Retro Butterick ’57 halter-dress

butterick b4512 halter dress
I made this dress to wear at my sister’s wedding last month but ridiculously didn’t manage to get any full-length, blog-worthy pics. So yesterday, we took a lovely evening stroll down to Fulham Reach for these shots.

butterick b4512 halter dress

It took a bit of effort to ditch bags, change outfit, reapply slap and head straight back out after a long hot day at the office but I’m glad we did. The light was lovely – no jacket required, and it took no time at all to chill out on the banks of the Old Father Thames!

butterick b4512 halter dress

A swift G&T softened the self-concsious blow of twirling around like a loon in full view of passers-by. And it wasn’t till after we’d finished that I clocked a security guard behind a smoked glass door applauding from his ringside seat!

butterick b4512 halter dress

The pattern is Butterick B4512, a retro 1957 reprint. It’s a halter-neck bodice with optional collar/pussy bow. I cut my own circle skirt though I believe simplicity’s one is a circle too. I just didn’t want to split the front skirt section. It would have messed with my dots!

Butterick B4512 sewing pattern

butterick b4512 halter dress

I knew I might have issues with the fitting of the bodice but I was time short as always and used a lovely cherry print fabric for my first attempt. Alas it was too long overbust if that’s a thing. So I had to take an inch out horizontally. I could have gotten away with it, pesky kids or not, but my inner perfectionist nagged to get it right. So I adjusted the pattern pieces and re-cut in some stash polka dot. This fabric has subtle stretch which I knew would work with me!

butterick b4512 halter dress

Once I’d sorted the issues it really took no time at all. Only the bodice is lined. I think the most surprising thing was not even having to level the hem after letting it hang overnight. It didn’t distort at all!

butterick b4512 halter dress

We treated ourselves to a long overdue child-free dinner date at the Blue Boat afterwards. The same place where we shot my not so boring pencil skirt! I got lots of compliments at the bar. I didn’t feel like I had to justify why I was wearing it. After all, why save a party dress for best? On whose say so? Not mine!

butterick b4512 halter dress

I’d love to try this pattern in other fabrics, even a plain one. It’s kinda formal fancy Hepburn from the front but the backless feature and the swishy skirt make for party factor. The petticoat was a happy find in an Oxfam charity shop on the way home from work one day. I’ve been meaning to make myself one for ages, determined to make everything I wear, but couldn’t ignore this beauty for a fiver!

butterick b4512 halter dress

It’s very strange with youngest daughter being away this week (She’ll be tucked up in her sheep shorts now, no doubt) but at the same time so lovely to be spending some fun times with the Mister and his clever camera skills. Long may this sunshine and warm weather hang around. These evening strolls totally make me feel like I’m on holiday!

60 Replies to “Retro Butterick ’57 halter-dress”

  1. I am sitting here in the morning, shivering in my polar fleece dressing gown, as it is freeezing. So how lovely to open the blog post and see you twirling happily in warm evening sunshine!

    1. Mike, I’m glad you agree on Bianchi, and sorry for the age pun, it was unfair. Its one I use on my old man all the time and its bad form.Mike, Russian schi made with saurkraut is a crime against food(and humanity). I cant change my view on that)

  2. Gorgeous dress, style, fabric, love the peticoat and my god those shoes just totally finish it off ! Dan you’re the man once again ! and i must try the G & T tip too. xx

    1. Thank you lovely lady. It was a treat for sure. Though you must have similar joys and aches now that your puppy dog rules the roost! xxx

  3. Such a glamourpuss!!! Love the polka dots and bright petticoat with those shoes! Really enjoy the little peek into your life over there (despite making me miss it even more) and can really relate to those rare child-free nights! Love to you both. x

    1. Haha… thank you gorgeous. Your trip over here has lulled me into a false sense of security and makes me think you are just up the road! Loved seeing you all. Much love back xxx

  4. Perfection! The dress! The photos! The dialogue! I’m right there with the security guard clapping gleefully! You gotta twirl wearing a polka dot vintage-y feeling dress! And what a great find…your tulle petticoat…and the colour!!! And the Lola shoes again…so fun! Perhaps I should try a G & T next time out for blog photos? I looked at your mister’s website, and I’m in awe of his photography!

  5. You look great in this, the shoes are a perfect match and you got some fabulous photos (might have to have a GnT next time I’m tempted to take photos in public ;o) Love your style – I want a petticoat for a fiver at the thrift store!

  6. Ooo it’s lovely! You look great 🙂
    i recently made a dark grey polka dot dress, and it was well, just disappointing. But yours made me figure out what (one of) the issue(s) might be. It needs a contrasting collar! So thanks for that 😀

    1. Thank you. A little contrast goes a long way. I can’t imagine that your dress was disappointing in any way. Have you blogged it yet? I saw the pattern and it’s gorgeous. Perhaps some pink buttons would make it sing? 🙂

  7. Oh my gosh!!! This is fabulous!! I love it!! Right down to the shoes!! The outfit is perfect in every way. It is now a must have for me!! I cannot wait to get my hands on this pattern. Wow!

  8. Hoorah for west London, it looks so lovely in those pics! Janene, you look beautiful in that dress and I love the whole ensemble, absolutely perfect choice for a glamorous sister at a wedding! Oh to go on a dinner date by the river without kids! Very envious, but I bet you still miss her. xx

    1. Thank you so much honey pie. Yes it doesn’t happen that often but if it did it probably wouldn’t be so much fun. That’s what I keep telling myself anyhows!! x

  9. Diggin’ those dots, that’s a girly yet very stylish number. I think every woman needs dots in her wardrobe and the collar is a fab addition in fact I think it makes the dress. I love to see anyone twirling atop a bridge but when they are wearing a garment with a skirt that big, it makes a statement!

  10. I’m missing a big band on the background, dance floor, sound of drums and a swing… Exciting outfit, everything is a perfect match. And what a difference petticoat makes. Gorgeous!

      1. Tot ce se poate, eu ţin greu şirul zilelor săptămînii. Am fost, am venit, mă duc iar, se pare că o să cam rămîn acolo la un moment dat. Dă-mi un semn cînd mai mergi, poate bem o cafea în B.!

  11. Hi! This dress is really beautiful! I like the combination of the contrast petticoat underneath. It really looks like a fabric that would have been used in the 1950’s. Polka dots were very popular as you probably already know. Thanks for posting!

    1. Thank you, Kathy. I’d considered using the fabric for something else but when I saw this pattern I soon changed my mind!

  12. wiooooooow, you made that dress *O* You are truly talented! And it was indeed worth changing, the dress and the location are so beautiful 🙂 I adore these pictures so much!

  13. Oooh love that daring low back. And excellent choice with the polka dots and coordinating shoes!! What is it with centre front seams?! I hate them. They ruin any chances of using a cute print. Pish. Anyway, rant over. I think this looks darling. And you have excellent photo swishing skills.

    1. Thank you 🙂 And long may that evening sun hang around! It’s not easy measuring off the paper pattern to get a close fit because it’s backless. So a test make was defo needed for this one.

  14. I am sure you must be thrilled to bits with this one. The style, fit and colours are just spot on and so you. The petticoat is surprising and great fun. And your husband’s photographs of our wonderful river just make me want to walk that way too.

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