My take on the Walkaway Dress

My last project of 2013. And my first post in 2014. Happy new year!

In November I attended a Christmas Expo where there was a small sewing fair, and I met the Walkaway Dress, Butterick B4790, which is based on Butterick 6015 of the 1950’s. I hadn’t seen this before, and immediately fell in love with the wrap-around dress that were sewn together only at the shoulders. I ordered a copy of the reissued pattern and did some research online before cutting out a size 18. I found sites upon sites with lots of info on the pattern and its story. I also found that people who had made this dress either hated it or loved it, depending on the fit, which apparently was not a great one for most.

Based on this post from Edelweiss Patterns, I altered the under-bust line before cutting out my pattern – I wanted the V of the 50’s, not the U of today. I also cut the neckline as high as possible, figuring I could always cut it down later, as I’d read some horrifying stories about the works of this deep-cut neckline. As I stitched my dress together I came across the common fitting problem of this pattern – poor fit with lots of loose fabric upfront. My solution was simply to add a dart that continued from the lower dart across the bust and ended at the shoulder – like some kind of princess seam. I think I read about this as a possible solution to the fitting problems somewhere too.

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I kept my neckline fairly high on this dress, as I wanted as much stability as possible in order to avoid the dress dragging backwards because of the weight of the circle skirt, and so far this seems to work fine! I shaved off the outer inch on the shoulders before binding the dress with bias tape I made from the dress fabric. I enjoy bias tape, but I couldn’t find any tape to match this bright red fabric. I love the outcome and the contrast between the black satin and the printed (quilter’s) cotton. And I think the dress looks good on as well – always a bonus 🙂 Instead of sew-on snaps and buttons, I opted for the one you fasten with pliers and really liked the result.

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What I discovered upon wearing this dress, was that it’s meant for standing or walking – preferably somewhere the wind isn’t blowing! Sit down, and the whole front bunches up underneath the circle skirt from the back.

My fabrics were Moonless Night black cotton sateen from HarmonyArt and a printed cotton from Panduro/Tilda.

Not sure if I’ll make another Walkaway Dress in the future, but I sure enjoyed the experience of making this one! I may opt for a straight dress with a button-on circle skirt, as I think this would be a more wearable dress in the end. The pattern is an easy one to sew together, but because of the fitting problems that so many sewists have experienced, I would not recommend this as anyone’s first attempt of making a dress.

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4 Comments

Filed under Sewing

4 responses to “My take on the Walkaway Dress

  1. This pattern gets such a bad rap. By no means is it a perfect pattern but I think with adjustments it is a fun pattern. I rather liked the Walkaway dress I made and yours looks great too!

    • I agree! I enjoyed making this dress, but I found it a lot easier to get a better fit by being prepared for the fitting issues people have encountered on this pattern. And since you have to know at least something about fitting, it’s not a beginner’s project, albeit an easy dress to sew. I think the main problem this pattern’s facing, is that people somehow expect it to look exactly as it does on the envelope illustration, with a perfect fit straight out of the envelope, although that rarely is the case.
      Thank you, and your version of it was really cute – such a great colour on you!

  2. I wonder if this pattern would work better in stretch knit fabric. What do you think?

    • It’s worth a try! A not-too-slippery viscose jersey would be my choice – this dress needs to drape and hang nicely and not be climbing. I’d love to see it if you make it!

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