THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

July 11, 2009

Sewing Economics: Butterick 5333 Lifestyle Wardrobe

Filed under: Fabric,Fit/Pattern Alterations,Mary Beth,Pattern Reviews,sewing — Mary Beth @ 1:31 pm

I’m watching every penny these days so I wanted to know how it would be to make a wardrobe from one pattern such as Butterick 5333.

Can a wardrobe be made from 10 yards of fabric, one pattern and cost less than $100 including buttons, interfacing and linings? I think the answer is Yes.

Another, more personal, question I wanted to answer: Could I be happy with just one pattern? Naw, not me. I frankly don’t see an end to my pattern addiction. But that is, as they say, a personal problem 🙂

However, given my self-imposed parameters, it was fun to work out all the kinks and have the results work so well with the rest of my wardrobe. This is functional sewing with rich results if you can make the alterations your shape requires to achieve a well fitted garment. The more I worked with the pattern and became familiar with the Butterick sloper the better I liked my results. Had I not known how to alter, I would have been quite disappointed with the results and might have given up on economy sewing, or sewing, all together.

To begin at the beginning: Butterick 5333 Lifestyle Wardrobe


Unlined jacket has princess seams and three-quarter length sleeves with cuffs.
Top and above mid-knee length dress have self-lined upper and midriff front and back.
Straight skirt, above mid-knee length, has waistband, darted front and back, back zipper.
Pants have front pleats, back darts, mock fly zipper, side seam pockets and waistband.

My results without making a muslin first. Yes, I am hiding my face…you don’t want to know, and no, I wasn’t in a fight, LOL!


(I added the buttons on the sleeve cuff as my only embellishment)

The photos have been greatly enhanced so you can see details and wrinkles of the dark navy jacket, pants and skirt. All these pieces are made from 5 yards of the darkest navy silk/lycra summer weight suiting. It was part of a $8.50 per yard bundle from Micheal’s Fabrics.

The fabric has a formal, vintage feel. There are jacquard stripes running in varying widths down the length of the fabric but it doesn’t really “read” as a pin stripe since it is so dark in color. While the lycra gives it some body it also wrinkles easily. I’ve never worked with a fabric quite like this one.

I made up the pants first with major alterations to the crotch curve and back leg width. Here’s the finished hip information and having made the pants I can say that the hip measurements do include the pleat width.


These finished garment measurements are posted at each major figure measurement circle with a cross. Very helpful! You can compare it to the measurements for each size to determine the ease. However, that is not the total solution it seems to be as my measurements most closely match size 20 but that proved to be too big even figuring in the ease.

I made the navy jacket in size 20 with no alterations. It is easy to see (as I saw after I’d finished) that this fabric really needed to be underlined and lined so it would have enough body to support all the extra ease. I think it is too big but the dark color and shoulder pads allow me to get away the fuller fit. The sleeves, however, are a mess! As I worked through construction and fitting I had to continue to down size until the white jacket, my last piece, is a 16 through the bodice, flaring out to an 18+ at the hemline.

The skirt also had to be altered to fit but I like the pattern because from the front view it is a narrow skirt but has enough flare in the back that a kick pleat is not needed. It was underlined with organza. It is what I would call a “traditional suit skirt” with plenty of ease for sitting.

I then did the dress pattern, the tropical print in silk faille and the aqua one in linen. I ended the tour with another version of the jacket in a white cotton canvas, shown here with a dress from last summer. I didn’t fancy the empire style for a top so I didn’t sew up that option.

The finished measurements information turned out to be the best gauge of how the garment would fit when completed.

Things to think about and alter for if you are going to make up this wardrobe:

the sloper used

1. has a well developed derriere with much of the hip width low and to the back of the body.
2. the skirt and dress length is very short
3. the sleeves of the jacket are very long
4. 4″ ease has been added to the finished jacket width
5. the width of the pant leg falls from the thigh, slightly narrowing to the hemline
6. the front pleats on the pants may need to be moved to produce a front pleat that continues on down with the pressed crease to the hem.
7. Major shaping on the sleeve pattern may be needed to produce a well fitted sleeve

I chose to have the pleats open to the side seam. The instructions tell you to choose which way they open.


