Wednesday, July 3, 2013

DIY: A 1960s Diner Dress or Why I Think Butterick 5708 is the Devil

 I'm just gonna go out on a limb here and say that if there ever was a contest titled "Best Waitress Outfit for Trashy 1960s Roadside Diner", I'm sorry, but I would totally win. Like, don't even bother submittin' your entries cuz just look at this thing. It's like Bob Evans and Kentucky Fried Chicken got together and had a 1960s love child that actually turned out not to be a child at all but a dress (which is weird, I know, but that's just the kind of scientific anomaly this dress is. Seriously.)

 Where was I again? Oh yes, First Place Winner. Thank you very much.
 Ermkay, so hubs says I can't wear this dress to school because one of the bottles says "Hot as Hell" on it. I say nonsense. Learning that hell is one hot place just might improve the discipline in my art room, doncha think? You might remember me showing off this fabric here, along with my other Michael Miller retro barbeque themed fabric

I decided to pair the fabric with mustard yellow and red gingham. Because it just says Class, don't you think? That red gingham gives me flashbacks to my short-lived-because-I-was-super-sucky days as a waitress at Pizza Hut. Dude, not a single shift would go by when I didn't forget to put in someone's pizza order (I think I was secretly trying to do them a favor, but did they see it as such? Nooooo. Some people are just so ungrateful). Next thing you know, it's an hour later, their kids are screaming and they are barking at me all "Where's our pizza?!" and I'm all "It'll be right out!" as I stick my hand in my apron pocket to find the order ticket I forget to turn in. I convinced whoever was on shift with me that I was sick and needed to spend approximately 20 minutes in the bathroom and could they take care of table 23 for me, please?! Needless to say, I was the only waitress to ever get pennies.

All the different ways you can wear the bodice of Butterick 5708. 

You wanna know what sucks more than my waitressing skills? Butterick 5708. That's what. 

Look, I don't know who Mrs. Butterick is but I can tell you this, she's one ambiguous b-- oh crap, are there under 12-ers reading? Fine: butthead. Granted, I'm still a very green sewer so I'm used to my sweet Simplicity patterns holding my hand, telling me which direction to iron my seams, how to understitch, making sure I brush my teeth before bed. Meanwhile, ole Butterick is all, "Oh, you know. Just make the bodice...if you can."
I think I'll stick to wearing my dress either tied at the shoulders (top photo) or pulled over the shoulders and tied at the chest as seen on the left. I love the idea of wearing the dress one shouldered, but to do so you gotta tie the fabric under your arm which made me feel like I had a giant underarm tumor growth. Not a great feeling.

 Confession: When I sew, I have conversations with whatever I'm working on. Most of these convos take place in my head so it's all good and hubs doesn't know what a crazy person I am (yes he does). However, this time around, it got a little loud.
Since the dress wasn't enough craziness, I decided to create my own shoes to match.
  I was working away on this dress when I thought to myself, you know, this dress isn't so bad. I'll just finish off this bodice, add the gathered skirt and--

Butterick: Ahem. Gurl, you got a lot left to do. You better slow your roll.

Me: Um, excuse me? I don't know if I'm more confused by your talking or the fact that you just said "slow your roll". Who says that?

Butterick: Paris Hilton.

Me: What?! That doesn't even make sense! She says stuff like, "that's hawt" and "ohmygurd" and other pre-rehab nonsense. You are full of lies, Butterick!

Butterick: What. Ever.

...and these are types of conversations I have WITH A DRESS PATTERN.

And while you digest that bit of craziness, let's talk about how I made these shoes, shall we? I started with this rather dull pair of wedges I snagged on the cheap. Armed with some gingham, an Exacto knife and good ole Aleene, I followed my own DIY shoe tutorial here.
 I wasn't in love with just the raw fabric edge on the shoe so I decided to add some rickrack. Using a hot glue gun, I drew a super small bead of glue around the tip and bottom of the shoe before attaching the rickrack. That patent leather top of the shoe looked a little too Golden Girls Grandma to me so I decided to bedazzle it with some bows.
 Making these bows is a snap. After deciding on the height of the bow, I doubled that measurement and added 1/4" for the seam. After sewing it right sides together, I flipped the tube of fabric inside out (using one of those wire-tube-turning-thingies that make you want to kill yourself. Just use a safety pin and watch a youtube tutorial for the love of those around you). I trimmed the edges with a curve and folded them inward creating the desired width. I then sewed a seam down the middle where I placed the pin in the photo above.
 For the tie around the bow, I used a small folded piece of fabric. I pinned that in place behind the bow. Because I didn't want to do any hand sewing (ewwww, hand sewing, me no likey!), I switched to a zipper foot on my machine and stitched as close to the back of the bow as possible.

 And then your bow is finished! I decided to add shoe clips to the back of mine so I could take them on and off. That's what you see me  hand sewing in the photo on the left.
 Yay, shoes! I'm thinking they'll go pretty nicely with this dress too.

In the end, I finished the dress. Actually, I believe the last words I said were, "BUTTERICK, I WILL FINISH YOU." To which she replied, "Oh yeah? You mean how you "finished" ole Simplicity 3877?" with a head tilt toward the heap of half sewn dress mess on the floor. I was just about to spit out some ugly grown up words when I heard from the next room:

Hubs: Cass? Are you talking to me?

Me: Well, yeah. Who else would I be talking to -- a dress pattern?!
It turns out I was right. I did finish it. But it wasn't until I was tying my shoulder straps that I realized Butterick got the last laugh: 

I sewed a pin inside one of the ties.

That's right. Now I have a permanent pin-pokey reminder of ole Butterick and her devilish ways. Thankfully I have this super swanky Pizza Hut/KFC/Bob Evans dress to show for my efforts. Sweet.


  1. I'm looking around for a jukebox, Diner Girl. You are rockin'.Cannot decide which element I like best: the mustard waist inset, those incredible shoes, or the "flirty" shoulders. Michael Miller should see this - he'd love it!

  2. As I sit on the patio at my in-laws lake place catching up on my blog reading everyone was like what are you laughing at. You are too funny and I love the makeover on the shows to go with the southern comfort food love child dress.

  3. Nothing wrong with ric rac on your shoes!!!!! Love rading your posts - you just keep talking to yourself Cassie, you make me feel sane (lol) xx

  4. What a cute outfit! I'm so jealous of your sewing skills. xx

  5. Awesome dress...and what a superb designer footwear.. :) XoXo

  6. Lovely are looking fab!!

  7. Love the dress! Your so funny! I'm doing the same pattern mine has kitties on it lol

  8. Love your variation.... I made two of these little DEVILS... and yes... ugh. Butterick has the last laugh!


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