Christmas Rose Cocktail Dress (Butterick 5603)

more blush for the holidays...

Happy Monday! This is my last Monday of work in 2016 and I'm very glad for that. We have a few more days before we head home (from North Carolina to Maryland to Virginia and back!) for the holidays and then after a short week we're heading back to Virginia for the traditional New Year's Eve bash with my best girlfriends--last year we did NoVA, this year Charlottesville! I'll be snapping (@helloalliej) basically the whole time if you want to follow along...

I have a few more little projects to share before the year is up, but this is the prettiest one! I know Christmas roses aren't traditionally pink, but that's how I feel in my new dress--like a blushing flower! Anyway, it's December, time for cocktail dresses and those sparkliest jewels that outshine the twinkle lights. It's been a quite a while since I've gone all out "Capital V-Vintage," and after a year of not too much vintage sewing overall, I was ready to dive into a seriously 60s brocade cocktail dress.

Most of the examples of 60s brocade cocktail dresses on pinterest (which, by the way, I 100% recommend browsing) are white, cream, or gold, however, and I wanted to be able to wear this dress to weddings--after all, that's really one of the only times in my lifestyle a dress as formal as this is appropriate. Pale pink--my default shade--it was! I think this dress will be appropriate year-round; the brocade makes it appropriate for winter but the pink color is light enough for spring and summer as well... although pink is certainly a four season shade for me!

This is Butterick 5603, but made the bodice of this pattern with a whole slew of changes, mostly with the aim of streamlining the silhouette. My first step was hacking together the A and C bodices, eliminating the underbust gathering in favor of darts. I also taped together the view A main bodice and the trim (for the record, it's not applied trim, but a separate pattern piece). I muslined my changes and was pleased that they all worked, so I stitched up the whole dress, and even posted a "nearly complete!" photo to the MBV facebook group (which you should definitely join, by the way) when I decided I thought the bodice fit could be better. Do y'all know how annoying it is to unpick stitches from brocade? Would. not. recommend. I made a quick FBA (of all things) and lengthened the front a bit to lower the seamline fully below my bust. You can't tell when comparing it to my bathroom selfie but I think the fit through the bust is much better. Other than the bodice, this was a straightforward make with no edits beyond taking the hem up a bit. I did add a separate belt to highlight the waist--empire waist is not my thing! It's just a simple tube, the same width of the underbust detail, with a hook and eye closure.

And did I mention... Bianca of Vintage on Tap has also made a version of this Butterick pattern to share today!! If you aren't familiar with her site, she is a pin-up style vintage blogger with amazing taste, and her boyfriend has some serious photo/videography skills--she makes videos of each of her projects, how cool is that? Showing just how much difference fabric choice can make, Bianca took hers in a totally different direction, using a gorgeous red satin to make view B (with front and back v-necklines) and I really feel like we should wear these when we co-star in a silly 50s romance... can't you see us as a Betty and Veronica duo? (She also whipped up a little cheat sheet to help you make your best dress yet in 2017, if you sign up for her mailing list! While you're at it, sign up for mine too?)

How is your holiday season going? I wore this navy dress to a friend's party this past weekend, and I was thinking about wearing this new one to Alex's office party, but it's on a workday evening, so I think it might be too dressy. What should I wear? Take a look through my archives and tell me what dress to pick or tell me what you're wearing to your upcoming events, I need some inspo!!


ps: keep your eyes here, i predict an end-of-year giveaway... :)

allie J.

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  1. Wow! This is lovely on you! I think the style is quite flattering on you and makes your waist tiny looking. Bianca's waist too! Fun to see the two dresses sewn up and both look beautiful and yet so different. I think the blue dress is fine for a midweek work you remember what people wore last year? I guess where is the work party? Perhaps dress for the venue?

  2. That's a very pretty holiday dress. Have a Merry Christmas, Allie!

  3. Lovely dress! The fabric is especially pretty. Great job, you'll have a ball wearing that one! :)

  4. I love this dress. I totally agree that darts are more attractive than gathers at the bust. Great idea for the belt, too.

  5. The dress is lovely and suits you so well!



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