m making it in Dahswood Prairie(the blue flowers on a white background 🙂 )

    Keep inspiring xxx (oh! and love your gender reveal! xx)

  15. Me again! Sorry!

    I want to line mine and noticed that you did too….how did you do it bearing in mind the lining forming the neck facing and there’s the buttonhole bit too!

    Thanks xx

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