style and fabric inspiration: lisette B6168 dress

Butterick knows how to pick a pattern for their catalog cover, don’t they? The new Lisette B6168 dress is clearly your favorite pattern from the latest Lisette collection. And with good reason. It’s a versatile surplice-style dress that can be sewn for everyday wear as well as for fancy occasions. And of course it has that figure-flattering fit-and-flare silhouette, which is always a popular choice for virtually any body shape and size. I’m excited to sew this dress for myself, and I have the perfect fabric for it!


Lisette for Butterick


I promised a sew-along for this style, and we’ll announce the sew-along schedule for the new patterns soon. I also promise that I’ll cover full bust and small bust adjustments for this style since so many of you have expressed concern about getting a good fit. (Don’t worry. It’s really easy.)




Now, what fabrics and styling choices would work for this pattern? Here are a few suggestions from my Lisette Pinterest board.



  1. This print is an interesting combination of vintage and contemporary styles. It works well with this dress style, I think. And by the way, it would be easy to add fullness to this skirt if you’re so inclined.
  2. If you can’t pass up those cute printed cottons, don’t worry because they’ll work great for this style. Summer sundress, anyone?
  3. Red silk dupioni. The nubby texture keeps the dress interesting, and the sheen of the silk give it a little glam sparkle for special occasions.
  4. Ignore the messy draping on this dress. I’m loving the red print, which would work so nicely for this pattern.
  5. Pink faille. Wedding party. Or even non-traditional bride. In the right color, this dress could easily transition to date-night dress without blinking an eye. And in black faille it could be the most elegant little black dress ever.
  6. When I saw this photo from a distance I got all excited because I thought the fabric was a men’s cotton shirting. It’s not, but we can pretend, right? (The polka dots in this photo are cute, too–don’t get me wrong. I just wanted a nice yarn-dye check, which would be so elegant for summer.)
  7. Don’t be afraid to try this dress in printed cottons. Sateen, lightweight canvas, and even quilting cottons will work if you’re looking for an everyday dress. Throw on a cardigan or a short blazer for instant layering style.
  8. In white or creme-colored silk. Very pretty and fancy!
  9. I don’t know what happened to the fit of this dress, but if you can look past it to the color, fabric, and styling you may find some inspiration. The gold sandals are a nice touch, aren’t they? I love this shade of green, and the styling would be great for a wedding.




  1. Another dressy version, this time in a pretty yellow. Yellow is having a big fashion moment right now, have you noticed? In general I prefer to wear it as more of an accent color, but for a dressy dress, it’s really very pretty!
  2. If you find just the right special-occasion sateen floral you can sew something magical like this dress, which has a little mystery and lots of elegance. Again, wedding, date night, party dress, this dress can be worn for lots of fancy occasions.
  3. A pretty neutral-ground floral can result in a versatile dress. Wear it with bright or rich-colored solids for a variety of looks. A plum- or navy-colored velvet jacket would be an interesting texture addition to an outfit, wouldn’t it? I think it would be fun for spring.
  4. White cotton. Summer. Perfect together.
  5. This print reminds me of a still-life painting I fell in love with in our Madrid hotel last summer. Digital prints can include a photographic level of detail, and I’m starting to see them in the fabric stores every once in a while these days. (This dress was a digital print.)
  6. This abstract indigo print could be worn all spring and summer so easily, couldn’t it? Use accessories to change up the style from day to day and it will be extremely versatile.
  7. Proof that even a crazy conversational print can work for a dress pattern like this. Be fearless, my friends!
  8. This boho-inspired dress could be inspiration for a maxi-dress version of the pattern if you’re so inclined.
  9. If you can’t pass up a fun cotton print, here’s your chance to wear it yourself!

There are additional images on my Lisette board if you want even more ideas.

Now, one last photo before I go. A few of you were unhappy with me last week for not showing more diverse body types in these photo mosaics, especially when I claim that these styles will work well in a variety of sizes and proportions. I promise that I do look for different images when I’m writing these posts, but I’m sure you understand that most fashion photos feature only one type of person–very slim, very young, very white models. A project I have in the works will help in this regard, so I ask for your patience. But I do like this photo, which I just came across and which shows a similar silhouette to B6168.




And the dress is even orange, so it looks especially similar to the original dress photo! (Cute shoes, too, right?)

Stay tuned for the sew-along. And in the meantime, which fabrics are you considering? I’ll show you my choice soon.


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  1. sharon k

    This is my favorite of all your new patterns I cannot wait to sew one up! So many fabrics look great for this dress, it will be a hard choice.

  2. Laura

    Could you make this dress without that tab across the front like all the dresses you’ve featured? I love the shape and would like to give it a try.

  3. Leah

    So inspiring! I think I will even do the sewalong…

  4. I am looking forward to this sew along! I have some fabric I was hoping to use for this pattern but it is more drapey than what you suggest here. From the description, it is similar to this silk-linen me woven at mood: It has a nice light-to-medium weight but the structure is more like a soft linen than a poplin or dupioni silk. Do you think it would support the pleats in the bodice well enough? The gathers in the skirt seem perfectly suited. I am glad this is not a really full skirt, both for the amount of fabric it requires and for the style which seems very flattering but also practical. Thank you for including the model in the orange dress to show more variety in body shapes!

    1. Laura, you could absolutely make it without the tab. You’ll want a little interfacing or even boning to hold the corners depending on your fabric choices, but you could absolutely do it.

      And Addie, drapier fabrics will be fine! I think it will be really pretty.

  5. Mindy

    I’d also be interested to hear if the dress could be altered to omit the tab and the cutout it creates at the neck. I LOVE the dress other than that feature. I’m not a fan of any type of keyhole or cutout neckline and don’t feel it flatters smaller busts. I love the red silk dupioni! That would be an amazing holiday party dress.

  6. Thanks Liesl. This fabric is a really pretty dusty sea green that will be perfect for dressy summer events. I can’t wait!

  7. Tamara

    I’d love to be able to adapt this dress to allow for nursing. I think it could be done. It is my favourite. And thankyou for showing the last photo of the orange dress. I know it will look good on me now (not that I didn’t before).

  8. Amy

    Thanks so much for promising to help with the FBA! I greatly appreciate it, and can’t wait to make. I have some lovely magenta rayon . . . or maybe some of the Kaufman radiance fabric would be nice . . . .

  9. Do the sizes on these patterns run extremely small? I generally wear a 12, but based on these measurements I’d be making somwhere between a 20 and 22, which seems ridiculous…

    1. Stacy, the sizes on the Lisette patterns are the same traditional sizing as all the large pattern companies: Butterick, McCalls, Vogue, and Simplicity. These sizes are very different from contemporary vanity sizing, so they won’t correspond to the sizes you wear in a clothing store. Don’t let it throw you, however! I’ll talk more about finding your size very soon.

  10. Danielle

    Instead of getting rid of the tab at the front would it be possible to fill it in somehow? I like the higher neckline with the tab but don’t love cut outs on me.

  11. Thank you Liesl!

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