You are currently viewing LITTLE BLACK DRESS – BUTTERICK 5947


Every woman needs a Little Black Dress in her closet, unless you don’t wear dresses. Believe it or not, I haven’t had one in my closet for a few years. I gave the last one away and I just haven’t taken the time to make another until now.


Most of you are already aware that my husband died last year of brain cancer. This year, his name was placed on two Memorial walls. I wanted to wear a basic black dress to both memorials and had originally planned on making two separate dresses. The memorials were one week apart and I never got a chance to make a second dress, so I decided to wear the same dress to both events.



I’ve had Butterick 5947 (Out of Print) in my pattern collection for a very long time. I sewed it about three or four weeks before the first memorial, but this dress wasn’t supposed to be for that occasion. I just wanted to add a black dress to my wardrobe at the time.

I used a black Double Knit that has been in my fabric collection for years. I purchased it from Michael Levine Fabrics in Downtown, Los Angeles. Before adding the buttons, I tried on the dress, and realized that the front flap was not going to stay closed neatly with the buttons. Therefore, I decided to sew the flap closed and eliminate the buttons. I love wearing brooches, and knew the adding this special accessory would give an elegant flair to the dress.


One week before the first memorial, I started working on what I thought would be the memorial dress. After trying it on, I knew it was NOT going to work—-it happens sometimes. I didn’t feel like starting on another dress and started looking through my closet. That’s when I remembered the Little Black Dress by Butterick 5947 and it was perfect. I was able to wear the same dress and style it with different accessories for the memorials.

Memorial #1 – The Casual Look


My husband’s name was added to the Memorial Wall of Fallen Fire Fighters in Colorado Springs by the International Association of Fire Fighters. The entire weekend was absolutely amazing. It was both beautiful and emotional. My sons and I were very well taken care of. I’m grateful to know that his memory will live on, not only in our hearts, but also with those he worked with.

Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)

I call this the casual look because of the shoes. We were encouraged not to wear high heels because the ceremony was held on the grass. I purchased a pair of low wedges for comfort but opted to wear my sandals instead because they were a perfect match for the hat I decided to wear. I don’t like sunburns or tan lines. Therefore, I wore my big floppy hat and had a pink cardigan to cover my shoulders.

Here are a few photos of the ceremony.

Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)
Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)
Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)
Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)
Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)

Memorial #2 – The Dressy Look

My husband’s name was also added to the Memorial Wall of Fallen Firefighters from the State of California. It was a more intimate ceremony in Sacramento, California and just as emotional and beautiful as the first. My sons didn’t attend this one but I was accompanied by a large group of supporters from our Los Angeles City Fire Department. Their support, love and care for me over that weekend just blew me away. They made sure I had everything I needed and escorted me everywhere. I was able to dine and chat with other fire widows at a lovely spouses luncheon. It was a special weekend that I’ll never forget.

Photo by Valerie Lawrence (Los Angeles Firemen’s Relief Association)

This time I opted for a more formal look. I wore the low wedges that I had purchased for Colorado and accessorized with my Audrey Hepburn hat (that’s what I call it) and short black gloves. My husband would have loved this and I felt rather regal.

Here are a few photos of the ceremony.

Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)
Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)
Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)
Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)
Photo by Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department)

Life is so precious. Live now! Enjoy everyday now! Do what makes you happy. Say no to that which doesn’t. Take time to see the beauty around you. Thank God for every day He gives you. You are blessed.


Here is a short video clip of the Sacramento Ceremony. I wept like a baby when I watched this. Seeing the Honor Guard carrying my husband’s flag in that parade just messed me up. He’s the first black man they keep showing in the parade with the flag. Video courtesy of Adam Van Gerpen (Los Angeles City Fire Department).

Thanks for stopping by!

Remember: When you live in your DESIGN, it is from there that God SHINES!

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Anita Morris

Anita is the Author of STEP Into It, Overcoming Trials That Lead To Purpose. She is also an Online Sewing Instructor for beginner sewists. She is passionate about helping women to step into their purpose by walking in the calling on their lives. She hosts a popular YouTube channel where she helps women to become confident in their sewing skills.

This Post Has 60 Comments

  1. Virginia Lyle

    I am so moved by this video. Having worked as the Executive Assistant to a Fire Chief in Florida for a number of years, I have been to this type of ceremony and have shed tears for members that I have known who have passed. I am now retired and sewing my dream but pray every day for the safety of the men and women of the fire service.

    I would like to quote one of my favorite verses, “The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace.”

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh my goodness! Thank you so much, Virginia. I have an incredible amount of respect for all fire service members. I love that verse. I recently wrote a book and closed the book with the same version. God’s blessings to you.

