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Friday Finishes

Friday Finishes

Despite the shoulders of the yoke not matching.

Pattern pieces of Butterick pattern # 6838 don't match

Despite me not noticing that until the fabric was already cut out and I was attempting to pin them together.  Despite having to trim the back yoke piece down so that it would work.

Then despite the fact that when I got the yoke sewed to the skirt/body of the nightgown and tried it on, I found myself swimming in fabric because it was way too big.  Despite having to take in 16″ of fabric along the sides.  Yes, you read that right.  I ended up taking in 4 inches on each side for a total of 16″ at the bottom, tapering up gradually to the arm holes.   (I couldn’t take in that much through the bust area without having to unpick everything and start from scratch.)

And despite the fact that it is still way too big through the bust area… I am calling the nightgown finished.

Finished nightgownI don’t usually write bad reviews on my blog but Butterick pattern 6838 is one that I couldn’t in all honesty or good conscience recommend to anyone.  Never in 40 plus years of sewing have I encountered so many problems sewing a piece of clothing.

In addition to the problem with the yoke pattern pieces and it being way too big, the instructions for constructing the nightgown were needlessly complicated.  Never in those 40 plus years mentioned have I given up and thrown a project in the garbage, but I came very close with this one.  Had I been someone new to sewing or someone not quite so stubborn, I could see myself being disillusioned with the whole process.

I chose the pattern because I like the look of the nightgown as it’s pictured on the pattern envelope.

Pattern and fabric for a new night gown

I intend to redesign and resize each pattern piece until I get a nightgown that looks like this and that fits properly.

But in the future, I will be steering clear of Butterick patterns.


Now for something that did work this week.   Our middle daughter has been experiencing some problems with upset stomach lately so Dave and I have been making and pressure canning homemade chicken broth for her.

Here’s the results of two canning sessions:

Pints jars of homemade chicken broth

Today, we made turkey broth and will pressure can that tomorrow.

She can take some of each kind of broth home with her and the rest will go down to the cold storage room for future use.

Click on the links below for instructions on:

How to Make Homemade Stock/Broth

How to Pressure Can Homemade Stock/Broth




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  • Susan
    August 23, 2015 12:03 am

    It’s pretty fabric, and it will definitely be great for summer nights, even if it isn’t exactly what you pictured. I know you will get it figured out! I haven’t sewn clothes in a long time, (good Lord willing, I won’t have to, either!) but what I remember was Simplicity first, McCall’s second, and Butterick only in an emergency. =) Burda and some of the others, like Vogue, were always too much for my pocketbook.

  • Rebecca
    August 22, 2015 4:08 pm

    After years of making smocked dresses for my girls, I came across a beautiful smocked winter nightgown pattern for me. I made it up with lots of hand embroidery etc. I have barely worn it. It had way too much material in the front and back so if you wear it, you can barely turn over in bed. You’ve got to lift yourself up, grab the nightgown and then turn. Otherwise you end up a tangled mess. As beautiful as the pattern was, I don’t think the designer had ever worn it in bed. My girls are big now but one day I might remodel it as a winter’s dress for a young girl. I don’t want to waste all that handwork.

  • Renee
    August 22, 2015 11:49 am

    What an unforgettable sewing experience! Ugh. In spite of being a bit big, I hope the nightgown is at least comfortable. (While doing a quilt shop hop, I found an adorable tote bag for sale. The shop owner said they had so many comments about these totes that they asked the lady that makes them to make a pattern. I spent $9 on that pattern (more than I normally would because I loved the bag) and I have yet to attempt making it because even the cutting instructions for the fabric are not clear. Some of the sewing instructions are even less so. It will be quite the project when I take it on…)

    I do hope your daughter’s stomach issues clear up soon! (Ironically, my plans for today included making beef, chicken and veggie broth to freeze. I sat down to read a couple of blog posts before getting started.)

  • Gretchen
    August 22, 2015 10:23 am

    I am SO glad I am not the only one with this problem. I don’t even try to sew clothing any more. I am a little chunky – in store-bought I wear an XL or 1X. So people tell me to use my measurements to find the proper size pattern. That leads me to a 3X or 4X pattern. When I make that up, surprise! Enormous! I think your nightgown looks great – a little extra room in the top will just make it comfortable for sleeping. It is just a shame you had to buy too much material and spend so much time on what should have been a simple project. I will just stick to placemats and pillowcases now. Now on the other topic, the broth looks great!

  • Mary
    August 22, 2015 9:14 am

    I love the fabric you selected for the nightgown. I hope you can get it adjusted to work for you.

    The broth looks fantastic. I’m glad that was a success for you.

