Simplicity 5549: None of that butterfly lace-insertion nonsense. 

Lingerie. It’s nothing to smile about.

the pattern

Simplicity 5549, copyright 1982.

the fabric

I’ve done this pattern twice, but only view 2, and only as a dress not lingerie, so none of that lace insertion butterfly nonsense.

First in red….something. I don’t actually know what that fabric is. It’s got a great sheen but is not shiny, it’s fairly heavy, it creates static, it was a remnant from the scrap box at work.

Next, black washed silk crepe with moon print.

The red is a single layer, finished along the top with bias to the inside and top stitching on the outside. The moon silk crepe is a thinner fabric, so I cut it double layer, clean finished with itself at top, seamed and hemmed separately, cut with the under-layer slightly longer than the outer to get some almost-ruffle action at the hem.

When I sew bias dresses for myself I really like to SHOW OFF the fact that they are bias. I think the diagonal line of a pieced bias garment is the coolest thing. So if any piecing is necessary I like to put that across the front where errbody can see it, and I like to highlight the seam with a slightly wrong color top-stitching thread. You can see above how the black dress is top stitched in brown, and it’s harder to see but just trust: the red is top stitched in hot orange.

What I changed from the original pattern 

Not a whole lot. Other than making the moons double-layered and ignoring the lingerie details, I added a little gathering at the side seam bust area, not much, just a little since the pattern has no bust dart, and added side-back darts to slim the dress out throught the upper back and waist.

What I learned

Not learned so much as had further confirmation that bias is great.
The red one’s heavier weight allows it skims over the body rather than hugging it, which is great in a short dress: fits close but doesn’t restrict.

The lighter weight of the black silk crepe really stretches and slinks around the body, almost like the feel of a knit dress.

Here is the red one in the wild circa 2011:

And here’s a third version in chambray. I almost called this one a failure and sent it to the thrift because of how the stiff fabric stacks up at the waist and refuses to ease down around the hips in a bias way, even though it’s cut on bias and in the same size as the others. But now I kind of like it. Fabric choice: it totally matters.

sew it or throw it?

Duh, sew.


6 thoughts on “Simplicity 5549: None of that butterfly lace-insertion nonsense. 

  1. I used to have this pattern…but it was never a success, largely due to my limited sewing skills way back when. Oh yes, and a total lack of understanding of the fact that patterns ARE NOT THE WORD OF GOD and can be *gulp* altered to fit. Anyway. It ended up in the bin quite recently, after surviving to no purpose for about 20 years.


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