Friday, June 10, 2016

Sew Expensive - Butterick 6527 1930's Evening Gown

Hello my dears,
Today for your viewing pleasure, I have another edition of Sew Expensive. We've has some truly lovely evening gown patterns showcased in the past but today we have a rare Butterick pattern, of all things.

Usually we don't see too many Butterick patterns going for nearly as high as say Vogue or McCall's and that's usually because Butterick didn't spend as much time on their artwork and often didn't bother with color envelope illustrations until the late 1930's - early 1940's. A lot of a pattern's value will hinge on both truly beautiful artwork, and the more unusual design aspects of the pattern itself. Butterick managed to meet both of those criteria without coloring the envelop illustration with this pattern.
Very recently, Butterick 6527 sold on Ebay for a shocking $362.

Butterick 6527

This pattern is a very unique design from around 1936 and features some amazing and sought after design details including a rounded low-cut back neckline with halter or strap options, an interesting panel of shirring at the skirt resting just over the pelvis (not sure I would want to draw attention there myself but it looks nice in the illustration), and an eye-catching gathered center-front bodice. And then of course there is the lovely and diminutive capelet that looks like it attaches at the shoulders and gives a bit more modest options for shoulder coverage. Having the pattern in a very friendly size 38" bust is also a big factor.

It's fun to take a look at the envelope back when you can to see how the pattern was drafted and assembled... you know, if you're a pattern geek like I am...

If you wanted to draft up your own pattern like this and didn't have a lot of time, you could always use Depew #4235 as a starting point and make a few adaptations from there.

1940’s Evening Gown #4235A (1947)

How about you? Do you think that the pattern was worth over $350 or would you rather pay that for a finished gown?

Happy sewing,


  1. I so enjoy your choice of patterns. I am now getting ready to make an Evening gown and this post has inspired me to remember that they are still worn! Have fun with your site, I know I do...~Terrie~

  2. Wow, I can't imagine ever paying that much. Though it is a lovely gown.

  3. That is too expensive for my pocket book for a pattern! By the time you bought the fabric and notions etc. You better like the finished product in the end! Do people actually use their patterns or do they just collect? Wonder what the measurements are for a size 20 pattern in 1936? Finished gown please!

  4. Hi Anna! Too expensive a pattern for me. I think this pattern or dress would look good on an exceptionally thin person. I don't think it would look flattering on me. Your 1940's evening dress pattern; however, might look good on someone of my size. It seems to me the rouching or gathering on the sides would seem slimming. Thanks for posting! Kathy G. of Arizona

  5. Beautiful. I too would nix the shirring over the pelvis - perhaps pleating the skirt, or turning the fullness into a full-length godet. I'd make the shoulder-cape view, I think; halters don't look so great on me.
    No, I couldn't possibly pay that much for a pattern; I'd have a hard time paying that much for the finished dress! Altho I suppose that's because I've never bought hand-tailored clothes.

  6. I love looking at the pattern pieces too, so I must be a pattern geek as well! It actually looks much less complicated than you'd think which is so typical of 1930s patterns. It allows us home sewers to produce really unusual garments quite easily, and I'm sure the 1930s housewife appreciated it too. Not sure I'd fork out that kind of money for it though!

  7. Hello again Anna! There is a back-story about this evening gown pattern, in that it was listed on ebay a couple of weeks earlier, and at that time sold for $74, having been bought by an ebay seller that flips patterns:

    I had it in my watch list that first appearance, and also noted it only gathered a handful of watchers on Collector's Weekly, unlike the second time around.

    Must have been the wording choices in the title, combined with the ending time, that contributed to it being "Sew Expensive":

    1st time: "1930's Original Vintage Evening Gown Sewing Pattern, Bust 38" / ended 11.41am


    2nd time: "1930's Vintage Draped Open Back Evening Gown Butterick Sewing Pattern #6527" / ended 11.13pm

  8. I personally wouldn't buy a pattern for that much money, but I do love vintage patterns.