Minerva Crafts Blogger Network: Butterick 5559 sheath dress

My project for this month is not for the faint hearted. Don’t get me wrong. Butterick 5559 is not a difficult pattern. Far from it. What it is though, is LABOUR INTENSIVE.

I should have read the reviews from other bloggers before picking this pattern, but what can I say? I loved the pattern. I have been admiring it for a long time on other bloggers, and wanted to have a go at it, so I have no one but myself to blame.
For this project, I selected a turquoise ponte roma knit fabric. This fabric is absolutely luscious, and I love the fact that it behaves like a woven fabric, minus the fraying, and it is stretchy enough to hide my many lumps and bumps. You can find it in 21 colours here. I am  definitely going to buy more of this fabric for future projects. I call it my “no hassle fabric”.

 So, back to the pattern.

It is a sheath dress, which is good for me because my body proportions are all over the place. I cut a size 14 for the bodice, and then graded out to size 20 at the hips. I have a feeling after Christmas I shall be grading out to size 22.

The pattern like I said before, is easy, but quite tedious. It has 7 darts which are placed between 14 1/4 inch tucks, which when sewn, are hidden. Genius non? Tracing the fold lines for the tucks was not remotely amusing. You have to make the tucks on the right side, so what I did was machine baste the lines directly on the pattern with the pattern pined to my fabric. In hindsight, I should have used wax paper and traced the lines unto the wrong side of the fabric, then use that as my guide to machine baste the lines. My pattern is now completely destroyed, because I had to rip it off my fabric after basting. If you want to have a go at this pattern, don’t make the same mistake I did.

When doing the 1/4 inch tacks, you have to be very accurate. I think I rushed things a bit, and the sides are not as aligned as I would have loved. I can live with the way they are though.

The dress runs short, so if you don’t like short dresses, you will need to add some length to it.I added about 4 inches to the hem, but I think I should have added more because after hemming it, and all those tucks, it went to my knees, and I am not even tall.

I am actually quite happy with the dress. Mr.Dibs was impressed, and in his own words, “hmm, you know what you are doing sometimes”. I’ll take that as a compliment, thank you

If you want to read more about this dress, and various ways to help with the construction, you can check out this pattern review page on it.There are 37 reviews on it. If you want to brave it, you can buy the kit to make it here.
Merry Christmas everyone, and see you all next year.


  1. December 24, 2013 / 2:13 pm

    Dibs that is an absolutely smashing dress on you. The color was made for you too. I've had that pattern in my lineup for a while, but keep pushing it to the back of the list. I have a very similar colored ponte de roma knit that is just the right yardage. Mmmmm, copying your dress might help snatch me out of my sewing slump. We'll see.

  2. December 24, 2013 / 2:27 pm

    This looks fabulous – and thanks for posting side and back views too!

  3. December 24, 2013 / 4:16 pm

    The result is gorgeous! I love the color on you too 🙂

  4. December 24, 2013 / 4:54 pm

    I love it! Wish you a merry Christmas!

  5. December 24, 2013 / 5:04 pm

    Wowsers! Your dress is gorgeous! The construction of the darts is really interesting. I was thinking it was maybe panels sewn together. And I agree that the colour looks fab on you. Merry Christmas!

  6. December 24, 2013 / 5:23 pm

    It looks amazing, and I love the color, it makes the tucks pop. Well done Dibs!

  7. December 24, 2013 / 10:07 pm

    Very 'you' ~ it looks stunning!!!

  8. December 24, 2013 / 10:36 pm

    Most definitely stunning and that colour is fabulous on you!

  9. December 24, 2013 / 11:42 pm

    Fantastic! Great fit and I love the fabric and design lines

  10. December 25, 2013 / 12:49 am

    Great dress and color. Well done!

  11. December 25, 2013 / 9:31 am

    Labour intensive but well worth the effort! Wow, it's fabulous on you!

  12. December 25, 2013 / 10:53 am

    Wahou ! Cette robe te va à ravir ! La couleur, la forme de la robe, j'adore !

  13. December 25, 2013 / 12:55 pm

    One word.


  14. December 25, 2013 / 9:09 pm

    Just. Perfect. You and the dress. Happy Hols lady!

  15. December 25, 2013 / 9:46 pm

    Thanks Faye. I like the dress, and I know it will suit you well too. I think the reason why I found it tedious was because I did everything in 1 sitting. If you space it out over a couple of days, I think it might be less tiring.

  16. December 25, 2013 / 9:47 pm

    Thanks Nessa

  17. December 25, 2013 / 9:47 pm

    Thanks Donna.

  18. December 25, 2013 / 9:47 pm

    Thanks Kristin. and a very Merry Christmas to you too.

  19. December 25, 2013 / 9:49 pm

    Thanks Lynne. it really is quite an interesting and clever design

  20. December 25, 2013 / 9:51 pm

    Thanks Ana. I think you might find the way the tucks and darts are arranged interesting.

  21. December 25, 2013 / 9:51 pm

    Thanks Jennifer

  22. December 25, 2013 / 9:51 pm

    hahahahahha. Thanks Judith

  23. December 25, 2013 / 9:52 pm

    Thanks Vicki. I don't think I have ever worn something in this colour before. I think I might have to use this colour more.

