The 'Firework' Walkaway Dress

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I did it.  I made the B4790 -- Butterick's famous walkaway dress.  I had traced and cut the pattern weeks ago but I kept looking at pictures on other blogs of people who had made it.  I was drawn to the simplicity of the pattern and the allure of a project that could be finished in an afternoon (What was I thinking !?! Projects for me rarely turn out as planned).

One thing was certain -- the right fabric was key to making this dress.  The wrong fabric could send the dress to no-man's land.  I am particularly sensitive to fabric choices since I made Simplicity 2147.  It is a simple tunic dress and I choose what I thought was this cute patterned fabric:  light blue with simple, small flowers.  I was mortified when I asked my husband what he thought and his response was it looked like I was in the hospital.  In fact, he pretended to check for fever.  I still bring this up with him, "Please tell me I don't look like I am wearing a hospital gown!"  But I would rather have honesty than platitudes.

Bearing all that in mind, it took while to find a fabric that I liked -- for 5 yards of required fabric, I wanted to find something fab.  I wanted to avoid looking like I was wearing 
(1.) a hospital gown or 
(2.) a drape or  
(3.) a sheet or 
(4.) a nightgown. 

Looking at the photos of all the lovely Walkaway Dresses, I wanted to find a patterned fabric that was subtle but did not fall into the color range that would qualify it as any of the aforementioned no-no's.  After wandering around several fabric stores (which if you saw me, it would appear rather aimless), I choose a cotton blend that had enough drape to make the skirt swooshy (Is that a word?!) with a lovely red firework print.  

This dress is cleverly designed and really easy to put together which is why it got its name.  I love the drawings on the pattern envelope but I found that when I began to line the neckline with bias tape, it looked 'homemade'.  Don't get me worng, homemade is fine.  I really like bias tape (I love making it in quirky prints and colors!) and use it in all sorts of things.  Just not here.  I instead used the bias tape as a facing, folded it under and stitched.

Hemming a circle skirt is a giant pain in the rear.  I did not use buttons (or snaps)  as suggested but instead made it tie in the middle.  In the end, I was disappointed.  The dress had (or has) potential and I do like it but it fits funny around the ribcage.  It seems loose in the shoulders, tight in the ribcage, and loosens back up below your waist.  The tightness in the ribcage prompted me to get rid of the buttons and go with something that would allow a little more ease.

If I do it again, I will probably start with a larger size bodice and take in as needed.  

So much for 'Fireworks'!  Part of the fun of sewing is trying something new.  On the plus side, I can learn from my mistakes and know how to adjust for the next go-round (That is the teacher in me -- cheering on the frustrated). 

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3 Responses to “The 'Firework' Walkaway Dress”

  1. I have long admired this dress but never made it. I like your version, especially the fabric and how you handled the bias binding. From the photos, it looks like the bodice is the correct size, but you could let out the waist darts for more room in the rib cage (adjust the skirt accordingly). I would also take the shoulders up a bit, tapering to nothing at the neck - that would get rid of the wrinkles under the armhole and make the bodice sleeker.

  2. Thanks. If I do it all over again, I will correct!

  3. love the ties at the front... perfect idea


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