Pattern Review: Butterick 6410 Evening Gown

So, last night was the black tie event. The Vegan rented a tux, I wore an evening dress and I have some thoughts. 1st, men have it easy. When the invitation says ‘black tie’, they just throw on a tuxedo. Yes, they may argue with you at 11:30 p.m. on the way home that they could have saved $165 and just worn a black suit ‘if you would have just stitched some braid down the side of  my pants’. And, you do the prudent thing and ignore that comment. You must also swallow a big fat ‘I told you so’ when they arrive at your door and say, ‘I should have bought a tuxedo’ when in fact that is precisely what you suggested three weeks ago.

Which brings me to my dress. Which I love. But, as Elise in my office said, ‘that’s a hard fabric to wear’. Why? It’s got enough sheen that it shows every bump. It’s so drapey that every fold is amplified. Plus, it wrinkles when the wind blows. I finally took it to a boutique in town and steamed it myself because the skirt was still wrinkly after an hour of ironing.

After I put it on, I refused to sit down until the Vegan came over so he could take my picture because  I knew it would wrinkle as soon as my left cheek touched upholstery. Maybe if I used a stretch or sharp needle I would not have the vertical seam puckers that just would *not* press out. Not *all* seams, but enough that I’m irritated.  That being said, in real life, these things don’t show as much. But, I couldn’t get one picture that I was happy with because it photographs *so shiny*. Also, as Trena and I have discussed, non-sewing friends and men make terrible photographers. Because, they will not take the 50 photos you need to find the two good ones. One and done.

This is the best of the photos. So, I notice a tendency not to believe me when I tell you the problems with a dress. So, below, is a totally unflattering photo to prove all the problems in photographing this dress. And, Mom, please don’t call to tell me ‘that dress isn’t doing you any favors’. I *swear* it doesn’t look this bad IRL:

Ack!! Ack!! Folds above the waist, puckers down the front. Stretching across the thighs. Bleh. What’s my point? I think this dress is best served by a firmer woven on anyone that isn’t a nubile 17 year old girl. I used a poly stretch satin.  I’ll defnitely wear it again because I love it. But, it takes TERRIBLE photos. And, in case you forgot the pattern I worked with, it’s this discontinued Butterick 6410 from about 1999. As for alterations, I pretty much cut a straight 14, reduced some of the hip curve and lengthened the bodice for a lazy FBA.

So, there you have it. Today, I’d like to straighten the sewing room up some. I have two UFOs I’d like to work on a bit. Hopefully one or both can go to Philly with me next weekend for PR Weekend.


  1. I call those kinds of dresses, my “mannequin dresses” because they look great if I stand perfectly still and don’t breathe. However, the instant I try to move, all hell breaks loose and the illusion is shot.

    However, with that said, you look wonderful. The blue bodice is just scrumptious with your skin tone!

    • Yes! It’s totally a ‘mannequin dress’. All hell *does* break loose the moment I move! Luckily, the event had a lighting designer so I was at least well lit!

  2. I do love the dress, but I know what you mean about the troublesome fabric and the inability to move without wrinkling. I think the problem was the “poly” in the “poly stretch satin”. I learned for my DD’s prom dresses, it’s impossible to get the puckers out of poly.

  3. Some fabrics just make you hate them, don’t they? I will say this-sometimes, not every time, but sometimes, if you press each side of each seam while it’s flat and then either press it to the side or open as you prefer, it will look much better, hang better, and be more cooperative. But it’s a pain in the backside to do all that pressing.

    • Sadly, that’s how I always press my seams since I reas that article by Gorgeous Things in Threads. Or she was interviewed about it.

      • I was afraid of that-some fabrics just refuse to be pressed and stay pressed. But you gave it your best shot, and like another poster said, people that don’t sew really don’t notice the “flaws” that we notice in our own work. Fact is, it’s a gorgeous color and style for you, and you got to go out with a guy in a tux! There are worse ways to spend an evening!

