Retro Polka Dots Dress

Hi guys!

I’m making a retro dress again!!! This time in navy polka dots! It’s the same pattern as my last “big project” (my dress for Gertie’s Grand Giveaway), meaning Butterick 6094.

One of my friends liked the dress and the pattern so much that she asked me to make her a version of the dress! She’s going to wear it to her softball team’s end-of-the-year banquet (and not be that awkward person whose dress matches someone else’s). Yay!

We went to Joann Fabrics together and picked out this lovely navy-and-white polka dot fabric for the body of the dress and this white floral for the back contrast flaps.

I got really nostalgic for my toddler sewing days standing in the quilting cottons section of Joann’s. It brought me back to pulling fabrics out of my grandmother’s stash and impatiently waiting for her to do her rotary cutter magic (arms crossed behind the back, out of the rotary cutter’s fearsome reach) so I could put together another baby quilt.

It was a good thing I was feeling broke and coupon-less because I might not have gotten out of the store with my wallet intact. And then I would have to face the rage of my grandmother for buying fabric when people won’t stop giving it to her left and right  🙂

(You think I’m joking … I’m not joking)

Anyway, we got out of Joann’s with the dress fabrics and the dress fabrics only and I got to cutting out a muslin for the bodice. I was really hoping that the pattern would fit her as well as it fit me the first time so that I could avoid alterations.

Even cutting out the pattern again gave me a weird sense of deja-vu. I also realized that in true Butterick fashion, a few of the pattern pieces’ “cut 1 of fabric” labels were totally wrong, which freaked me out. Also really annoying because hello, where are your editors, Butterick?

Bodice Fitting

The fitting went great! I only had to take in a little at the shoulders and underarm, which is practically nothing. I meant to add a little at the center back because it was a little tight but totally forgot when I cut out the main fabric.

Because I had so few alterations to make, I went ahead and used the mock-up as the lining.

Retro Polka Dots Dress | Strings Attached

I took out the shoulder seams and a bit of the side seams and basted the back flaps facing over the lining. I skipped the facing for the front lining since I found it redundant and useless last time. (Seriously, why is there even a facing on a lined dress? Gah.)

Sewing the Bodice

I was really looking forward to sewing this again because I assumed it would go pretty quickly. Initially, Mr. Seam Ripper had some cameos and I got a little worried, but then things started going better. I sewed the whole bodice in about 30 minutes.

It was great.

Retro Polka Dots Dress | Strings Attached

I checked in with my friend through Snapchat and got a big thumbs up. That’s where I stopped for the night.

Retro Polka Dots Dress | Strings Attached

The Rest

The next morning, I cut out and sewed up the skirt, completely skipping the petticoat. I had the zipper line marked from the first fitting, and I felt confident enough to go ahead and sew the zipper into the dress.

Last time, the zipper was a pain in the ass, took forever, and involved a lot of seam-ripping. This time, I got the piping to match on the first try, and I didn’t even melt the zipper accidentally trying to iron it open (done that a few times).

Retro Polka Dots Dress | Strings Attached

I slip-stitched the lining to the bodice at the waist seam and zipper and sewed up the shoulder seams.

pretty slip-stitching
pretty slip-stitching


All that’s left to do is the hem, and I’m waiting until the next fitting for that. Oh, and a hook-and-eye (but who honestly does those before the last minute?).

Retro Polka Dots Dress | Strings Attached

I have to say, I’m surprised with how much I like this dress. I feel like I said that all through the last one, but it’s really true. It’s such an effortlessly, apologetically vintage pattern and I think the polka dots really help carry that through, almost more than the plaid in my dress. And it’s hard not to like a dress that came together so quickly and easily.

I’ll have finished pictures for you in the next week or so. For now, here are pics on my dressform, with a petticoat underneath for volume.

What do you think of Butterick 6094 Take 2?

Thanks, as always, for reading 🙂


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