Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Vogue 1329, Colorblock Side-Pleated Ponte Dress

Vogue 1329 Thumbnail

Vogue 1329 has taken the sewing world by storm!  I've seen so many great versions of it.  It has a ton of elements that make it flattering to any size or shape:

-Princess seams for easy fitting
-Colorblock possibility.  The sinuous shape of the side front panel coaxes even the most non-existent curves out of the closet.
-Suggested for ponte double knit (which most people have chosen), which has enough stretch to make fitting easier but is thick enough to smooth over lumps and bumps
-Pleating on center front panel offers some tummy disguise

Basically, this is pretty much the most flattering pattern ever devised for a fitted dress.

So I pretty much had to have one.  This sort of sheath dress is the kind of thing I need for networking events and other not-quite-suit-level work-related events, but I don't have many of them because they are not bikeable.  In the ponte, this one actually is bikeable so it's a win-win!

I got the black/white/red houndstooth from the G Street $2.97/yd table in August 2011.  It is aggressively polyester and has a very vintage look and feel, so it would be great for a 60s style loosely fitted shift.  However, when I thought about pairing it with black ponte (purchased from Kashi at Metro Textiles in November 2010, $6/yd) I was willing to sacrifice that vision for something that would suit me so much more.  The houndstooth is a woven with no stretch, but the narrow non-stretch panel doesn't interfere with the ease of wearing.

Swayback Adjustment on Pattern

You all know how rarely I make a dress without a waist seam due to my swayback.  I did some aggressive swayback folding on the pattern.  Check out the size of that tuck--but even that only got me about halfway there.

"Darts" on Side Back Seams for Swayback

When it was constructed enough to try on, I added huge "darts" to the side back princess seams, and took it in a little more at center back.  All told, I removed about 5 inches from the back waist.  Yes, my spinal curve is outrageous.

Moved the Highest Pleat to the Bottom

I did not do any small bust adjusting.  However, I noticed that the highest pleat on the center front panel is up pretty high and the lowest is still above the tummy.  I decided to just move the highest pleat down below the lowest pleat.  There is no looseness at the bust and the pleats are well-placed for tummy disguise.


That said, I think this had an unintended consequence.  The only issue with the finished dress is that the houndstooth side panel collapses/bulges in a weird way a little below the bust when I am standing still and straight.  I do not know if this is a side effect of moving that pleat, or if it has to do with pairing fabrics of two different weights and hands.  Other people do not seem to have this problem, so I assume it is one or the other.  The bulge is above where the uppermost pleat would have been, but that doesn't mean they're not related.  In motion, the problem disappears.

I think I will just add some boning in the seam allowance in the problem area for a slapdash fix to the problem.

The whole dress is meant to be lined, but I lined only the yoke.  I sewed the neckline and armscyes of the yoke and lining as per my usual clean finish method, leaving the 5/8" seam allowances unsewn at the lower edges.

I lowered the front neckline by about 3/4 inch.  My neck is proportional to my body, meaning, yeah, I have a short neck.  Super high necklines just look terrible on me.  I need to at least show my collarbones so as not to look like a head sitting on shoulders.

Yoke with Button Tab

Rather than install a center back zipper, I made a center back opening on the yoke that closes with a button, and the dress portion is sewn closed.  I sewed about 1 1/2" from the bottom closed on the yoke and the lining center back seams, and then sewed the yoke and lining together from the upper neck edge down to the closed part.  I can actually get this on and off without opening the button so I didn't need any closure at all, in the end.

Bias Tape on Lower Armscye

I finished the lower armcsyes on the dress portion with bias tape, then applied the yoke fashion fabric.

It was important that I left the seam allowance unsewn at the bottom of the yoke armscyes, because I then turned the lining seam allowance under and hand stitched it in place.

Untreated on left; steamed and pounded on right
Untreated on left; Steamed and pounded on right

There was a LOT of bulk at those corners where the yoke and the dress are joined at the armscye, but heavy steaming and then pounding took care of some of it.  It is not noticeable in wearing.  (The slight gape from the dress being slightly too large is, though, grr.)

Finished Armscye Finish

I ended up with a nice finish, but next time I would probably draft a facing the finish the neckline and the entire armscye at once, which would be a lot easier and eliminate that bulk.

Sharkfin Correction at CB Seam

I had major sharkfin at center back below the booty, presumably because of my body architecture.  I took in the center back seam by around 4 inches at the hem, tapering up to the curve of the booty.


The back is still not awesome and still does not have the traditional pencil shape with noticeable fitting at the hem, but I was afraid to mess with it any more lest there be nothing left of the center back panels.  From the photos (of course, I can't see this in real life), it looks like I need to take the side back seams in a little below the booty and have the CB seam hug that curve a little more.

