Butterick 5559: Fitted Ponte Sheath Dress by Maggy London
Butterick 5559 (a Maggy London design) is not a new pattern. There are already 33 reviews for this pattern on PR.com, with the earliest dating from December 2010. So this pattern must be at least 3 years old. But it just goes to show a classic pattern will stay in circulation for years and look fresh with every new interpretation of it.
Ok, so I made my version in a ponte roma fabric. The colour description for the fabric is actually claret, and in real life it is not as red as depicted here. It is more of a deep, dark burgundy (maybe burgundy is not a colour that photographs well in sunlight, as this is the second dress made out of this colour where the pictures show it with a more pinky tone?)
Anyway, I selected my size based on the given finished measurements. I also did a flat pattern measurement check. There is no negative ease; but no ease either. It is recommended for moderate stretch knits only, so this is, as stated on the pattern, a close fitting dress. It is (also as stated on the pattern) WELL above mid knee. I added 2 inches to the length but I wish I had added 3 or so. In the end, I did as Amanda did in her version and added a facing which I then slip stitched to the inside. BTW, this is a sheath dress: the bodice is separate to the skirt and joined at the waist and then a tuck made. For me, sheath dresses work better than shift.
You can read about the other adjustments I made in the pattern review below, and also what I would do differently if I made this pattern up again.
Overall I am really pleased with this dress. It is comfortable and looks very RTW. Whilst not the most difficult dress in the world to make, I would question the “easy” rating on the pattern, for say a beginner. There are 7 darts which have to be sewn and 14 quarter inch tucks, so marking the fabric (I used tailors tacks/ thread traced) takes time. You also do have to be pretty precise with those quarter inch tucks. I used my quarter inch foot to help.
Close-fitting, above mid-knee, pullover dresses A, B have front and back darts and outside stitched tucks. A: above elbow length sleeves. B: sleeveless.
6 – 20
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Yes. Albeit with longer sleeves and a longer skirt length.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Love the figure flattering tucks which direct the eye to the waist. Looks very RTW. Nothing to dislike – except, as every other reviewer has posted, it is very SHORT. I am 5’3″ and added 2 inches to the length and I still wasn’t happy with the length, and so added a facing to finish the hem. Length is a matter of personal preference (and how good your legs are), but be warned…!
A claret coloured ponte roma knit. It is more burgundy in real life.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
I chose my size based on the given finished measurements and I would say they are pretty accurate. There is no negative ease as such, but there is no ease either; it is designed to be a close fitting dress.
As mentioned above I added 2 inches to the length and I still wasn’t happy with the length, and so added a facing to finish the hem. If I made this dress again I would probably add around 3 inches or so.
I did a 1 inch sway back adjustment.
I started off lengthening the sleeves to make them full length, but unfortunately made the lower part of the arm too tight. So I shortened them to 3/4 length.
One thing I am a little concerned about it that it makes no mention of stay stitching the neckline in the pattern: as this is a pull on dress I don’t know if the neckline is going to stretch out. I should have done the stay stitching myself probably, but forgot.
Oh yes, the front neck is a little too high for me. Next time round I would shorten it by maybe 0.5 inch? Just added that I don’t know if I should have done a FBA as there seems to be a very slight pull across the front?
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I don’t know if I would sew it myself but yes, I recommend it.
This is a great twist on the classic sheath dress which looks great on all types of figures.
I wore the dress to church this morning. I was on creche duty and it survived entertaining 2 small 2 year olds and lunch at my mums. But I do have a question for you all: I stabilised the shoulders using clear elastic. Should I have stabilised the waist line as well? I felt that the ponte didn’t need it. What your opinion?
Have a great week….