Finished: Butterick 5209 or The Little Black Dress

11:32 Renée 3 Comments

Two weeks ago today I finished Butterick 5209, which is now my go-to little black dress. I love it! It is my first actually wearable dress. (I'm talking wearable in the sense of casual day wear.) I really want to make more versions of this dress in other colors and types of fabrics. I will have to re purchase the pattern though because I realized I cut out a size too large. That taught me a lessons never to cut out patterns anymore unless I'm certain that it's the right size. I made it in a size 10, but it was way too big, I had to take off 5 mm per seam! Good thing I completely basted the dress together first. I used the same fabric as the formal 1950s dress: A light to medium weight stretch cotton that has a nice stiffness to it. It think Butterick did a good job with this repro pattern. It seems that they kept the dress completely original. Except that I think it originally had shoulder pads. 

Black is terribly difficult to photograph so I lightened up the pictures to show the details better.


Here are two close-ups, not only to show you the details of the dress better, but also to show you that: a) this fabric is a terrible cat hair magnet and b) never to wear deodorant with a dress like this. It rubbed off all over the dress.

Originally, the dress is self-lined. But I wanted to make a dress suitable for a hot summer day so I left out the lining. For the neckline I simply made a facing using the front bodice. After basting it to the dress I trimmed off quite a bit more and it was perfect.

I spend a little more time finishing the seams with this dress. I overcast most of the seams with a turquoise zig zag stitch, pinked a few smaller seams and used purple satin bias tape on the gathered waist seam. With my future projects I want to try out different types of seam finishes and eventually stick with one method to tie my wardrobe together. I want to use more accurate 1940s seam finishes and eventually I'd like to make an as authentic as possible 1940s / 1930s wardrobe.

I took in the fullness of the skirt by doing a gather stitch and pulling them only slightly. Then I catch stitched between two layers. (Learned that trick thanks to Gerties book!). I finished the raw edge with a zig zag stitch.

By the way, when I put the dress on my dummy while the bodice and skirt weren't attached yet, this happened! This will make a great 1940s two piece! I am definitely going to try this.

So in conclusion, I am very happy with the dress and very positive about the pattern. There is only one issue: when I was wearing the dress for the second time my boyfriend and I were sorting out stuff and packing boxes in preparation for our move. And with all arm movements and bending forward the sleeve edges started to rub against my arms to a point where I had to take the dress off because it became quite painful! It might just be a size issue, I'm not sure.


  1. Beautiful work! This dress is the epitome of a classic, endlessly versatile wardrobe basic that can be dressed up or down to your heart's content. Love it!!!

    ♥ Jessica

  2. Very true! Thank you Jessica

  3. Oh ik had deze post helemaal gemist! Wat een leuk jurkje! Vooral het lijfje met de rimpels en de V-hals vind ik erg mooi!


Please don't hesitate to leave a comment or ask any questions - they are very much appreciated!