  2. Ramona

    That was one of the most moving ceremonies I’ve ever seen and you looked beautiful.

  3. Lois Horsley

    You are such a pleasure to watch. You have a beautiful smile and and excellent diction. Thank you for your informative videos. Well done.

  4. Kathie Jones

    This is the first time I have seen your page, and I can’t wait to check out the entire site and your videos.
    Your sewing is immaculate and both dresses and the styling is on point. Condolences for your loss, and my eyes have welled up as I read about the ceremonies, your emotions and looked the images. Your gorgeous, strong sons standing by your side made me feel so happy for you, and they have some beautiful genes they have inherited from both parents. <3
    Gorgeous, gorgeous outfits! Thank you for sharing your outfits and your heart with us as you walked through such a difficult, emotional and proud time.

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Kathie, thank you so much for this! You’ve put a smile on my heart with your message. I appreciate your kind words and love to hear that you’re enjoying my content.

  5. Tina Barber

    You are an absolutely beautiful person, I do know exactly what you mean when you say that you have begun sewing with a plan. You are a blessing to me for sure! Thank you so much for being you!

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh, thank you so much Tina! You’ve put a smile on my heart.

  6. Pauline White

    Thank you for sharing. I would hate to live through that ..your a lovely person ,and looking forward to sewing with you . I’m 77 and wanted to start sewing again. Found you

    1. Anita Morris

      I don’t wish it on anyone, Pauline. Welcome back to the sewing community.

  7. Adrian

    Thank you so much for allowing us a personal glimpse into your life. What a beautiful story, and the dress is amazing. I had a loved one die from glioblastoma multiforme, and it was hard. You are such an inspiration and ’shero’ to us all. Sending virtual hugs and kisses to you and your family.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much Adrian! I’m receiving those kisses and hugs sister.

  8. lynne laing

    Dear Anita
    Thank you for letting me into your life.
    Beautiful Video

  9. Shirley Scott

    Anita, I did not know about your husbands passing. Late condolences to you and your family. Your two sons look lovely and your photos with them are beautiful. Your dress is gorgeous. God bless you and thank you for sharing your story. x

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Shirley! Thank you so much for your kind words.

  10. Mimi Routh

    Thank you, Anita! You look beautiful in your dress with those pretty arms and those big handsome sons beside you! Thanks for the lovely music, too! I believe your husband did not go very far. Mine, gone 30 years, follows me into hardware stores and laughs at my questions. Yesterday I got home from a 60-year high school class reunion. Nearly 400 miles in a rented Nissan Sentra south to Bakersfield by 99 and back north by I-5. I get lost easily and had not seen my town in 19 years. I got lost in Sacramento! At last, starting north to go home, I prayed hard, feeling there must be a way to avoid Sacramento. I was guided where to turn off and was guided to a pretty town and a gorgeous drive to exactly where I needed to go. But I had to let go and pray really hard. It worked! And home looks so good! My gratitude is refreshed, and the Bernina awaits. Much love to you and your family!

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Mimi! I’m sorry your husband is no longer with you. So many things to adjust to. My husband drove us everywhere and I did NOT pay attention. So thank God for google maps. Hahaha!!! I’m glad you found your way to your destination. And yes, I know that feeling of returning home after trips. There’s no place like home, for sure.

  11. Lana Dean

    Antia I have been following you since the t-shirt project. I’m glad your hobby, sewing has kept you busy and doing the things you love. Thank God, for all the support you have received from your community and Fire Fighters your husband memories will live on and your sons favor your husband a lot. May God keep his loving arms around you and your sons.

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Lana! Oh my goodness, thank you so much for sticking around for so long. I appreciate your support. We are all so blessed. I appreciate you, sister.

  12. Stephanie5511

    Thank you for sharing your memories with the world. You and your family genuinely inspire me. Everyone looked fantastic on this special commemoration to Mr. Cecil.

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh, thank you so much Setphanie!

  13. Mamie Brockington

    Hi, Anita
    Thanks for sharing about you husband. And may the peace of God flood your heart as well as your family. As a believer in Jesus Christ, your husband was in your presence but now he is in your Future! You will see him again! Praise God! To be ABSENT from the body is to be present with the Lord! 2 Cor. 5,6. You are such a blessing to the sewing community specially to myself, Thank you!

    1. Anita Morris

      Ooohhh, Mamie! Thank you so much for blessing my heart! Yes, he is in my future. I will see him again. God bless you my beautiful sister.

  14. maureen

    I’m so sorry about the loss of your husband. He obviously left his mark in this world is a large way. You are so fortunate to have two amazing sons. My heart goes out to you. You are a strong woman Anita, especially with God in your life! I so enjoy seeing all your projects and they all look fabulous on you. Your sew-along videos are the best. I have a hard time following a pattern and your sew alongs are so self- explanatory. Thanks again for all you do to help the beginning sewer, like me!

