The Bow Hides All Manner of Evil Dress


This is what I want to know:

Why would you make a knit dress pattern and demand that your sewers use a knit with at least 50% stretch if you’re just going to add ease to the pattern?? I mean, the whole point of using fabric with lots of stretch is that you can make a garment with negative ease and still be comfortable. If you’re going to add two whole inches of ease to your pattern, why can’t I use a nice jersey with 30% or even 20% stretch? Okay–it might have been more like 1 1/2″, but still. . .

And did you seriously think I was going to ease in a sleeve in the round on a knit dress??? Honestly, Butterick. I’m not convinced you people know how knit fabric works.

(By the way, sorry the pictures are so dark/grainy/blurry. The settings on my camera were wrongity-wrong. I’m learning.)


So, my lovely readers, I have finished my Butterick 5794 dress. It’s a nice dress, and I like it. But there are a lot of flaws–well, just a few that really bug me.


First of all, the gathers on the bodice look sloppy to me. Second, the shoulder seams are at least 1/2″-3/4″ too short, which is odd because I didn’t have that problem with the peplum top. Third, the neckline under the bow is a mess. (The directions have you reinforce the neckline seam at CF and then cut to the stitching and hem that couple of inches at the middle. The problem is that you’re working with a knit. So, once you’ve attached the neck tie, the neckline tends to pull away from the hemmed edge and reveal the stay stitching. Does any of that make sense to you? It’s confusing; I know. If I do a neck tie on another knit dress, I’m not doing any of that madness, and my neckline will be much more stable. Butterick, you are confusion.)


The side seams from the sleeve hems to the waist are sewn with 1 1/8″ seam allowance. From the waist to the hem I moved back to 1/2″. I found I needed a bit of extra room around my tummy. (Note to self: no more hot fudge. You have a problem.)


I do like the bow, and I like the slight hi/lo hem. I think this dress will fit very nicely into my wardrobe.


I have to say, though, that I’m pretty much over gathers in general–especially in knits. It just seems like a waste of stretch fabric, you know?

Was literally falling over. . .

Was literally falling over. . .

Now that I’ve made this pattern twice, I’ve decided it’s unlikely I’ll make it again. So, I’ve added this one to the pile of patterns that I’m clearing from my stash. If I want a dress like this again, the obvious answer is the Lady Skater. I already know exactly how I’d do it.


Have you ever sewn up a “Big 4” pattern for knits? How did it turn out?


14 thoughts on “The Bow Hides All Manner of Evil Dress

  1. This looks great! I hear you on the madness of big 4 knit patterns, though. I nearly made one up, but the instructions made no sense whatsoever for knit fabric, so I ended up making something else with the fabric. Easing in knit sleeves? Ugh!

  2. That’s adorable! I hear you on the ease thing. I traced Vogue 8379 (?) – the wrap dress – last weekend. They do the same thing – 2″ ease in a knit pattern. I don’t want it to be skin tight but fitted. I’ve sewn so few knits I don’t have a good gauge of what normal negative ease is. And the instructions? They do the sleeve in the round and basically pretend it’s not a knit and give you directions like a woven.

    • If this were my first knit-sewing experience, I’d probably never want to sew them again! I don’t see how anyone could make a successful garment with such crazy and difficult instructions!

  3. This silhouette is perfect for you! Sorry about the issues with the pattern. Now that I’m thinking about it, I haven’t made many knit dresses. But from the ones I’ve made by the Big 4… now that I think of it…they all tell you to set-in the sleeves for knits!!!! How annoying! But the end result is beautiful! The color really looks nice on you, too! 🙂

    • Thanks!
      That’s so odd about the pattern instructions. Do set in knit sleeves somehow turn out better? Or is it just a lazy copy/paste job? Very strange.

      • LOL. They might set in better? Like if you want a tiny bit more ease at the top of the cap? (I honestly don’t know, I just made that up) But for stretchy knits, I don’t see why they would need to be set in. Strange indeed.

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