When I found out Tracy Reese was doing patterns for Vogue, I was very excited. But when I actually saw them, I was not so much. I love the 1092 suit but it is, if not exactly beyond my skill level, beyond my level of concentration and attention to detail. But the 1086 dress goes too far in the opposite direction--it's a cute dress, but not really anything special. Cidell argues, convincingly, that it's actually kind of great that she released a fairly easy pattern, as it allows newer sewists to sew a designer item.
However, that didn't stop me from acquiring both of them! Cidell got me the suit pattern when she chanced to visit Joann during a Vogue sale, but she wasn't able to get the dress pattern. The last time Joann had a Vogue sale it was on my list.
I checked the drawer, and drat! Only one copy of the pattern, and only in the larger size range. I was so annoyed. Here was a dress pattern that I didn't even really want *that* much and yet its unavailability made me determined to have it. (This is why I should learn how to play hard to get in dating.) So I spent about 30 minutes leafing through the entire pattern drawer, convinced that somebody must have misfiled a copy of it in my size somewhere else. I think the employees thought I was nuts (the pattern drawers are close enough to the cutting table that they could hear my steady rustling but not actually see me) and were possibly scared they had a Crazy Lady on their hands, but my obsession was rewarded when I indeed found a misfiled copy in my size.
I also found some darling cotton print fabric, and decided they were a match made in heaven. Well, heaven may or may not be missing an angel but here it is:
My biggest gripe with this pattern is that there are no finished measurements provided. Rather than rely on the unreliable sizing situation in the Big 4 (though Vogue is a misdemeanor offender compared to felonious Simplicity) I always choose the size to make based on finished garment measurements. I scoured the pattern envelope, direction sheets, and tissue, and the only finished measurement I could find was the length. Frustrating!
Based on the model photo, it looks like the dress is intended to have a relaxed fit at the midriff with several inches of ease, and I wanted to make sure I got that look. I cut an 8 in the bodice, a 10 at the top of the midriff transitioning to a 12, and a 12 in the skirt. I shortened the skirt about 2 inches in cutting and hemmed off another 3 inches or so. And although I couldn't tell what the finished bust measurement would be, I figured that it would be too much for me so I took a smidge of gathering width out of the bodice front. As the bodice gathers on top and bottom I took out a straight vertical piece. The final bodice looks fine; I probably could have left it as is *or* taken a little more width out and it would have looked ok either way. The relaxed fit gives some wiggle room.
As this was a designer pattern, the instructions included a lot of couture techniques; lots of french seams and such. Obvs, I totally ignored all that. Heh. The bodice construction is interesting as designed. The bodice has princess seams (which don't really show in the line drawing) and front and back yokes.
Only the yokes are intended to be faced/lined. However, my cute fabric from Joann was almost a batiste weight and fairly sheer so I lined the entire bodice. This had the advantage of making it easy to finish the neck and armscye. I cut the bodice lining of batiste and then assembled the upper bodice pieces, leaving the side seams and center front seam unsewn. Then I sewed together at the neck and the armscye, as shown at left. I trimmed the seam allowances very close using the serger. Then you reach up through the back, through the armscye tunnel, and pull it all right side out.
The next step is the center front seam. As others have noted: Whoa. BWOF's low necklines have nothing on this pattern. I didn't put on a bra for the pic at right, but if I had, the neckline would have showed it. It was SO LOW. And of course I didn't realize this until *after* I had twin-needle topstitched. I had to pick it out and close up the neckline a good 1.5 inches higher.
After that, everything went together quite easily. I lined the midriff with a heavy cotton sheet because I didn't want it wrinkling, and the skirt with a cotton/poly Knoppa sheet from Ikea. I think I should have gone with batiste for the skirt, though. One of the things I like about using the Knoppa sheets for lining--aside from the fact that they cost only $1.99--is that the cotton/poly kind of "sticks" to the fabric, so there's no issue with the lining twisting around or otherwise asserting its independence. However, in this project that quality sort of weighs down the skirt, which would be better served as a little more light and airy. As per usual, I pleated rather than gathered the lining to reduce bulk.
As mentioned, I topstitched everything using a twin needle. I really don't think this shows from more than three paces, but at least I took one of the designer-y "suggestions."
Concern has recently been expressed that I am losing my slapdash edge. I would like to assert my bona fides in this zipper. Ignore the fact that the midriff lines match up perfectly because I hand-basted half of it in (again, as per usual) and look at that offset at the underarm! I have no idea how that happened. And I have no intention of fixing it.
I wore this to meet up with a friend for happy hour. She does not sew but was a patient photographer, so I got some cute Urban Scenery shots. All photos are here and the review is here.
And a follow up from the last post...
The lovely Vivienne, who I got to meet at PR Weekend 2006, generously offered Amy the BWOF 07-2008 she was searching out for the 108 tunic, but if someone else is still looking check out Hot Patterns 1028, recently reviewed on PR by Off the Cuff. It's not an exact match, but has a lot of similar styling.