Butterick 2553 – Girl’s Variety Dress. A.K.A “The Robot Dress”…

November 20, 2011 in 1950's, Sewing, Vintage Fashion, Vintage Patterns

…A.K.A known as the “It’s Time To Dance! Dress”.

Besides Fraggle Rock, Lily’s other favourite show is Yo Gabba Gabba! She loves dancing to the music and knows nearly all the Dancy Dances off by heart and randomly breaks out into one of them at odd times. Not complaining. It’s a catchy show that makes you wanna dance!

Anyhow, my husband discovered they were coming our way for a concert and we thought it would be fun to take Lily along. We were either going to have a great time OR Lily was going to insist on us putting Fraggle Rock on instead and get upset.

I was originally going to make Lily a dress in the style they wear on the show – but after some thought, I just wasn’t feeling it. Then I remembered I had one precious yard of robot fabric in my stash and a lightbulb went off!

I purchased this fabric from Weelife shortly before Lily was born to make her a dress. I decided I wanted to wait until she was walking and not growing out of her clothing every other day before using it. I also had trouble finding the right dress pattern as I wanted a juxtaposition of a traditional girly dress with unexpected fabric. Finally, inspiration hit me once I started collecting vintage patterns and I felt a 1950′s silhouette would be perfect!

Out of all my patterns, Butterick 2553 was the most simple base pattern which would allow me to build upon it. I drafted a Peter Pan collar and a bodice inset right off the bat, and before I attached the sleeves, I felt they would benefit with white cuffs to match, so I drafted those as well. It’s been a very long time since I’ve drafted anything – so it’s all a little rusty, but I think it turned out passable. Oh, I also had to draft facing for the neck, as the pattern initially used bias binding for the neck and sleeves.

I’m not sure how I managed to squeeze this dress out of a yard, but I did! I was literally left with itty bitty scraps at the end. As for the white fabric – it turns out that while I have an embarrassingly huge fabric stash, I have no white cotton. I didn’t even have a white cotton shirt to cut up. Nor did my husband. I resorted to cutting up an old IKEA sheet I purchased years ago to use as a drop-cloth while dressing in kimono. For being a sheet, it was a rather rough and open weave fabric and at first I wasn’t particularly happy with it – but with the dress together as a whole, the texture actually worked really well.

Initially I was going to go with turquoise for an accent colour on the white, but then I spied the tiny red lights on the robots and decided to go in that direction. Luckily for me, I had a number of vintage red buttons absolutely perfect for the dress – two flower/cog like ones for the front, and then lovely round ones for the sleeves and back. I then used bias binding and the shell tuck stitch to create the trim. I also had the perfect vintage belt buckle to finish off the ensemble!

While the dress is far from perfect, I have to admit that I’m really proud as it turned out exactly as I envisioned. Most importantly, I finished it with an hour spare, just in time for Lily to wear it to the concert!


And here’s Lily (with Muno and Plex) showing off her dress after the concert!

Butterick 2553 – Girl’s Variety Dress. A.K.A “The Robot Dress”…


    1. little betty says:

      I love it!! and the little one is adorable too :)

    2. Justine says:

      You are so talented! That is probably the cutest toddler dress I have seen in ages! And so cool for a Gabba gabba concert. My 2 year old would be so jealous! I also have a Lily,who is 8. I am definitely going to feature this dress in next weeks post if its OK with you. Tell me, did you use your machine to make the blanket stitch or did you sew it by hand?
      Justine @ Sew Country Chick

      • Naomi says:

        Thank you so much! High praise coming from you! <3 Please do feel free to feature – I'm flattered you think it's good enough!

        As for the shell stitching, I used the machine. As much as I do enjoy the odd bit of hand sewing, I don't have enough patience to do all that trim by hand! Haha!

    3. jackie says:

      Words cannot describe how ‘gushy’ this makes me feel. You did an incredible job and your daughter is SO darn cute, and I am so proud that you used my fabric! I posted about it just now … http://living.weelife.com/2011/11/robot-dress.html
      Thank you for sharing your talents!

    4. you and mie says:

      SOOO impressive, Naomi.

    5. tokeberry says:

      This came out great! Cute mom & baby pair.

    6. Steph says:

      Oh! Wow! This is such a gorgeous little dress, I love your attention to detail! It’s so cute, but doesn’t get in the way of your girlie’s cuteness if you know what I mean. Wow. Well done indeed.

      Now I want to go sew for my little girl from some vintage patterns…

    7. That is just utterly adorable! I love the non-conventional fabric, the red and grey, the shell-stitching, the buttons. Every detail is perfect. What a lucky little girl!

    8. Savannah says:

      So how did you guess the right size for the little collar? Have a different pattern?

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Butterick 2553 – Girl’s Variety Dress. A.K.A “The Robot Dress”…

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