Butterick See & Sew B5739 (or My Camping Dress)

The title of this post is not because I would wear this dress camping – but because I could use it as a tent!

I haven’t been sewing much recently but thought I’d whip up a quick and easy dress. I wouldn’t usually make a muslin of such a simple garment as this one:

but when I started to cut out the pattern and took some measurements I thought that a muslin might be a good idea because I didn’t want to risk wasting my pretty fabric.

I usually sew a size 14 or 16 (occasionally something different on an oddly sized pattern such as Vogue 1247 that has lots of reviews saying that it runs large), but I have never in my sewing history considered making an extra small (size 4 to 6 based on the back of the Butterick envelope).  However, after lots of measuring I couldn’t see any reason that I needed to make this tent dress in a larger size than the XS, so that’s what I cut out.  I used an old quilt cover for this muslin.



Even this size (in case you missed it above – I made the extra small) is far too big for me.  I have no idea what the pattern drafter at Butterick was smoking on the day this dress was drafted, but I hope s/he enjoyed it!

I was hoping that even if this muslin didn’t work out as a dress, I would keep it as a nightie (I even matched the stripes at the side seams), but there is no way another person is going to ever see me wearing this monstrosity.

This pattern actually made me quite angry because it’s the sort of pattern a new sewist might pick this up because it’s obviously a very simple pattern. The See & Sew patterns are also a lot cheaper than many of the others so I can see that also being tempting to a newbie.  If they then followed the instructions they would end up with something completely unwearable.  Oh, I nearly forgot to mention that the cut on sleeves show the entirety of my bra band at the side if I raise my elbow to anything above waist height. I could see this easily disheartening someone new to the sewing world and they could give up on the whole sewing idea.

If I’d made this newest dress in a size 16/18 as directed by the measurements on the back of the pattern envelope and it had come out this size, then I wouldn’t be as annoyed – I’d just put it down to my own stupidity for not measuring the tissue pieces, but when a size 4/6 comes out this ridiculously large, then I can blame nothing but the pattern.

Edited to add:  I’ve just started writing a review on PatternReview and have now noticed that although the model on the right front of the envelope appears to be wearing leggings (marked as C), the description on the back of the envelope for C is “Loose-fitting pull-on pants with tapered leg”.

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13 Responses to Butterick See & Sew B5739 (or My Camping Dress)

  1. mrsmole says:

    Just what I have been saying for years…pattern are not what they used to be. They are filled with weird sizes, left off matching notches, ill matched side seams and the crappiest directions or lack of directions EVER! Pity the poor novice who thinks she may even enjoy sewing or create a wearable garment. What you ended up with was a shroud….donate it to a funeral home so they can wrap a poor homeless person in it before burial. It is a shame we cannot get our money back after purchasing such bad patterns or complain to the companies who employ these people who turn out such rubbish. On my blog I do lots of fitting of patterns and comment on bad sizing etc but even this one could not be re-worked into something nice….belted or not.

  2. prttynpnk says:

    Oh, thank heavens you didn’t waste that gorgeous fabric on this muu-shroud (thats a design hybrid that no one wants!) How frustrating- what is the editor/copy person thinking when something like this gets by? Altho I do know people who think leggings are ‘loose fitting AND pants!

  3. Cissie says:

    Aren’t you so glad that you made a muslin!? Can’t believe how enormous that is — straight from Omar the Tentmaker. Hope you find a good use for that special fabric.

  4. SewingElle says:

    Another reason to stick with Burda!

  5. judy says:

    I am so sorry your pattern turned out so horrible.. I totally agree, the pattern maker should be ashamed of this one.. I am so proud that you didnt cut your beautiful fabric on this. Look forward to seeing that gorgeous fabric in a beautiful pattern..

  6. Elle C says:

    I share your rage, When I started sewing I ran across quite a few bad patterns, fortunately I was too stubborn or stupid to quit, I can’t understand why they fail to realize that they are losing potential customers.

  7. amaryllislog says:

    I’m in agreement here. I stupidly made a Vogue dress I had been obsessed with, oddly the sizing was XS, S, M, L, XL and I though will I should be a medium, I’m 5’11″… it was the largest, ugliest thing I have made to date and I thought I should just give up on sewing if this was all the better I could do…or perhaps the fault should be shared by the pattern company!

    I’m glad you didn’t cut into your beautiful fabric (unlike stupid me).

    Good that you blog about it, one way to get the word out to others!

  8. That newbie who would give up – that’s me! I’ve learnt so much since I started reading blogs. Ive read on other blogs lately that the fashion ATM seems to be for huge oversized dresses. And last night a Simplicity pattern popped up on my Facebook of a similarly over sized tent. I’m not going there but I am going to continue on my journey of learning to sew for myself. Thank you for the heads up on this pattern.

    • Definitely don’t give up. There are some great patterns out there – the problem is there seem to be too many bad ones as well. I’m just happy I found patternreview about six months after I started sewing – I think that’s the main thing that kept me going. Then I discovered sewing blogs and it got even better 🙂

  9. T. Sedai says:

    Wow, that is pretty horrible sizing. Normally I avoid sack-like patterns (though I do think the belted dress on the envelop picture is kinda cute), and now I feel like I have even more reason to do so. I also tend to find that when the pattern sizing is S-M-L instead of numbered sizes that there is a crazy amount of ease in the patterns. I am often making S or XS instead of the medium my measurements would indicate from the back of the patterns. Why a person would need 5 inches of ease for a cowl-neck knit top is beyond me. I much prefer Burda sizing – far more consistent between patterns.

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