Saturday, August 8, 2015

Butterick 6093 Downton Abbey dress

I just finished making this dress in time for a Downton Abbey themed garden party at Dunn Gardens in Seattle.

I chose view "A" because I think the envelope picture of view "B" is ugly. However, The Pragmatic Costumer made a revised view "B" that was fabulous.

This is a fairly easy dress to sew. I would not say it is for a beginner, but if you have a few dresses under your belt and can do some pleating, sleeves and a zipper, go for it.

Sizing. This runs true to size as far as the finished measurements go. I graded several sizes together to make my dress. My FBM is 42 inches D cup. High bust is 36. I did not want to do a FBA (full bust adjustment) so I did a cheater FBA. I cut size 14 in the neck and shoulders. Size 16 on the side seams.

But wait! If Mimi's bust measures a 42 how can she cut a size 16 and not do a FBA? Size 16 is for a 38 bust. Well, you see all those gathers on the under bust of the dress. Those are your friends. I just used less gathers for my under bust seam. Simple!

I do have a D cup and we know most patterns are designed for a B cup. But I found there was plenty of room. Now, if you needed to do a FBA you would just rotate the FBA dart down into the under bust gathers. Still easy, but I was super lazy.

Skirting the issues:
Where I could have gotten into big trouble is the waist/hip area. Luckily I read The Pragmatic Costumers review BEFORE I cut my fabric. This dress is a very columnar style. And even though my hips are never a fitting issue for me, on this dress they would have been. So I sized up the skirt to about a 20 (44 hips). My hips are 43, fyi. I sewed the darts and did the pleating. And I just used less gathers on the bodice once I attached it to the skirt.

There were some changes:
View "A" is a fabric hog. I did not realize it is a double skirted dress (over skirt and under skirt). TWO WHOLE SKIRTS!!! Duh! Well of course I ran out of my floral fabric...And no more to be found either. So I needed to think outside the box. One of the things I did not like about this pattern is the vent on one side of the skirt. I understand why it is there, but it is a very modern solution for the narrow skirts of that era. So I decided to make the under skirt a separate garment. I used the provided underskirt pattern and added a few inches to the back seam. I used a simple drawstring waist to finish it. By adding that extra fabric to the back I did not need the side vent for walking. My under skirt has ample room but still kept the column shape of the time period. My underskirt is also a false bottom skirt. I wasn't going to go buy 2.5 yards of fashion fabric when I could buy .75 yards and use muslin for the top of the underskirt. No one is going to see that part of the skirt anyway. You can't see in the picture but the visible underskirt is a light green and white check linen.

The quick and dirty round up:
Make a muslin. If you are over a D cup you may want to do a FBA. Really pay attention to the waist/hip size and make adjustments. I give this pattern a thumbs up and it has gone in my favorites drawer. I will certainly make it again.


Yes, Sean Bean...since you asked...Ahem 

I do not currently have pictures, but I made Truly Victorians Edwardian undergarments. Drawers and corset cover. I only wore one petticoat (gasp!) My favorite easy short petticoat from the Mantua Maker pattern 1880-1890s petticoat. I am not wearing a historical corset. Instead I chose to wear a off the rack Orchard brand mesh under bust corset, for comfort. A regular bra and of course a chemise. Gotta keep the corset off the skin.


  1. I think this is a wonderful starter dress for some costumers, as long as they are aware of what changes need to be done. I already have a Fall season dress in my mind from this. I have a hat. It needs a dress. :)
    Great editing on the underskirt, btw.

  2. Thanks Val! I agree, this is perfect for someone who is new to costuming. I just like knowing I can make a historical dress on short notice. It really is a great little pattern!