Butterick 5353 – White peacock dress

Along with my love of all things yellow, I also adore anything printed with peacock feathers. Apparently a lot of other people feel the same way because every time I find one online and put it in a wish list awaiting a sale, it will immediately sell out. I found this one on Mood’s online store and, even though it is considered home dec fabric, snapped it up. It is a cotton canvas embroidered with gold thread and the feathers are partially yellow. It’s also one of Iman’s new home decor fabrics.

Cotton Canvas Dress

Being a cotton canvas, this fabric has no drape, so I needed a design that was fitted. I made a muslin to perfect the fit and made the following alterations:

– Cut an 8 for the neckband, a 10 for the top, a 12 for the waist, and between a 10 and a 12 for the hips.
– Altered the side front to fit my small bust
– Added 1″ to the bottom of all bodice pieces (this is standard for my long torso)
– Altered the waistband to not be so nipped in (also standard for my square shape)
– Reshaped the front armholes to be more cut in

Cotton Canvas Dress

Cutting this dress out was difficult and was done on a single layer of fabric. Those feathers are basically vertical stripes so everything had to line up. I had to make sure the feather “eyes” were evenly spaces over the dress and NOT at a bust apex. The front and back princess seams had to be cut so that the bottoms met at the correct spot on the stripe and flowed into the waistband. Did I mention I only bought one yard?! It was very stressful and I was extremely apprehensive of making a cutting error and not having any more fabric to correct it with. This is when some prayer is definitely helpful!

Cotton Canvas Dress

Now, you would think that since I made a muslin I would have zero fit issues, right? Too bad I didn’t make a muslin of the skirt as well as the top. If you look down at the envelope picture you will see that this pattern includes two tucks on either side of the waist. The puffed out stomach area that resulted from those tucks turned out to not be a very flattering silhouette. Thus the skirt had to be completely removed, the side seams ripped out, a dart added to each side front and the front side seam curved in more toward the waist. I really don’t know why I didn’t mock up the skirt along with the top other then that I was still thinking about my previous dress which had a full skirt and didn’t need the lower half to be fitted. It was dumb and I have learned my lesson.

Cotton Canvas Dress

Here you can see the gold embroidery better. I am really proud of finally figuring out how to fit patterns to my small bust.

Cotton Canvas Dress

More dressform pictures:

Cotton Canvas Dress
Cotton Canvas Dress
Cotton Canvas Dress

This pattern calls for a full lining which I made out of black Ambiance. I thought about doing the lining out of the same cotton sheeting used in my last dress but the white in the dress isn’t a true white. Clashing whites is a slight pet peeve. Also I would have had to special order a zipper online to match the slight cream color and that was just too much trouble – especially since I had both the black Ambiance and the black zipper in my stash.

Cotton Canvas Dress

This was a great pattern and I really love the finished garment.

cotton Dress


  • Mood Sewing Network
    September 17, 2012

    Amanda, you did such a great job with this difficult pattern. Your attention to detail really paid off and you look wonderful in this dress.

  • Cheryl
    September 18, 2012

    Love this, Amanda! I just bought this super cute pattern for my daughter, so to see it made up was a bonus. You did a wonderful job – the fabric is beautiful!

  • Kathy
    September 19, 2012

    What a beautiful dress! I am also small busted and have a time fitting most patterns–you obviously have mastered it. Thanks so much for sharing–I’m inspired!

  • Katy
    September 21, 2012

    I am impressed that you were able to match and line up the feathers so well with only a yard of fabric! Very impressive!

  • Suzanne Beaubien
    September 28, 2012

    I can’t believe you squeaked a dress out of a single yard of fabric. And a pattern fabric too. Do they have Brownie badges for that? They should.

  • Lauren
    October 2, 2012

    You did an amazing job getting that huge print to work out! What a smashing dress! ***Love that pattern***! How fabulous is it in black? Don’t you want to make it again in black?

  • Maggie Hebert
    October 2, 2012

    Fantastic! Wow I love your attention to fit. You did an incredible job. I love it and you look great in that dress. Happy Sewing!

    I have a question. Is your body form custom made for your body ? It seems to be a perfect size. Your dress fits well on it. I need a better form to sew for myself.

    • Amanda S.
      October 2, 2012

      Yes, it is a custom made dressform. I bought it from Andy’s Dress Forms in NYC. I sent him my measurements and after a few starts and stops, he mailed her to me. Thanks for your nice comments.