  4. It might have taken the Vegan a few shots, but he did a fine job–the dress looks particularly lovely in the first picture! Colors are just wow on you. And, if it makes you feel any better about any wrinkling/puckering, non-sewing people (and people not possessed of a magnifying glass or mean eyes) will never see the flaws that we see in our own sewing.

  5. Yeah, yeah, yeah, troubles with the material, puckers, sheeniness, yada yada yada. You look like the Goddess of “The World Is My Oyster!”
    You must have had a wonderful time, starting off looking that happy!

  6. Lovely! I would never have picked that colour for you, but you look stunning in it. I think the dress is great, not too wrinkled at all. It’s a great style and would look good as a summer dress at knee length in a more movement friendly fabric.

  7. Two thoughts about sewing with that fabric (and thoughts are all they are, since I have not tried it): 1)stretch the seams as you sew (by pulling simultaneously on both the front and the back as the fabric feeds through the machine) 2)interline. The colors are an inspired choice!

  8. I wish I could come to Philadelphia to say this in person:

    You look gorgeous in your dress — the colors are absolutely divine and the fitting is spectacular.

    Now not another word from you about ripples and whatnot.

    p.s. have fun sewing today. I hope to get a little of that time myself 🙂

  9. I hear what you are saying about your frustrations, but I agree with everyone else, you do look stunning and the colours are an inspired choice. It sounds like stretch poly satin is not for novices- I will certainly avoid it!

  10. It looks awesome. One of my favourite dresses was made using a stretch silk charmeuse. Wrinkles like a damn too!
    I love the colour combo!

  11. When I saw the party dress on you I loved it but the before pictures on the dress form not so much. Remember you see all the little little things. People you meet will not study you that close. if you felt good you were good

  12. Stunning! I just finished sewing a poly charmeuse w/ stretch so know well your frustrations. Don’t even think about ever topstitching this stuff. You pulled off a beautiful garment with your poly. Trust me, when you walked into the room no one was looking at the wrinkles. 😉

  13. You look beautiful. Your gown is wonderful –I love the design. The fabric reminds me of mercury – liquid and shiny!

  14. Lovely! The (teal?) blue just lights up your face and draws your eye away from the skirt area (where you say most of the problems are visible). I think you looked terrific!!

  15. I think it looks good on you. And I understand completely! You look in the mirror and feel great about what you see. You take a photo and all of these lines and folds appear!

  16. You look beautiful and I hope you had a great time. My dh got tired of renting tuxes and bought one a couple of years ago. Much better option.

  17. That first photo looks fantastic, and I believe that is how the dress looked for the whole night. As for photographers, if you know any four year olds, they will stand there and click the button on the camera until you force it out of their hands. I always end up with many more photos than I need.

    See you next week at pr weekend.


  18. How can you say the photo doesn’t look good? You are a complete knock-out in that dress, looking like a glamorous movie star from the 1930s. The blue and brown combo is modern and updates the classic dress style. Just gorgeous.

  19. I get the funky wrinkles complaint. We’re always more critical of something we did ourselves, where others are more forgiving of the faults we see. I love that color combo, and I’m glad I’m not the only one who resorts to the “Lazy FBA” that you did!

  20. You know, I think even the “bad” photo looks good. Really! It flows. And the brown suits your skin colour and the blue/teal is lovely. Overall a beautiful look.

  21. I think the dress looks stunning on you. The colours are perfect, the teal makes you glow. Satin is hard to light unless you are a professional photographer and understand how to use light and colour temperature, so don’t think it’s you. Every garment is going to fold and wrinkle in some area when you wear it, unless you’ve been full body botoxed and don’t move.

  22. Well I do love the style of the dress, even if the fabric is uncooperative.

    I totally hear ya about the photographer thing. I can have a necklace that’s totally wonky or a hem turned up and Tim is completely blind to it. At least he is willing to take lots of pics though.

