When I mentioned (in this post) that I had purchased Vogue 1221 I have no doubt that some of you thought “hmmm I wonder if she’ll ever actually make that?” For which you can be forgiven because I have to confess that I thought the same myself, especially when I opened it up and took a look at the pattern pieces. However, I have surprised myself because I have actually made it and here it is!
This is probably the most complex dress that I have ever made. Here’s a reminder of the pattern envelope
And here is a photograph of one of the pattern pieces –
it’s the front bodice, front skirt and drape, which is all one piece. It comes together with a lot of fiendish tucks and pleats.
If you are, like me, not a very experienced sewist and you are contemplating making this dress, I can offer a few words of advice. I do think that you need to ensure that you get a pretty close fit, especially around the waist. The drape depends on this to ensure that it sits where it’s supposed to. If you (also like me) have to make quite a lot of fitting adjustments then you will probably need to make a muslin – it’s very difficult to judge how this dress is going to fit until quite a lot of the construction has been completed and, by then, it’s a bit late. When I made a muslin I discovered that I had to take the whole dress down one size – the original looked blah and saggy. I should also mention that I raised the neckline by about one inch. I didn’t absolutely have to, it wasn’t quite Burda ‘plunging’ but I feel more comfortable with a bit more coverage. In case you didn’t notice, I also added several inches to the length!
This may seem obvious but I should point out that it is definitely worth taking the time to mark and then sew all the pleats and tucks perfectly because it’s fairly vital that all the tucks come together exactly right and it makes it much easier to work out what attaches to what and where if they do. By the way, I followed the pattern instructions to the letter and, even though I couldn’t quite envisage how it was going to work, what do you know, it all turned out fine!
Choice of fabric is quite important. Personally I think that this dress needs something that is soft enough to drape nicely (I didn’t want the tucks of the skirt to poof out!). A very thick fabric will give you problems because there are times when you have to sew through a LOT of layers (for instance where you have to sew a binding piece to the tucks at the bottom of the upper front then sew that to the tucks at the top of the lower front ). However, you don’t want something that is very flimsy because this dress isn’t lined (normally I’m quite up to lining a dress even if the pattern doesn’t call for it but lining this would be pretty tricky to accomplish!). I made mine from a ponte de roma double knit fabric which I picked up very cheaply in a discount fabric store in London. Before making the dress I didn’t have a lot of confidence in my ability to do a good job (especially as my last two projects have been fraught with problems!) so I was reluctant to risk wasting an expensive fabric but on reflection I think that this was probably a mistake. The fabric certainly works in terms of drape and thickness, and I like the colour a lot, but I think that having spent a fair bit of time and energy to make a ‘designer dress’ it would have made more sense to have made it in a really good quality fabric. So, that’s a lesson learnt!
Anyway, for your amusement here is a picture of the dress on a hanger.
Pretty weird looking, eh? If I had seen this in a store I probably would have passed it by. This is one of those dresses that doesn’t have a lot of hanger appeal but once you get your body inside it, and arrange the drape a bit, it seems to work.
So for my next project ……… something a bit easier I think!
Fall sewing and ponte inspiration
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