    1. Anita Morris

      Hi Maureen! Thank you so much for your kind words. I love sharing what I learn and feel grateful to be able to bless others.

  15. Debra

    That was a beautiful way to honor your husband. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Misty

    Thank you for sharing this special moment with us, you are a very strong woman and i admire you you look so elegant as usual im so happy i found a woman of class and and trying to walk in your footsteps yoy so patience and ohh how i love to watch you sew, im happy to say yoy my inspiration, thank you for all your sew alongs ive made 2 things so far

    1. Anita Morris

      Misty, you just made me smile! Thank you for your support and I’m really glad to hear you enjoy the sew alongs. I love creating them and I put a lot of work into the content. It makes me happy to know that it’s appreciated. Congratulations on completing your projects. Continue to enjoy the videos.

  17. Peggy Johnson

    Just beautiful. I haven’t watched the video yet , for I’m emotional just from reading about the ceremonies. Thank you for sharing and you looked amazing as usual.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much Peggy! Yes, it was all very emotional.

  18. Delma

    Thank you so much for sharing with us the memorials. God blessed you with a special man who gave you two special sons. I enjoyed the pictures and wept for you. I heard this and it is so true. God keeps a garden and is always picks weeds out of His garden. While picking the weeds He likes to choose some beautiful roses. Your husband was a beautiful rose.

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh my goodness, Delma! Whew! That got my heart sister. Thank you so much! Yes, he is a rose in God’s eternal garden.

  19. Gwendolyn Styles

    Anita you and sons will remain in prayers. And may I add you wear that dress very well! God bless you all.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much Gwendolyn! God bless you too sister.

  20. Lena

    I can not stop crying after watching your video. God has strengthen you to the point of no return. Thank you for sharing!

    1. Anita Morris

      Lena, I was the same way when I watched it. His strength is my strength for sure.

  21. Melanie

    Beautiful look for both ceremonies. May God continue to bless you and your sons. I know your husband is looking down at you and so proud! My Uncle’s were Firefighters in Los Angeles where it is now a museum in the 1960’s and I remember the support they gave my Aunts and a brother in law who passed away in 2009, Frank Lockett. The video brought tears to my eyes. So many memories to cherish.

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Melanie! God bless their souls. The Firefighter community is a huge family. God bless you and your family.

  22. Dara

    May God continue to Bless, Strengthen, Preserve You and your wonderful sons. Thank God for these Beautiful memories of Cleo! You ARE TRULY an Encouragement to us ALL.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much Dara! Cecil would be so proud.

  23. Lin Willett

    Dear beautiful woman, my husband died too from brain cancer 20 years ago at the age of 57. I appreciate your strength and courage and I thank you for sharing your talent. Wishing you and your sons much love.

    1. Anita Morris

      OMGosh Sue! My husband was 57 too. I’m so sorry to hear about your husband. Sending my love to you.

  24. Sue

    Anita, Thank you for sharing this very special video with all of us. The rituals involved with Fire service are so meaningful and poignant. Both my brothers served as Firemen when they were younger. I only wish we could have heard a little bit of the pipes. Bless you.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much Sue! The Pipes were absolutely amazing! God bless you too.

  25. Kaiva

    Anita, this was such a special and moving post–thank you for sharing this very personal part of your life with everyone. I have never experienced this type of ceremony before and it was truly moving. What a wonderful community our first reponders are, including how they watch over, protect, and celebrate the service and memory of their own as well as their families.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you so much Kaiva! Yes, we are family. They take care of their own.

  26. Caroll

    I enjoyed both looks!?

  27. Caroll

    Thank you for sharing such a special part of your life. This tribute to honor your husband touched my heart! Having a loving community of people is such a blessing! Many blessings to you and your sons!

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you Carol! We are blessed indeed.

  28. Ros Reed

    Good morning Anita, wow, I should not have watched this early in the morning. I have to get myself together at work. My heart was overwhelmed. Beautiful memorials. Outstanding dress & how the look was different/elegant. Your oldest son looks just like your husband. Pray that God will continue to strengthen all of you.

    1. Anita Morris

      Oh Ros! I was a mess after watching that video. I’m so grateful for the memories. Thank you so much for your prayers.

  29. Monique


    You look beautiful. It’s a blessing that your husband will be forever remembered on the wall. Thanks for sharing your healing process with us. God be with you and your sons.

    1. Anita Morris

      Thank you for your blessings Monique!

  30. Margo Johnson

    Thank you for sharing a very poignant and emotional story. And your Audrey Hepburn hat is beautiful!

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