Thursday, May 7, 2009

Vogue 1086, Tracy Reese Sundress

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:

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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!

SBABased 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.

LiningOnly 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.

Original NecklineThe 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."

zipperConcern 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.

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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.

30 comments:

Amy said...

The dress may not be as unique as something you hoped for from Tracy Reese, but it's really lovely. I love the orange topstitching. So fun!

Byrdie said...

I am actually in the middle of construction on this one. Yours is really cute. I like how you paired the belt with it. I agree with the couture techniques- unless you are entering a contest, who needs them? Also, it was frustrating that there were no finished measurements. I actually sewed a muslin first to work out the fit. I love the print you used- very cheery!

Sigrid said...

Cute dress. Very much summer.

sewsincere said...

The dress is cute! I enjoy your blog and think you are quite creative in pairing fabrics with patterns. Absolutely love the shoes.

Sue said...

You look great in the dress especially in the outdoor photo where the fabric print color shows up slightly muted and addition of the belt makes it look so stylish.

Lindsay T said...

Especially cute with the belt and shoes. I love your urban photo shoot. Nice job.

Birgitte said...

Me think you look totally AWESOME in this!

geek sewing said...

It's very spring, and it's lovely on you. Thank you for the SBA picture--you are my go-to blog for SBA and swayback adjustments.

I just hate it when instructors tell me to do a reverse of an FBA when doing an SBA. You know that just don't cut it!

You make me want to buy this pattern, and even now that I'm put off by all the Big 4, even with Vogue!

It looks like the dress' waistline sits above your natural waistline. Does it?

Myra said...

Another good one for you, it seems like a good style to go for to work around waist, tummy, hip issues. I will need to look at that one.

Adelaide B said...

I was actually very charmed by this pattern, although I didn't buy it. (I didn't think it would be that flattering on me.) I appreciate the return of the slapdash in your sewing; that way I know I am not alone. I am the queen of wonky zipper tops, and I never ever fix them.

Trudy Callan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Trudy Callan said...

So Cute! Luv it.

www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

Shannon said...

This dress is on my to-do list and after seeing yours, I may move it up in the queue! Nice job and I love the fabric!

neighbourhood.gal said...

Sweet!

Lisette M said...

Beautiful and cheerful dress. I love the urban photo shoot!

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

I also loved this dress when it first came out and is on my list. Yours looks wonderful!

Christina said...

Way to find that misfiled pattern! This is a super fun dress, and it's nice to see it in a casual fabric.

Jackie said...

Such a cute dress on you!!

Cindy said...

I love it on you! I have the pattern but nervous to start...looks like a difficult fit on top! Thanks for the advice! You look marvelous.

Little Hunting Creek said...

Cute -and what a surprise that the neckline is THAT low. That's pretty low! I love your fabric - it goes perfectly with the dress style.

Katharine in Brussels said...

Fun and flirty, a perfect summer dress! You rock it. Keep the slapdash spirit up too :) Don't you think it makes the process and wearing more fun?

neighbourhood.gal said...

Random Question: What do you use for the Vilene fusible bias that BWOF calls for so often. I am at a bit of a standstill while I figure this out.

Vicki said...

You look lovely - matching shoes and all!

Gorgeous Things said...

Your version turned out great! I was wondering about the sizing and ease on this pattern.

Jill B said...

I like!
Hey, I'm going to be in Bethesda toward the end of the week. Would you be interested in meeting up for coffee or dinner or something (I kinda feel like a dorky 7th grade boy, but what the hell)?

Miriam in Ks said...

This is a great dress for you!

I, too, am frustrated when the garment's finished measurements are not listed on the pattern envelope back. I've been known to put a pattern back if I cannot find that info.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

This is really a cute dress on you Trena...your closet must look like mine...bulging!

And I'm sorry that little thing under the armhole does not mean you are losing your slapdash edge - you hand basted something together! *LOL* You are definitely upping your game!

AllisonC said...

Just catching up on your last few posts, really great dresses you have made lately, I am definitely going to make more dresses this summer.

Isabelle said...

Oooh, you finished the Tracy Reese! And the result is absolutely darling.

I love your pairing of pattern and fabric. How adorable is this on you! Once again you found the perfect colourway for your hair and complexion.
I cannot wait to make this, even if it is on the back burner right now.

Thank you for the super helpful and detailed review - I'll be sure to have my browser open on your post when I tackle my dress. Thanks for the heads-up regarding the neckline!

I loved the Crazy Lady bit when you ruffle through the pattern drawers.
(although here you can only look at the catalogues and then politely ask the surly lady at the counter to get the pattern for you, which sucks if you haven't done your homework on the Internet beforehand and the yardage etc. isn't written in the catalogues!)

Linda said...

I am way behind on reading blogs and I missed this creatiion. Great, great dress. It looks very good on you and I love, love, love, love the fabric.