• Mel Rath

My first (successful) stretchy garment- Butterick 5674

I’ve been sewing since I was 12, well with a sewing machine anyway. To be technical and completely honest, I actually learnt to knit first and my barbies had some little woollen creations, but that was when I was about 8 years old, and then somewhere between 8 and 12 I discovered sewing needles, thread and fabric scraps and barbie had some tight colourful little creations. At around 12 years old I discovered the sewing machine.

Sadly I didn’t discover seam allowances and ease until I was 17 so barbie and I had some tight, uncomfortable, somewhat see through clothing (I hadn’t discovered lining either). I really learnt to sew when I was 17 at TAFE, with industrial sewing machines. However for the past 17 years (if you’ve done your maths correctly you’ll work out that I’m currently 34) I’ve been sewing more successfully however had always struggled with stretch and ultimately all my stretch garments have found the Vinnies bin or the garbage bin. Until recently. Last week actually.

My inspiration for this garment came from Ebay ( doesn’t it always). I’d been constantly visiting this one dress, a Veronika Maine, which is still available if anyone’s interested (Pictured right)


I loved the colour combination but wasn’t quite sure it would work on me. A walk through Spotlight looking at random fabrics, however, left me wondering about a beautiful blue stretch crepe and black in the same fabric, wondering what I could do with them. Two weeks later and still wondering, I went through my pattern collection, and found a winner.

Butterick 5674, according to the pattern is a “close-fitting, lined dress has front overlay, shoulder and waist pleats, back invisible zipper”. I have had this pattern in my stash for a few years now but due to my previous misery with stretch had thought always went “yeah right, that’s not happening!” however last year I started working as an industrial machinist in a wonderful place that does stretch and I’ve learnt a lot. My first decision was obviously about fabric but then I decided to remove the zip and therefore also the back seam. Other reviews on this pattern that I read at patternreview.com suggested doing this pattern a smaller size than normal, so I cut an 8 instead of a 10.


The instructions were easy to follow but I did change some things. I did a band on the edge of the front facing instead of just folding the seam allowance over. I also sandwiched the front side seams between the back and back facing piece and over locked so that when turned the right way the whole side seam faces towards the back, the instructions tell you to hand sew the back facing on, and I wasn’t likely to even bother in stretch. I also added jelly tape/ plastic elastic or whatever else you want to call it to the waist seam to stabilise the waist and prevent droop in the future. Jelly tape was also added to the shoulder seams. I’ll add a drawing at some stage of what I mean by sandwiching the side seams.

I’m really happy I made this garment, I conquered stretch, YAY ME! I’ve worn this garment to work already as well and received some lovely compliments. I’m also considering a communal closet for my daughters once they hit the teenage years and making a few versions of this dress, the colour combinations are endless. And just so you can actually see how this turned out, here’s my pics. I’ll add some pics of me in the dress at a later stage. My mannequin is lopsided, me, not so much. I hope you had fun reading this post and if you have any questions please feel free to ask.

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