Pattern alterations made for sleeve of white jacket.

Sleeve Marked

The most economically satisfying part of this exercise? The navy pieces fill a big gap in my wardrobe. The value of having basic pieces in your wardrobe is difficult to monetize.


You can see larger pictures of each piece in the Butterick 5333 set at Flikr.

Your can also see larger pictures of each ensemble in the Mix N Match set at Flikr.


  1. Oooooo! As always, a wonderful job. And I LOVE the dress on you especially!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — July 11, 2009 @ 2:39 pm

  2. Nice tour of the wardrobing possibilities of this pattern. I really like the way it fits in with what you already have in the closet, even more than the pattern elements together by themselves.

    Comment by georgene — July 11, 2009 @ 3:17 pm

  3. I am so impressed!!! I love it.

    Comment by Rachel — July 11, 2009 @ 4:06 pm

  4. More than ever you’ve encouraged me to try sewing a wardrobe from one pattern. I have to admit that I’ve toured your flickr photos at various times during the process so I’m happy to see the final finished garments fit you so well! Thank you for this post…it was very helpful!

    Comment by Carolyn — July 11, 2009 @ 4:31 pm

  5. So great to see all the possibilities for the wardrobe – thanks for sharing!

    Comment by Shannon — July 11, 2009 @ 5:14 pm

  6. Wow, what a great wardrobe you have sewn yourself.

    Comment by Lori — July 11, 2009 @ 5:18 pm

  7. You did a great job with this pattern, the possibilities are endless with your already existed wardrobe.From business towards informal dressing.

    Comment by Els — July 11, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

  8. What an excellent idea! Your pieces are intelligent, versatile choices. Well done.

    Comment by Dei — July 11, 2009 @ 7:46 pm

  9. WOW…..this is a great post and I must admit I have never thought of sewing a wardrobe all from one pattern, but I must say I love the idea. Your wardrobe looks beautiful. I love all your garments.
    When I move in and start sewing again I’ll keep this in mind 🙂 I love the idea and have several wardrobe patterns.

    Comment by Ann's Fashion Studio — July 11, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

  10. I love this post because, ever since I started sewing, I have always wondered what it would be like to sew a real wardrobe from a “wardrobe” pattern. And I wondered if it would even produce a wearable wardrobe. I love your wardrobe– it’s very inspiring to see how it all works together and with other pieces.

    Comment by Betty — July 11, 2009 @ 9:04 pm

  11. Mary Beth, great looking wardrobe. I admire your ability to stick to using the one pattern. Great job!

    Comment by Linda L — July 11, 2009 @ 9:31 pm

  12. I’m impressed with how well the pants fit. All the pieces are beautiful.

    Comment by Deborah — July 12, 2009 @ 3:33 am

  13. Wow, I am so impressed! You’ve ended up with a really wonderful wardrobe. I especially love the shape of the jacket and the dress – the dress is fabulous!

    Comment by Gigi — July 12, 2009 @ 7:25 am

  14. The wardrobe came out so nice! I love the way it fits in with other pieces too. You’ve given me some ideas for my own fall sewing.

    Comment by Sherril Miller — July 12, 2009 @ 11:07 am

  15. What a smart wardrobe. I love the one button jacket with the 3/4 sleeves. Also the one button jacket with the long sleeves – they are simple and elegant and work in just about any fabric. Also the no button jacket with the 4 pockets – very nice detail. All the fabrics combine so well and offer lots of versatility – Great job, a real pleasure.

    Comment by Janie Dearborn Mason — July 12, 2009 @ 11:21 am

  16. I make almost all of my own patterns so that I dont have too many fitting problems BUT i am inspired by your post to try to organise my sewing ‘wardrobe’style so that I co-ordinate better.
    Great idea.

