New make: Butterick B6207

When I was younger, I had this two piece outfit from French Connection that my Mum persuaded me to buy (being 13 or so, I had other ideas). It was a lemon and mint striped cotton top and skirt/culottes outfit that was a lot nicer than it sounds in writing. I still rather like the look of matching tops and bottom outfits and I’ve been thinking about making one for a while. As well as the whole outfit for a more put-together occasion, you’ve also got the option to wear them separately – three outfits in one really! I had been, and am still planning, some sort of cotton circle skirt and vest top affair, but in the meantime, I’ve made up this outfit in a knit. And can I just say…. DRUM ROLL… this is my first Big Four pattern!! Woohoo!

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Okay, okay, so it comes under Butterick “Very Easy”, but hey – everyone has to start somewhere right? I had this super soft rayon jersey from a sale a little while back and I knew that because of the busy print I wanted to make something fairly simple pattern-wise. Originally I was thinking more along the lines of a wrap dress but then I saw this pattern and thought, “Hmmm”. Seemed like a good chance to try a few things: making a t-shirt, working with another knit, trying a Big Four pattern and it also seemed fairly forgiving. So off I went!

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I cut a size L (View A + D above) and you can see that this is not a super tight-fitting t-shirt, which is exactly what I wanted for this outfit. There is quite a bit of room in the sleeves, and I don’t have skinny arms, so others may prefer to take some width out. I also like the wide band at the bottom of the t-shirt. I was a little dubious about the skirt, since I haven’t worn a fitted knit skirt since my twenties, but actually it also had a fair amount of ease and feels very comfortable. The aforementioned band also gives a little room and avoids (mostly) Pot-belly Syndrome (that’s not really a syndrome, I just made it up) for the less flat-stomached of us. I might add that the pattern says the garments are “close-fitting”. I suppose they are relative to wovens, but not what I would think of as body-skimming.

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Sitting down with ease (see what I did there?) Ha.

 

So – construction! Well, I couldn’t wait to get my teeth into the all-too-famous brief instructions that accompany a Big Four pattern, but I have to say I found it fairly straightforward. It is a “super-easy” pattern after all :). The raglan sleeve style of the t-shirt made the sleeves a non-issue. Anything I wasn’t too sure about (the double seam for example) was nicely explained in the notes. I only had two issues with the entire make:

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Slinky malinky

 

A) The material. This is a slinky rayon knit and it feels lovely and cool on the skin. Of course, Pinkwhistle’s 3rd law of sewing means that this necessitates it must be a bugger to sew with. (I made that up too). Marking it was the worst! I knew immediately I could forget about cutting it on the fold and instead cut everything in a single layer. My cutting mat simply isn’t big enough to use a rotary cutter for the whole pattern, so I needed to mark out the larger pieces. Boo. I tried a chalk wheel (impossibly draggy), a disappearing ink pen that sank into the knit and disappeared immediately and a wheel and tracing paper (couldn’t see the carbon). I suppose good ol’ tailor’s chalk might have worked, but I didn’t have any. I ended up using a regular pen and just drew lightly. Sewing the material wasn’t too bad. I played around with the stitches and ended up using the 3-point zigzag stitch. It was sometimes a little tough to get going at the beginning of smaller pieces, but I worked it out in the end.

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B: The double seam finish. For the most part, the double seam finish works quite well. I used the zigzag along the seam allowance, and then a straight stitch 1/4-in into the seam allowance. The instructions advised you to trim the seam allowance at the second straight stitch line. This was mostly fine apart from on the neckline. It flips around and sticks out a bit here – enough to be annoying. After consulting someone much more experienced than I, I think I’m going to try and trim it further and then maybe topstitch it down. Let’s see if that helps, but I don’t think I would use this neckline finishing style again.

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Blurry photo (sorry) but this is a nice detail on the skirt

I must say that this knit pressed very well, so hemming and so on was relatively painless. I also tried to bear the pattern in mind, particularly in the boob area, although I think it’s random enough that it doesn’t matter too much. At least I hope so. 🙂 Since I made this, I’ve been at a class where we’re working on a knit project using a walking foot and much smaller zigzag stitch. I actually got a walking foot with my machine, so I think I will try it out for my next knit garment. In terms of the pattern, it’s a really quick sew – it took me maybe 4-5hrs including pattern tracing and cutting. For me, that’s pretty quick. I also like the View C dress  – and now I know that there’s quite a bit of ease in the pattern, I may whip one up in a slightly thicker knit.

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The hem on the top is straight – honest! My t-shirt got a bit rumpled here.

I totally think this is a great beginner’s knit pattern and also a first Big Four pattern. 😉 Can cross that off me list now! Okay, that about sums this up, so hope it’s useful and cheerio for now…

PS. I popped over to the Craftsy site just now to check the content of my knit and they have 50-60% off a lot of Cotton & Steel fabric at the moment. Just sayin’! 🙂

2 thoughts on “New make: Butterick B6207

  1. My hat is off to you, madam! Big Four pattern fitting very well! I’m very impressed. And don’t say “oh, it’s marked Very Easy” — that’s just about the sewing part. The fitting is definitely not very easy, so congratulations!

    That’s a very interesting fabric. I find rayon knits pretty tricky to work with. I’m really glad you didn’t have problems with this one. It’s a lovely outfit, so bask in the glory of having conquered a Big Four pattern — and soon, hopefully — in the sun, too 🙂

    As for “pot-belly syndrome” — well, I don’t think it’s a syndrome (I hope it isn’t!). All the ladies in my immediate family have it and I have it too. Thank the gods for growing up. As I teenager I thought you were supposed to have a flat, plank-hard belly — it was the era of the damned bare midriff — good friends, feminism, and actively working on being decent to myself cured me of that, luckily. A world without diverse bellies would be a sad world. And I’m happy we’re out of the bare midriff era. Now I’m waiting for the return of higher waisted jeans era — but I’ll likely learn to make my own before that happens.

    PS: Oh no, you really shouldn’t have said anything about the sale on Cotton and Steel. I’ve just decided on an indefinite no-buy period. Now my heart aches. (Just kidding, you can say anything, I’m an adult after all.)

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    1. Haha, awww, you’re too kind. I’m telling you, this is a forgiving pattern, so I didn’t have to adjust anything at all. But thanks for the compliment – I’ll take it! I have a feeling I got lucky though… 😉 Oh, I think most ladies over the age of 35 who don’t obsessively go to the gym have a bit of a tummy. We’re supposed to right? I just don’t like when it actually wobbles in my skirt, haha. And… there’s always shapewear, much as I hate it.

      Oh yes, and I’m totoally with you on the Seamwork patterns. The top is cute in both versions, but the skirt I will leave. I do like a maxi skirt now and then, but I’m not too sure about a gathered waistline. The more successful ones I’ve seen tend to be quite flat at the waist.

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