Bring on the Dancing Horses: Butterick 5211

By | September 28, 2016


There’s a stampede on my dress. RUN!!!

Dude, this dress makes me so happy. Really, it’s a triumph of modern marketing. I’ve never actually purchased fabric from Mood Fabrics, despite being on their email list for years. But for some reason, when I got the email headlined, “Do You Love Horses?” (I am neutral on horses, for the record), I clicked through and fell in love with this print.


The power of fabric compelled me.

Seriously, whatever algorithm contributed to that email campaign, it’s basically my internet shopping overlord. I am powerless against it, and I accept that.

So, I had to find the right pattern to do justice to these prancing ponies. The fabric has the look of a soft stripe from a distance, and I wanted to preserve that part of it.

I picked Butterick 5211 with a previous Beaute J’Adore post in the back of my head, where she’d modified a shift dress to have a dropped bell sleeve. Turns out Nikki has made this exact pattern as well, so I took that as a good omen — I love her taste in dresses!


I cut a straight 10, nervous about sizing down even though the pattern is loose and shapeless. It was a good move, since there’s just the right amount of ease for me in the hips. If you make this dress, measure the bust and hips carefully if you’re considering sizing down.

As far as construction, this dress is a breeze. There are no darts, no zippers, and pretty much no details of any kind to trip you up. It’s marketed as a “1-hour” pattern. (You know where this is going, right?) So naturally, it took me all of a 3-day weekend to finish this project.

This is my "I *will* cut you" face.

This is my “I *will* cut you” face.

Since my beloved equine poly crepe de chine is mostly sheer, I wanted to add a lining. What really took a toll on my time was waffling between a lining and underlining. I ended up going with a weird hybrid of both, noodling through that process slowly.

I interfaced the lining fabric at the neckline, as you would a facing (which is what the pattern calls for), but attached it as a lining. Because I serged all my other seams, I was able to press out any wonkiness at the juncture of the back neck and shoulders. It’s a clean finish, and I like that I was able to avoid top-stitching by doing it this way. That said, I can’t say I would recommend my methods to, well… anybody.

If you want to make this even easier, cut the back on the fold and nix that seam.

If you want to make this even easier, cut the back on the fold and nix that seam.

The puff sleeves are made with a simple elastic casing. If you wanted to make this a smidge more elegant, you could gather the bottom edge of the sleeve to a band of fabric. The way I plan on wearing it, the casing is pushed up under the puff and isn’t visible, so no worries.

Puff sleeves make me smile!

Puff sleeves make me smile!

I had big expectations for this dress. Like, huge. I love the fabric, and I thought I chose the perfect pattern. When it was complete, I was a bit let down. It didn’t look like the effortless chic dress I was going for! It looked (let’s be real) like a muu-muu. Not cool. (For the record, Pretty Tall Style absolutely nails effortless chic with this pattern. Seriously, go check it out.)

So, be ready to finesse the crap out of this dress. Push those sleeves up, or lengthen them a la Beaute J’Adore. In the end, this dress is all about the fabric and accessories and adding your personality to a design that is a blank slate. It’s about sashaying around in what is, essentially, a sack dress, and working the hell out of it.

Did I mention... POCKETS!?

Did I mention… POCKETS!?

Did I possibly sew myself up a metaphor for life? With these pinky ponies on my side, let’s just say that anything is possible.

Welcome to the wardrobe, my Philosophical Foal Frock.


5 thoughts on “Bring on the Dancing Horses: Butterick 5211

  1. Claire

    Come to think of it I got the same email from Mood with this fabric as the headliner! I love this dress-what a great pattern. Doesn’t look like a muu muu to me!

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Thanks, Claire! I seriously can’t figure out why that email was so effective, but I’m happy with the results!

  2. Lynsey

    I think your dress looks great, the fabric is the focus and it is awesome! I think that this look is very fashionable like the Inari dress, and I think it looks fab. I love fabric emails, I buy so much but unfortunately (possibly lucky for my bank) I don’t have Mood near me (England) so can’t be tempted by them

  3. Carol

    Pattern is perfect of showing the unique fabric. You did a great job matching the dancing horse stripes at the seam lines ( a challenge for me , that sadly it have yet to conquer!).

    1. Sara in Stitches Post author

      Thanks, Carol! I was pretty proud of the stripe matching, since I’m often pretty careless about it. Thanks for noticing!

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