Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Walk Away Dress and Its Descendents

By PrettyPatternShop

America after World War II was the land of Peace and Prosperity. It was a time of optimism and celebration. The drudgery of rationing, the misery of the Great Depression, these things were all fading memories and we lived in a land of atomic energy where anything was possible. We no longer wanted to be stuck slaving at our tasks just to provide the basic necessities. And women didn’t want to spend hours over their sewing, not when there were so many other things to do!

And so began the new era of easy to make, easy to wear, easy on the eye fashion. One of the most memorable and notable styles to emerge from that time was the Walk Away Dress, released by Butterick in 1952. “Cut it out at 9:00, wear it out at noon,” was the slogan. In other words, a project you could walk away from three hours later with a seriously cute finished dress.
It was enormously popular and saw a second printing:
60s Vintage Walk Away Dress pattern Butterick 7500 Sze 16 Bust 36 UNCUT FF
And let’s not forget its cousins:
The clever wraparound style would endure for decades, changing very little in basic construction,

Butterick 5368 The Easy Whirl Away Dress
60s Version source
Vintage 70's Jiffy Whirl Away Style Wrap Dress Sewing Pattern Simplicity 7707--Bust 32.5
70s Wrap Around Style
Gertie's Post on the Modern Version

And then the Walk Away was rereleased in 2006 as part of Butterick’s Retro line:
1950s Wrap Dress Pattern Butterick 4790 (Womens sizes 16-18-20-22)

This dress endures in popularity, inspiring sew-alongs, tutorials and reviews.

Make it quick, make it easy, make it cute!


  1. I have the walk away dress pattern but I really like the "whirl away dress" so cute!!

  2. Those dresses look so easy to make. How many of you have actually made one of these dresses? All I'll I've even seen is wrap-around skirts. Very nice article Robin!

  3. I have had that vogue pattern. But that Butterick with the back button detail is so lovely! Wonderful post.

  4. Wow! Lovely dresses and great blog post!

  5. I've always loved these types of dresses and its great to see all the different patterns they've come up with over the years.

    Thanks for sharing this :+)

  6. I've always wondered, do they actually look any good? Did anyone's mum/grandma have one? I'd love some real historical firsthand experiences.
    I read the Edelweiss review of it a long time ago, and I recall she had to make a lot of adjustments to get it looking as good as the pattern illustration.
    I do love the sheath version! One day I might get around to trying one...