  • Maria
    August 22, 2015 8:11 am

    How annoying to have to do sew much readjusting …I knew there was a reason I BUY my nighties….. Must say the nightie still looks good and it’s nice to have a roomy nightie…..

  • Gretchen
    August 22, 2015 7:59 am

    I came to dislike Butterick patterns way back when I was in high school, 45 years ago. I had problems with several patterns from them and haven’t used them since. I’ve told my daughter and dil’s to stay away from them. Hope your daughter feels better soon.

  • Christine B.
    August 22, 2015 6:24 am

    So sorry you had such a lot of trouble with your nightgown and I hope that you will be able to use it! Have a lovely weekend! Christine x

  • Rachel
    August 22, 2015 5:36 am

    Well, I’m glad it’s finished. I hope you won’t hate wearing it as well!

  • Linda
    August 22, 2015 4:49 am

    Just a comment Susan. Isn’t it common that the back shoulder seam has to be “eased” into the front shoulder seam? There is usually curve in the shoulder – none of us is built straight. That’s what it looks like to me. I taught a 4-H project last year to 29 4-Hers – how to sew and they made pj pants. My favourite saying to them was “your backside – like everyone else’s – is bigger than your front side” 🙂

    Having said that – in these days of multi-sized patterns it is surprising that more errors are not made. You have to really know how to put garments together. Unless it is a very involved pattern I don’t usually follow the directions to a “T”. Most I put together the way I like best – back pieces, front pieces, insert sleeve then sew side seams – hem.
    I like Butterick, Simplicity and McCalls. Vogue now … that is different. I think I even have that pattern and have used it successfully.

    • Super Mom No Cape
      August 22, 2015 10:10 am

      Hello Linda,

      I replied via e-mail but I thought I’d reply here too.

      Actually that’s what I thought at first too… that the back shoulder seam just needed to be eased into the front shoulder seam and that part of the instructions had simply been omitted. But when I tried to do that, I quickly realized that in order for it to fit, I would have had to gather rather than ease that section of the back shoulder piece in order for it to fit in the space allotted and that would not have made for a nice smooth shoulder. So I contacted the pattern company and this is the reply I received.

      “Thank you for your email concerning Butterick Patterns….
      Yes, I do see that the grade is off at the shoulder. I apologize for this discrepancy. As this was just reported, I don’t have a corrected piece, but I think you should be able to trim the difference so you can continue on with the garment. Once I have a corrected piece, I can send you the piece.”

      I had not sent the above photo, so she would have had to check their copy of the pattern in order to see that the grade was off.

      Not only did I have to trim the difference, in order for the back to look like it should, I had to adjust the curve of the back armhole as well. For someone with my sewing experience this only took a bit of thinking about the best way to go about it and then to make the adjustment. But this pattern was rated as easy… which according to their site means it is for someone with limited sewing knowledge. I can only imagine how much more frustrating this would have been for someone who is doesn’t have my years of sewing.

      This is one area where I think the large pattern companies could draw from that of many of the small independent pattern designers. Many of independent pattern designers have each of their pattern sizes tested by home sewists before they put them up for sale. Most of the problems that I encountered with this pattern would have come to light had Butterick done the same.

      • Christen
        April 22, 2017 9:34 am

        Susan, did they ever send a corrected pattern piece to you? I want to give this pattern a shot, even having read all the frustrated reviews…

        • Super Mom No Cape
          April 24, 2017 2:23 pm

          Hello Christen,

          No they never did send me a corrected piece. I sent you an email with some suggestions for adjustments to make to the pattern.

  • GeminiJen NZ
    August 22, 2015 2:12 am

    So frustrating! I do like what you have made though – you are making me think I need to get into making my own clothes again (but will avoid that pattern maybe!)

  • Paula
    August 22, 2015 12:03 am

    I’m so sorry you had all that trouble with your Butterick pattern. I’ve been sewing for 40+ years as well. I’ve sewn many different types of clothing from doll, child, youth, adult male, to adult female. I can tell you that these things happen with every pattern company. You’ll find drastic size differences from one pattern to the next, as well as confusing instructions.
    I just finished a top using a Butterick pattern and I love the finished product. The construction was easy and the instructions were very clear. Don’t give up on Butterick and good luck remaking your pattern.

  • Lori Smanski
    August 21, 2015 10:50 pm

    I have the same problems with Simplicity. they are definitely not simple. I got a Simplicity pattern for a civil war dress pattern that happened to go out of date 10 years ago. This thing took me almost 5 months to make just because I had so many troubles reading the pattern not to mention that the pieces just did not fit properly together. Argghhh. But with the help of my husband and a friend we did it.

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