    Comment by Kim — July 12, 2009 @ 11:23 am

  17. Fabulous post. You’ve given me the courage to finish my shorter jacket–I’ve been calling it the jacket from hell, but still push on. I’m a shorter size 20 (5′ 3″) and so it’s harder to envision the correct proportions in different patterns. I liked that you posted pictures–very helpful! After reading, I obviously need to do a better job of coordinating my wardrobe. Thanks so much.

    Comment by Elizabeth — July 12, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  18. Inspiring. My favorites are the white jacket and aqua dress. I can picture those two pieces together. You proved my point. I just finished telling my sister today that when you sew you wind up with better looking clothing at a better price. A wardrobe for $100. Fantastic challenge!

    Comment by Mpressive Threadz — July 12, 2009 @ 2:59 pm

  19. Outstanding post, Marybeth. This is the kind of sewing I should be doing. I really need a more cohesive wardrobe.

    Comment by Cindy — July 12, 2009 @ 3:45 pm

  20. Very impressive. Wonderful wardrobe.

    Comment by Maja — July 12, 2009 @ 4:09 pm

  21. Mary Beth….one word….WOW !

    Comment by Pam ~ Off The Cuff ~ — July 12, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

  22. Great wardrobe!! They fits really well!! Thumbs up to the basic colors, they do wonders…

    Comment by Diana — July 13, 2009 @ 2:53 am

  23. You did an outstanding job, Mary Beth!

    Comment by Tany — July 13, 2009 @ 4:56 am

  24. Great looking wardrobe and a real inspiration. Once I steel myself to finish sorting through my closets and determine what I have and what I need, something like a wardrobe pattern would be a great way to go. Your results are fabulous and I love how they work with your existing pieces.

    Comment by Mardel — July 13, 2009 @ 7:14 am

  25. I am very impressed. You look lovely for a hundred bucks. Last shirt I bought was 189 euro!

    Comment by Judith in Umbria — July 13, 2009 @ 1:29 pm

  26. Excellent – it really works well with both the old and new pieces. I really like that coral/red print dress and the white jacket combo!

    Comment by Summerset — July 13, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  27. MB, which pattern did you use for the blue and white jacket? The collar seems to be a bit more rounded and I love the little pocket flaps! The entire mix and match idea is brillant, and I just bought this pattern at the Joanns sales last week. I think it is really cute and now that I see it made up, I know I made a good choice. I can only hope that my little mini-wardrobe turns out as nicely as yours!

    Comment by Debbie F — July 15, 2009 @ 1:37 pm

    • Debbie, I reviewed the Hot Patterns Martini jacket at The Stitchery last July along with the Shannon Gifford Stitch N Flip class at PatternReview.

      Comment by Mary Beth — July 15, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  28. Mary Beth – I’d like an invitation to come sew with you for a week, please, to see if some of your inspiration and fitting would rub off on me. Or if not to sew, just to sit and soak up your sewing room ambiance? Ahhhh….creativity herself…

    Comment by Annie — July 19, 2009 @ 9:27 am

  29. Hi Mary Beth! I made the skirt, top and jacket. My experience with this pattern set was fraught with frustration because of fitting issues. I’ve been finishing the jacket for, oh, let’s just say a WHILE (my dressform is keeping it safe), plus trying to figure out what I need to do to resew the top and make it wearable. Last, the skirt is all messed up but it is my fault entirely. I learned a lot on this one, will post full reviews. Thanks goes to you for inspiration!

    Comment by Leora — September 19, 2009 @ 10:28 pm

    • Leora: Please let us know here when you have done your review of this pattern?

      I just found the thread at PatternReview where the aspects of the Perfect Fit system (in particular the Perfect Fit part of this pattern)were being discussed but no one has produced anything yet. Message Board > Patterns and Notions > Perfect Fit patterns

      Comment by Mary Beth — October 7, 2009 @ 7:25 am

  30. Thank you so much for sharing! I’ve looked at this pattern and wondered how it would look on someone like me (not as tall and willowy as models — much shorter and “curvier”!). These all look very flattering — proportioned just right for you.

    I just may have to go try this one!

    Comment by Ginger — November 24, 2010 @ 9:46 am

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