Even with all these adjustments this was a satisfying, fairly quick project completed in a single day of probably 7 1/2 hours of sewing.  Ponte knit:  the future is now.  I just wish it was easier to find good quality ponte and divine in advance if it was going to pill.  I used this black ponte fabric in my Butterick 5677 Joan Holloway colorblock dress and so far that dress has held up well.  Fingers crossed it stays looking good because I want this dress for a long time!

Side View, Accessorized

If you want to feel insanely good about your sewing and your body, you must pick up this pattern.  I say this even with all the flaws I've just pointed out with mine!  Hurry, before colorblocking is totally passe; though it can, of course, be made in a single color.  Now I actually *want* to go to a networking event, just so I can show this off!  (Introvert=LOATHE networking, even when I know plenty of people there.  It is exhausting.)

All photos are here and the pattern review (my 300th review!) is here.


June said...

This dress looks AWESOME!

And I totally hear you on the networking loathing.

Angela said...

I wasn't thinking about getting this pattern, but you may have talked me into it. It does look fabulous on you.

Mary said...

In this dress, you can smile and nod when needing a break from interaction. You look like a boss. :-)

Adrienne said...

Very nice!

Anonymous said...

Dang, girl! You are SMOKIN' HOT in this dress!!

Texas Urban said...

Trena- Fab work as always. Would not have zeroed in on the side panel issue without your commentary- but now that I think about it, perhaps a petite adjustment to the panel (below bust/above waist) would fix it for the next go round. Because, of course, you should definitely make this again!

T. Sedai said...

This looks fantastic! The fit and colors looks great on you. You should make one in every color! I am very inspired to pick this pattern up now.

Clio said...

Awesome dress, Trena! Thoroughly flattering.

Uta said...

Very elegant and so flattering! I love the colorblocking with menswear-style fabric, it's a subtle, stylish twist.

kathy said...

Flattering. I'm off to find the pattern.

Mary said...

I too hate the schmoozing aspect of business, but I think wearing a great dress (as you have sewn) definitely numbs some of the pain. Go get 'em!

Sigrid said...

Love the houndstooth with the red in it. Great dress!

Rose said...

I love the colorblocking with the houndstooth. Great idea!

Rose in SV

badmomgoodmom said...

Nice dress and congrats on hitting the 300th review milestone. I appreciate your reviews because we share so many fitting attributes.

Adelaide B said...

I really like that you have colorblocked this with a houndstooth instead of another color. It adds a lot of visual interest.

Unknown said...

Your dress looks fabulous. I love the mix of fabrics. And this pattern would be a great way to use of some scraps....

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

This is sooooo flattering on you! Absolutely lovely!

Kyle said...

Well done!! The houndstooth makes the dress sing.
Congrats on 300 pattern reviews, very impressive!

twotoast said...

Gorgeous dress, I love the choice of fabrics and the pleating - very cute!

Vicki said...

Lovely dress. Great choice of fabrics for the style.

Kristy Chan said...

Fantastic fabric mixing - it's the perfect combo for this pattern. So glad the colourblocking trend isn't passé, because it looks awesome!

McVal said...

Oh wow! I LOVE your version!

Linda said...

Great fitting and looking dress. I have this pattern and should really give a try soon.

Seraphinalina said...

I love it. The houndstooth might have been a little overwhelming, but it's really grounded well with the black. What a flattering pattern.

kbenco said...

Wow, the dress is terrific. It looks perfect for business-social (I loathe those work events too), very smart, professional, yet non cookie-cutter. I love it.

Anne said...

Looks amazing on you! I am also an introvert and one of the books I read said one way of making those events more bearable is to wear a statement piece, like an interesting piece of jewelry or a nice dress like this one. That way the other guests are more likely to take the lead striking up conversation with you, and it actually gives you something to talk about.

Andrea said...

I have to say that your version of this dress is my favorite so far. I have this pattern in my stash and you're making me want to pull it out and work on it. I love your fabric choice for this pattern. This is a very flattering pattern.

Debra Bartley said...

I adore this dress; I want this dress! There are absolutely no complaints about this dress. I love the pattern that you chose and all the colors and everything are wonderful.

Mrs. Micawber said...

Oh my gosh, that dress is cute. And looks great. May I say that the fit over the bootay is amazing in that profile shot? (Hope that doesn't sound creepy.) Really flattering all the way around.

Congrats on your 300th review!

Audrey said...

Great looking dress. Very flattering style on you. Isn't fitting just so fun? I like the combo of the houndstooth and the solid better than solid color blocking. And every time someone show a neat fabric they found on the $2.99 table I start thinking of an excuse for a road trip north.