Butterick 5748 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
Sewing Projects

Wax Prints & Party Dresses // Butterick 5748 Sewing Pattern

It’s a given. If you plunk me down in a fabric store I will somehow find the weirdest, loudest, most psychedelic print within seconds. What can I say? I just really like when all the colours making sweet, beautiful love to each other. As I result I get positively spastic when I encounter African wax prints. I get crushes on them like boys, except they NEVER forget to call you and ALWAYS listen to you when you want to talk about the new episode of Girls. They seem to be pretty easy to come by in my fabric neck of the woods – I’ve been eye-banging some pretty ones with silkscreened gold but it wasn’t until I stumbled over these hot pink prints in Toronto a few months ago that I finally took some home.
Butterick 5748 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
Butterick 5748 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns

Speaking of eye-banging…. Oh, hello psychedelic eyeballs. What are you looking at from that sea of batik? Why, HELLO giant acorns! Don’t you look awesome next to acid-eyes over there! Why don’t I throw you two together into a giant party dress and see what happens? It’s like little Henrietta housewife left that 50’s cocktail shindig, wandered over to an acid party at Tim Leary’s house and tripped right into this frock.

Maybe it’s just me?

Butterick 5748 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
Butterick 5748 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns
Butterick 5748 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns

I cannot take credit for this African print + 50’s New Look idea. I saw this dress a few months ago and it’s been hanging around at the back of my brain whispering “Do it do it do it do it”. I love 50’s silhouettes but an authentically period dress is not very conducive to my day to day life. I liked the idea of taking this classic style and mashing it up with an unexpected textile. I used Butterick 5748; the only changes I made were making it quite a bit shorter (more modern I think and better looking with flats). It was easy peasy to assemble. I only ran into problems when I went to cut out the circle skirt and realized that 2 yards of the acorn print wasn’t going to be enough, so I finished the back with more of the eyeballs. I prefer to think of it as “fun and unexpected” rather than “poorly planned and ill conceived”.

Inspired by Gertie’s suggestion for making a nice full skirt, I lined the skirt with poly organza and the top with cotton batiste. It really does add a lot of fullness and movement. I’m wearing it with a small crinoline in these photos but it has a nice shape without it. The only problem is that in an utterly shocking turn of events, poly organza does not feel great on your bum and legs on a hot summer day. Bike shorts mandatory.

Butterick 5748 Sewing Pattern // Closet Case Patterns

And can I get an amen for my hemming foot? I’m still mastering it but I can’t imagine hemming a circle skirt any other way. It’s so stinking fast! Stay tuned next week for that green and white chevron number I posted about over the weekend. It’s finished and it’s FANTASTIC.

After I complete the 50’s style swimsuit I’m going to start working on tomorrow I may need to retire this decade for a while…


  • …”and tripped right into this dress” — love it! 🙂

  • Bri

    That fabric is gorgeous, I pretty much always gravitate towards the craziest print in a store too, I never cease to amaze my friends with the crazy prints I find!

    I like the poly organza lining for the fuller skirt, I will have to try that.

    Can’t wait to see the bathing suit!

    • Can’t wait to share it! (If it’s not utterly terrifying that is).

  • OMG, I think this is a fabulous dress! I too always veer to the craziest prints I can find, but I just can’t seem to help myself! I would totally wear this dress proudly and I agree that the shorter length makes it more modern and looks better with flats. Sounds like you’ve got some more fun makes to reveal soon…cannot wait!!!

    • Thanks Marie! You have an admirable way with prints yourself.

  • No there is seriously some acid trip happening on this dress. Those crazy acorns don’t even look like they are part of that dress – just floating in front of my eyeballs! So obviously this dress is awesome sauce!

    I’m so psyched for the 50’s bathing suit – AND the stripe dress!!! Omg Omg Omg…

    • Your enthusiasm is my favourite. Hopefully I can get some stripey shots this weekend….

  • I love me some crazy prints, and those psychedelic eyes are nothing short of amazing! I think I would creep myself out, though, if I had to wear this dress in the dark…

    The poly organza looks like just the thing! Time to go look for some!

    • If those eyes glowed in the dark? HELLO HALLOWEEN.

  • I’m obsessed with this dress! I say the louder the better!

  • oooh! It’s a wonderfull dress!

  • LOVE THIS! LOVE IT. Give it to me?

  • This is frisky fab- if it’s loud, it’s yelling sweet things! Heehee, I thought i was the only one with bike shorts under my frocks…shhhhh

  • Amy

    What a perfect combination! It has a delicious irony. Acid eyeballs, heheh. I love when things are so wrong that they’re right.

  • Ooh, where do you live? I was looking at African wax prints in Toronto just yesterday! (I live just north of the GTA) I WANT to love them, because the more colours, the merrier… but when it gets down to it, I just don’t fall in love with them on the roll. I love other people’s dresses made from them, but I just can’t find the right print myself!

  • I’m in Montreal but I found a bunch somewhere on Queen West in that awesome fabric district…

  • Kazz

    I love this hard, I’m a sucker for this kinda fabric. God don’t retire yet you’re too good and funny and clever and stuff.

  • parise

    The fabric seems so flowy…was it already like that or did the circle skirt make it flowy? It’s really nice 🙂

  • boocat

    That’s why I avoid polyester and stick with the silk organza.