  24. December 25, 2013 / 9:59 pm

    Thanks Laurie

  25. December 25, 2013 / 9:59 pm

    Thanks TJ, and happy holidays too.

  26. December 25, 2013 / 10:00 pm

    merci Sandra. Je te dois une mail.

  27. December 25, 2013 / 10:01 pm

    Thanks Suzy

  28. December 25, 2013 / 10:01 pm

    Thanks L

  29. December 25, 2013 / 10:01 pm

    Thanks Dorothy

  30. December 25, 2013 / 10:01 pm

    Aww thanks MrsB

  31. December 26, 2013 / 5:11 am

    Gorgeous colour on you and hey! if the husband approves, you know it is HOT!

  32. December 27, 2013 / 12:11 am

    Absolutely gorgeous Dibs! The color, the style. Everything.

  33. December 27, 2013 / 7:37 am

    Gorgeous dress, the colour looks fabulous on you.

  34. December 27, 2013 / 7:11 pm

    Wow! What an amazing dress! But dude, I don't have the heart for 7 DARTS AND 14 TUCKS! Holy cow! I'm so impressed by you!

  35. December 27, 2013 / 10:14 pm

    Ooh la la, lady! You look stunning! That looks like a crazy complicated dress, you did such a great job x

  36. December 28, 2013 / 6:26 pm

    Beautiful! Out of interest, how long did it take you?

  37. Veronica
    December 29, 2013 / 12:17 am

    Ooooohh ! That dress is gorgeous on you ! I want one like that ! Did you face any troubling when grading the tucks part from 14 to 20 size ?

  38. December 30, 2013 / 9:35 pm

    What a lovely dress! It looks marvellous on you, and the colour is fab too.

  39. January 2, 2014 / 11:21 am

    You look absolutely beautiful in that dress – make more now it completely suits your figure.

  40. January 2, 2014 / 11:38 am

    Great job Dibs. I have this dress pattern but haven't mustered up enough courage to make it yet. Thanks for all the tips, especially about the length. Will add this post as a reference link when I do get around to making the dress.

  41. January 2, 2014 / 11:40 am

    wow – this looks amazing on you! i have some of that ponte for my january make after stroking Rachel's Dakota (honestly not as rude as it sounds!) and it feels lovely

  42. January 2, 2014 / 11:43 am

    Dude, I had no idea it was going to be this tedious, but once started, I had to finish it. lol

  43. January 2, 2014 / 11:44 am

    Thanks Tilly. I think it is best approached in small chunks. If I had done that, it might not have been so tough.

  44. January 2, 2014 / 11:45 am

    I am not really sure in terms of hours. I think I started at about 9pm, and finished at about 2am. I am not a fast dressmaker. So depending on your speed, it might take you less time.

  45. January 2, 2014 / 11:47 am

    Thanks Veronica. I winged it to be honest. lol. the tuck lines are placed in such a way that it is not apparent how you have to adjust it. So I just eyeballed it. Since it is a stretch fabric, it worked out ok for me.

  46. January 2, 2014 / 11:47 am

    Ha! Heather, I am not sure I will be making this dress again. hahahahaha.

  47. January 2, 2014 / 11:48 am

    Thanks Ma Bedie. the sap be want worry ma head small.

  48. January 2, 2014 / 11:48 am

    Ah, the fabric is just divine. So stress free. I have it in purple for my Feb make.

  49. January 3, 2014 / 3:43 pm

    swit swoo! You is hot stuff! I bloody love this sugar. That colour pops on you.


  50. January 7, 2014 / 9:04 am

    It's a darling dress! i like the colors.
    I love small ruffles on some things, however most ruffles square measure slightly an excessive amount of on behalf of me, and that i like single-edged ruffles over ambiguous, therefore i might most likely leave these off too.
    From watching the pattern page, it is not straightforward to urge those ruffles aligned… the instance ruffles are not dead straight or dead placed either.
    wedding dress

  51. January 8, 2014 / 7:19 pm

    Wow lady! You are so hot in that dress! The colour is stunning, let alone the fit! Hats off to you with all those pleats an all! x

  52. January 14, 2014 / 3:50 pm

    Oh my Dibs, this dress is amazing! I wouldn't attempt it but seeing how great it came out, maybe I should just invest in a good stretchy fabric! It is really, really lovely.
    I actually really like that the tucks are not aligned perfectly at the side. Just pretend it was meant to be that way! I like how the diferent points where the tucks end create the illusion of a dipped V shape, it is really nice.
    One day I will get this pattern just to see how the darts/tucks work!
    Thanks so much for blogging this, much appreciated.

  53. February 13, 2014 / 9:55 am

    I am very glad, the dress came before I expected. I love my dress, it was just perfect, stunning and beautiful. I checked the size with the seller and they confirmed it, the helped me all the time.

  54. March 29, 2014 / 1:32 am

    That dress looks fabulous on you. I love the pin tuck detail and you chose a great colour.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *