Saturday, February 11, 2012

Butterick 5559 and Tutorial on Hemming

My cute Buffy had to jump in the pic

I had been seeing this dress, Butterick 5559 by Maggy London, reviewed for awhile and I had to make it. I read about the difficulties of marking and had doubts about my motivation to complete this dress because marking is my least favorite part! But I took my trusty Frixion pens and marked the right side of the fabric with the tucks. I just folded up the tissue and drew the lines.You can read my review of the Frixion pens here.

If you don't yet know about Frixion pens, they are pens that were originally developed to be erasable by friction. But as it turns out, the heat of the iron erases the marks. (They also wash out) These pens have been a huge hit in the quilting world but I haven't noticed anyone mentioning them in the garment sewing world so I thought I would make a special mention. These pens made marking the tucks so much easier than the routes others had to take and they just iron right out!  Of course I tested on a scrap before I began marking. The only thing is I had to sew all the tucks on each piece before ironing them down so the marks would not disappear...but I don't think it harmed anything. The tucks were not affected at all.
haha...look at little Wednesday's paw

Aren't they gorgeous?
I made a straight size 8 in a golden yellow ponte knit. The trim on the sleeves and the hem is a brown ponte knit. The size 8 is slightly large in the hips and I might go back and take in the side seams a little there but I'll see what you guys think first. The only alteration I made was to take in the lower edge of the armscye in an inch...and therefore made the sleeve smaller at the bottom by one inch. I felt like the golden yellow might be a little too strong all on its own (even though I love it...yellow is my favorite color!) plus my favorite shoes in the world were this color yellow leather with a leopard trim--Marc Jacobs--so I added the brown trimming. I LOVE these shoes...I have had them since early 2005. I even wore them in a torrential downpour, through  tons of puddles, and they looked ruined and the next morning?? pristine condition! That's what you get with great quality...but I this post is not about shoes!

Another reason I added the brown is because I loathe hemming! And it just made it that much easier to complete the dress. This is a method I use on knits a lot...and I believe its the method used in the new Renfrew top from Sewaholic. I am just guessing based on the ones I have seen--I don't have the pattern..but I want it! I don't know how many people use this method so I thought I would post a little about it. 

First I decided how much brown I wanted to show and ended up cutting a crosswise strip of the brown  at 2.5 inches. I cut crosswise because that was the way the stretch of the fabric went and I needed the stretch to match the hem of the garment where I had the stretch going around my body. Next I ironed the strip in half. Then I placed raw edges of the brown to raw edges (where I want to hem) of the sleeve. I did this on the sleeves before I set them in.
Raw edges together (Sorry the stitching is already there...I did not think to take pictures until it was complete

Then I stitched with a quarter inch seam all the way to the end for the sleeves. For the hem, I measured the amount that was needed and added a half inch for seam allowance and sewed the strip in a circle before placing it on the hem and sewing the quarter inch seam. The circle was not needed for the sleeves because they were still lying flat and not inserted into the garment.

Next press the seams up towards the garment. Then we are going to top stitch extremely close to the seam to hold the inner seam allowance down...and plus it gives a nice finish.  Also a little tip...use your edgestitching or blind hem foot. I am using the blind hem foot here and I set my needle almost as far as you can go to the left...two from the farthest left and ran the center of the foot (the blade) along the ditch.  Below is a picture of my machine settings which show the dot two from the left position so you can see where I had the needle positioned. Also a picture showing how to use the edgestitching or blind hem foot to do this kind of stitching.

my blind hem foot running in  the ditch

machine settings


And this is what it will look like when you are done. Two really close rows of stitching on the inside and the seam allowance on the inside is held down on the inside so it doesn't flop around.

Finished seam from the inside

And now for the big finale! I know you all are dying to see some in person shots of the dress! But first, my bragging shot. By reading all the reviews, I knew matching the tucks at the side seam would be I paid extra careful attention when matching them up and pinned in more than 5/8's so they would match. If I just pinned at the edge, they would have been out of alignment where the seam was stitched. So because I was forewarned...I ended up with side seams like this!

matched side seams!

And now for the shots on me...I kept my hair out of the way so you could see the neckline on both the front and the back...and don't miss my shoes!

I hope this helped someone! And please ignore my giant watch in the picture...I should have taken that is a nice dress after all :-) You can also check out my review of this dress here.


  1. Just stunning!!! I really like the brown at the hems - I'm another hater of hemming, and this is the perfect solution....well done...

  2. It's even cuter on you! How adorable! I love it!

  3. Fantastic! You look so cute. This is one of the many things I love about sewing, have shoes, make dress to match.

  4. I love how you added the brown to the yellow fabric. It is a stunning dress!

  5. You look fantastic. The dress is the perfect fit and the brown trim was the perfect accent. TFS.

  6. Thank you all so much! Your comments are totally motivating me to get going on a project I have been procrastinating on.....stay tuned!

  7. So cute! I love the mustard, and the shoes are so so awesome. Your side seam matching is really beautiful. Don't you love it when that all works out?

  8. The dress is really cute...I love the sleeve and hem details you added. I also love Buffy's cameo...I have an American Bulldog, and he's always close by when I'm in the sewing room, too!


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