Yes, You Can!
The Butterick Walk – A-Way Dress pattern, vintage pattern number 6015, is so easy anyone can make it; even the first time sewer. There are only three main pieces to this dress that is as easy to wear as it is to make. Even better, this pattern has been so popular for more than 50 years that you can still go to your local pattern seller, or to Butterick online and get the pattern in your size. You don’t have to search hundreds of vintage sites and eBay to find it. The only thing that has changed is the pattern number. You will need pattern number 4790.
Getting the Right Size
If you are not sure what size to get in a Butterick pattern, just take the smallest dress size that fits you, and add six. I wear a 14 in dresses so the Butterick pattern size I need is 20.
Ready? Set? Go!
This pattern has no sleeves, no zipper and no button holes. There are three main pieces and three seams – shoulder, waist and back skirt seam. For the first time sewer you will learn how to sew darts. The Walk-A-Way dress is a simple wrap around dress that can be made in a variety of fabrics. It features a simple sheath dress underneath and full overskirt. There is also no hemming or need to finish the edges because the entire dress is trimmed in bias tape.
This dress is called the Walk-A-Way because theoretically you can start it a breakfast and wear it to an afternoon luncheon or tea. In reality, however, you have to let it hang for 24 hours to set the bias. The skirt is cut on the bias, which means the pattern piece is laid diagonally on the fabric, or at an angle to the selvedge. The selvedge edge is the edge of the fabric that is finished and often has the manufacturer's name and the name or color code for the fabric.
When the Walk-A-Way Dress first came out in the 1950s, it was such a hit with homes sewers, Butterick had to halt production on all other patterns just to meet the demand.
Three Things to Keep in Mind
There are three things to keep in mind when making this dress. (1) It runs a little large. I usually don’t make a muslin ( a practice garment made from inexpensive fabric, like muslin, to get the fit right) but you might want to so you can adjust the fit and then move on to your actual dress. That way you don’t waste time and fabric. Nothing is worse than spending the time and attention on making a dress and not liking the finished product. (2) The arm holes are little deep. This is another area where making the muslin comes in handy. I fixed mine by putting a snap under the arm. (3)The front sheath has a tendency to rise up and the back of the dress is heavier than the front. Wearing a slip helps some. Despite these three things, I still love the dress. It's fun to make, easy to wear and a real compliment magnet.
You can use cotton for a nice casual day dress. I like to wear mine on days I am doing a lot of housework or running errands. You can use silk, shantung, faille, velveteen, satin or crepe if you want to make it dressier. I am planning on trying it in wool and fine wale corduroy and wearing it with a blouse or long sleeve teeunderneath in the winter.
It looks lovely all one color or in coordinating fabrics and trim. The options are limited only by your own imagination. The waist fastens with three snaps, but you could put in buttons and buttonholes, a frog closure, hooks and eyes, eyelets and lacing, or make two long ties to wrap around front to back and secure with a large bow.
It still remains a very popular pattern and once you try it you’ll see why. It will become your “go to” dress; one you can dress up or down easily with shoes and jewelry. Try simple flats or even Keds for errand running. Maybe you’ll pair it with a big straw hat and espadrilles, or wedge sandals for a picnic. Put on some pearls and pumps and you’ll be ready to wow the ladies at the Junior League.
- B4790 | Misses' Wrap Dress | Retro | Butterick Patterns
Misses Retro sewing patterns by Butterick Patterns
Maribeau on April 08, 2017:
I was fascinated by clothing construction yet......it did not interest me at College. Later I went on to explore fashion and trained as a dressmaker...hated it however I persevered. ...as there was one area that had always appealed to me, that was clothes from days gone by and remaking them to suit current trends without actually robbing them of their integrity.
I now upcycled many garments and put them for sale in Ragnificient Wanganuu
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on December 23, 2013:
I hope you do!
Wifey from Atlanta, GA on December 23, 2013:
Very interesting post! I love the vintage look and can not wait to try my hand at sewing this dress.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 24, 2012:
kschimmel - I love using bias tape. It's a real time saver. Thanks for reading.
Kimberly Schimmel from North Carolina, USA on March 24, 2012:
Our grandmothers used a lot of bias-bound edges. They look great and save fabric when compared with facings.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 02, 2012:
I know, Nancy, I feel like I was born at the wrong time some days....
Nancy on January 31, 2012:
The patterns of this era let woman feel pretty and gave them a sense of being dressed up even when doing housework or running errands.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 14, 2011:
Les Trois Chenes,
Put some onerous taskoff, make this dress, pop it on with your wellies and then mow the lawn!
Les Trois Chenes from Videix, Limousin, South West France on March 14, 2011:
This takes me back to my youth! I used to love to sew, to find interesting bargain fabrics and make unusual clothes. Alas, no time and no where to wear interesting clothes to! Wellies on and mow the lawn.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 10, 2011:
I usually put off other stuff like housework and cooking dinner to sew. Just a suggestion.
mysisters on March 10, 2011:
Great Hub. I love the look of vintage dresses. I would definitely want to try and design and make my own, it's just finding the time to do it!
Emma from Houston TX on March 09, 2011:
INTERESTING HUB WITH COOL PICS THAT FASCINATED ME,THANKS OR SHARING
Amber Rashid on March 09, 2011:
superb pictures gallery, never seen before.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 08, 2011:
I hope you do and send pictures!
Susan on March 08, 2011:
That is such a cute dress! I love the dresses and suits of the 40's and 50's. So stylish. This has to be unbelievably easy to construct. I'm going to make some. Thanks for posting this.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on March 05, 2011:
bookwench, if you learn to use a sewing machine, I bet you will be glad you did!
bookwench on March 05, 2011:
Crap. Now I have to learn how to use a sewing machine. Thanks... ;) Seriously, that is one cool-looking dress.
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 28, 2011:
That would be great. Thanks!
Courtney on February 28, 2011:
I love this dress. I have some great sites you could link for your blog about crafting and sewing!
Tess45 (author) from South Carolina on February 28, 2011:
CMHypno, If you wanted to learn this a great pattern to start with.
DIY- The very first dog show dress was made with this pattern. I am seriously thinking about whipping up 5 for the summer. I need to adjust the fit in the chest... the first one was a little to large.
DIYweddingplanner from South Carolina, USA on February 28, 2011:
Love it, make me one!
CMHypno from Other Side of the Sun on February 28, 2011:
Interesting hub. This is a really pretty dress and looks like it would be very flattering to wear. Shame I cannot sew!