Butterick 6019 — A Polka Dot Bombshell Dress

21 Jul

Howdy, friends! I hope this missive finds you well. I have been doing some sewing and knitting lately and finally have something finished to show you!




This is Butterick 6019, a bombshell dress by Gretchen Hirsch of Gertie’s New Blog for Better Sewing. I have been muslining a dress like this intermittently for the past 2 years — I finally bit the bullet and finished one!




I chose this pattern because it has a lot of visual interest with the fitted bodice with sash accent, sarong-style skirt, and shirring on the back bodice. I think the shirring is what attracted me the most.




Alright, now for some wordy business about the process of creating this dress!

I started with the 14 D-cup pattern and made a muslin of the bodice. I ended up taking it in at the top and letting it out a smidge in the waist. I did a swayback adjustment on the bodice (but should have done one on the skirt, too). I also added about an inch to the bodice height to make the neckline more decent.

I found the cups to be waaaay too pointy for my taste so I tamed that down quite a bit also. I ended up shortening the bodice about an inch under the bust — I am accepting the fact that I am very short-waisted or my boobs are saggy…

That was all pretty straightforward stuff. The project got complicated when I decided to fully line the dress (the pattern only calls for partially lining the bodice — and for good reason I discovered) and then underline the bodice.




The bodice underlining was simple enough. I just used corset mesh cut a little bigger than the shirred pieces to stabilize that area but still allow for some stretch. I used muslin for the rest of the underlining and added way more boning channels than the pattern’s prescribed two. I sewed a waist stay to a few points on the bodice. Next time I make a dress like this, I will extend the underlining layer down to my high hip to keep it from cutting into my waist.




I also used bra foam for the cups instead of the batting that was called for.




For the shirring, I marked lines perpendicular to the grain at 3/8″ intervals. Sewing all the shirring was one of the most tedious parts of the project but also one of the most rewarding. Look how beautiful!




My dress is made from a navy and white polka dot silk cotton blend. It has a nice crisp hand but shows lint like it’s going out of style!




To line the bodice, I used a luscious 4 ply silk satin remnant for the non-stretch sections and a scrap from the Gertie slip kit (not finished yet) for the areas under the shirring. I left small openings in the back bodice lining seams to allow the waist stay to pull through.




Now, lining the skirt was a whole different monster. Since the skirt has a wrap front, I couldn’t just duplicate it and stick it inside. I decided to have the lining attached at the front vertical edges of both wrap panels which meant that something had to be stitched by hand — yuck! But hand stitch I did and don’t judge my really sloppy work.





I did a machine hem on the lining and a hand stitched hem on the shell. For my skirt lining, I used a cute ivory polka dot silk charmeuse.




I used my Threads #171 for inserting the lapped zipper with lining by machine, but as usual, I handpicked the overlap for greater control. Just like the method I used on my Rosy Elisalex.




I guess that’s about it on this dress. It was definitely a journey as I initially planned to wear it to a wedding a few weeks ago but ran out of time to complete it so let it sit for a few weeks before getting up the gumption to finish it. But finish it I did!



These photos were taken in the front yard of our eventual new house. I love our huge oak tree!

15 Responses to “Butterick 6019 — A Polka Dot Bombshell Dress”

  1. Judi July 21, 2014 at 10:59 pm #

    Beautiful dress…so worthy of all the work you put into it!!!!!

  2. crab&bee July 22, 2014 at 4:49 pm #

    Wow!! Nicely done on the fit and construction – this dress is a classic.

  3. Linda July 23, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    I really want to add more coverage on top, too. How did you do it?

    • Susie Homemaker, MD July 23, 2014 at 10:17 am #

      Hi, Linda! I will be happy to share that info with you. I will either make a post about it or email you directly. Thanks for reading!

  4. craftsanctuary July 23, 2014 at 6:59 am #

    Gorgeous! The fit is amazing, and I love the fabric!

  5. LLADYBIRD July 28, 2014 at 11:32 am #

    Omg, you look AMAZING! Beautiful dress, fits you like a glove! Very va-va-voom! Think I might have to make this up myself, even if I do have absolutely nowhere to wear it 🙂

    • Susie Homemaker, MD July 28, 2014 at 1:14 pm #

      Thanks, Lauren! I am a firm believer in creating an occasion to fit the outfit 😉

  6. Amy August 16, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

    Hello, I have come across your dress in googling reviews for this pattern. I am struggling with the muslin fitting myself and have found your descriptions very helpful, thank you! Your dress is just beautiful. I also feel the cups are too pointy for my taste, and I would like to raise the neckline as well. Did you pinch the cups to alter the pointy-ness? I have been a home sewer for over ten years but muslins are still new to me. I am also wondering if you shirred the muslin? So far I have just been working on fitting the cups and front bodice pieces. Thank you for your post and again your dress is wonderful.

    • Susie Homemaker, MD August 25, 2016 at 10:35 pm #

      Hi, Amy! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for your very kind compliments! I apologize for taking so long to respond to your questions. I did pinch out the excess cup fabric until I got a shape I was happy with. I think I remade the cups a few times, ripping out the old ones and sewing the new ones into the bodice muslin until I was satisfied. I did shirr the muslin as well so I could get an accurate idea of how the finished dress would fit. I hope this helps and please let me know if you have any other questions. Would love to see your finished dress! 🙂


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