  23. It’s gorgeous. Those colors are a dream team together. Very classy pattern and it’s very flattering on you. I’m sure the dress in movement was much better than a still picture. You look beautiful. Where’s a picture of the vegan???

  24. Seriously, I’m suppose to bring something other than myself to PR Weekend? I thought this was about fabric shopping…*mumble, mumble*

    Ummmm, you look great btw! Hope you had a good time!

  25. I think you look fantastic. Photos–now that leaves an opportunity for the viewer to examine and re-examine every little spot! That’s why I hate my photo being taken.

  26. You look good in that dress, and should use that color more often. I admire your choices with this dress, both the fabric and the colors. I don’t do shiney, in ready-made, or my own, because of the bumps/bulges thing, and I’m just selfish enough to say “No” to the industrial strength garments I’d have to wear. I’m also not brave enough to try that fabric.

    Well Done!

  27. You look beautiful! Yes that is a tough fabric to wear, even so it is a beautiful dress, so go ahead wear it and enjoy it.

  28. “A complete knock-out” is right! That first photo is amazing; you look stunning; I didn’t think the dress could look better than it did in your earlier photo (the one without you in it!), but oh, was I wrong. Beautiful!

  29. You look so beautiful in that dress. Don’t worry about a few wrinkles, everything wrinkles. Your color choice is stunning and perfect for you. And no, I am not just saying that.

  30. I haven’t commented on that dress before because I just wasn’t convinced with the color combo. But now that I see it on you, wow! Looks fabulous. Fa-bu-lous.

  31. Polyester blends are not for the faint of heart.I love them and hate them. You look wonderful in these colors, and non-sewing people do not know what we go through to look amazing 🙂

  32. My first impression of the dress is the colors and style look gorgeous on you. Didn’t notice the wrinkles, etc. I am sure in the setting for the event you wore it to, that it looked great!

  33. I admire all your work.You look absolutely fabulous in the dress in the first picture! Thanks for sharing the 2nd one, it gives me courage to try to work with “difficult” fabrics. Dawn

  34. You look absolutely gorgeous in that dress. The colors compliment you so well. Hey, we know how hard it is to work with certain types of material, and some of them fight you tooth and nails. No matter what you do, they still do their own thing. Fantastic job all the way around.

  35. You look beautiful. The turquoise color really complements your skin tone and really stands out on you.

  36. Ooh, ooh, oooh! I can mentally undo whatever weirdness that satin puts on in front of a camera and say you look great in it! I have to admit that when I saw your earlier posts of it just on the dressform, I didn’t really get it. But it looks great on you and the colors are lovely. Lucky vegan!

  37. I LIKE IT!!!! Nice choice of colors. Yeah,…..reminds me of linen – sort of – gotta love it. You look GREAT!

  38. I love this dress, the colors are perfect, and I so LOVE your hair!!! Keep up the good work!

  39. You look amazing! I do hear you about the sheen and subsequent magnification of body flaws; the camera isn’t kind either, so I know you look fab in real life.

  40. Love those two colors together!!!! I was not properly visualizing the fabrics, for some reason I was picturing a tweedy matte (????) for the skirt. I think it looks great.

  41. First of all, the dress looks great! I just finished my evening gown two nights ago and really hope to never need another one! I detest sewing hems to begin with but throw in a bias cut skirt…
    Hans has to have a tux for this event and we discussed his buying one (we have to rent this one in Germany and of course it’s not cheap) but we’re pretty sure he’ll never need one again.

  42. From what I can tell you did a very good job. The dress is beautiful…I’m looking real close are your nails nekkid?? lol!! 🙂

  43. these colors are absolutely perfect for you, what a beautiful dress. Just enjoy wearing it on next occasion too. And I agree, for men it’s easier, my dress recently gave a lot of last minute stress, first in deciding “what do I wear” and subsequently making it. DH just took his dark suit from the closet, a shirt and tie and he was ready.
    (catching up on your posts)

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