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!
4 days ago
You did a great job on the dress, the color is beautiful and the dress fits you nicelyReplyDelete
You did an amazing job on this dress!!ReplyDelete
What alethia and Katie said!ReplyDelete
This dress is not for the faint hearted. You are so brave. I am quite impressed. You did such a wonderful job. It looks amazing on you. In case you haven't heard yet, I have some exciting news on my blog.ReplyDelete
Beautiful dress! It fits you so well and the colour looks wonderful on you.ReplyDelete
I love this dress and can't wait to make it! You've done a great job - I can't believe what it looks like on the hanger though!ReplyDelete
You look absolutely fab in this dress - plus it's a great color for you....and you're right, on the hanger it isn't appealing...needs curves!ReplyDelete
Wow Eugenia! I hope you gained a little more confidence in your sewing ability. If not, I am impressed! This dress is so pretty!ReplyDelete
Gorgeous! Can I ask if you had to make any other fitting changes once you went down a size? And if so, how did you make them with those strange pattern pieces?ReplyDelete
That dress in that colour is fabulous on you - wow!ReplyDelete
Hooray for you for taking this on. It's interesting that just following the instructions - slowly but sure - enabled you to complete this very complicated dress. That's such a great feeling, isn't it? It's not obvious in the pictures that the fabric isn't high-quality, and the color is absolutely stunning. And now, if you make it again, along time from now I'm sure, you'll be confident in using $$$ fabric.ReplyDelete
BTW, I'm now obsessed with that Vogue Tracey Reese skirt. I went out and bought the pattern Friday. I would have made it this weekend but I need to find a nice zipper.
Wow, it looks great on you, not so on the hanger! Great work as usual!ReplyDelete
That dress looks like a very complicated, yeah, but what ever you do it seems smooth and easy. The dress looks great on you, which is not the same on the hanger, no doubt, it's great!ReplyDelete
Great work, that looks quite tricky, but you pulled it off beautifully!ReplyDelete
Looks fantastic. I love the color. I know what you mean about the DK dresses - pattern pieces are confounding. You did a nice job and now you have a very chic dress.ReplyDelete
Fabulous! Beautiful work! What a confidence booster to have such a great result with a pattern you were nervous about.ReplyDelete
Beautiful! You did a fabulous job. I love the color.ReplyDelete
Wow, I am very impressed that you made that. Seriously SCARY! Well done - it looks great.ReplyDelete
Wow! I don't see this pattern in my future! ! Congratulations on a supreme accomplishment - it looks fantastic on your figure.ReplyDelete
There isn't a better feeling than accomplishing something that you feel is a challenge to your skills. Good job, and the color is beautiful on you :)ReplyDelete
This is an amazing dress. I really like how it fits you and the fabric is the perfect drape and perfect color. Fantastic job.ReplyDelete
Beautiful dress! It looks fantastic on you! I've debating whether or not I want to get this pattern... now I think I just might get the next pattern sale. Thanks for the thorough review!ReplyDelete
You did a fabulous job tackling this pattern. I really like this color on you too! Thanks for sharing your insights into how construction went!ReplyDelete
Love the dress, looks very nice on you.ReplyDelete
Wow! Very impressive. You look amazing. Special dresses do deserve special fabric, but there's always next time.ReplyDelete
That's great! The shape is really flattering. I like your version better than the envelope.ReplyDelete
Olá! O vestido está lindo! Você fica bem com roupas coloridas. Parabéns!ReplyDelete
What a fantastic dress! I love the draping, the style and the color is fabulous on you. Yeh, clothes are not made for hangers!ReplyDelete
It looks very much like the pattern envelop! It sounds like it was a lot of work, but the results are very flattering on you. I have some blue double knit fabric sitting in my stash which looks very similar. It is only enough for a sheath dress.ReplyDelete
This dress looks amazing on you! I think the neckline is just perfect! This makes me want to run out right now and get this pattern...ReplyDelete
Looks lovely! Well done for figuring out that pattern puzzle!ReplyDelete
You did an impressive sewing job with this dress. You look terrific wearing it!ReplyDelete
Wow you were fast and did great!ReplyDelete
Hi Elizabeth :) to answer your question about fitting - thankfully this pattern didn't need too many tricky fitting changes. I made a petite adjustment to the bodice but this was made easy because the pattern has a petite adjustment line printed on it. I also had to raise the armholes and add a couple of darts in the back neckline and then I just altered the facings to match. Fortunately I didn't have to make my usual FBA - I think the pattern is cut so that there is some leeway here and also my fabric had some stretch, which helped. I had worked out that if I needed an FBA I would have been able to achieve this by using my usual (Palmer Pletsch) technique then rotating the dart that this creates into the tucks in the bodice (but I'm glad that I didn't actually have to do this).ReplyDelete
BTW - good luck with your scarf - it's going to be lovely when it's done!
Your dress turned out great. Like you I just bought this and really don't know when I will get round to it. I already have a few DKNY drapy patterns so goodness knows I didn't even need to buy it, but I couldn't resist and after seeing your version I am glad I went ahead and bought it!ReplyDelete
So flattering on you! The color and cut are truly phenomenal. I have a couple of these crazy origami patterns in stash but haven't been quite up to them. This is tempting, though...ReplyDelete
Wow, that dress turned out great! When it came out, I bought this pattern too, spread out the pattern sheets, blanched, and then put them back in the envelope!! Your version is totally gorgeous, though, and I might have to break that pattern out for another try!ReplyDelete
Very nice. I didn't even notice the specific details of this dress, even after looking over the pattern on Vogue a few times. Your version is beautiful in the fabric and color you picked.ReplyDelete
Love that dress. Truly, Donna Karan knows how to design flattering dresses. It suits you perfectly and the color suits you so nicely. Fantastic work!ReplyDelete
This is soooooo beautiful on you! You did a great job!ReplyDelete
I just bought this pattern too & was going to give it a go in silk dupion (I've got this in an amazing turquoise blue). I was also intending to go down a size, glad to hear that was a wise move... I note the pattern suggests fabric with a touch of stretch so perhaps I'm being a bit game, but hey, what the heck! (probably also risky & dumb, I have no time for muslinning the dress, so will just wing it & hope) Your dress is just gorgeous, & I hear you when you say why sepnd all that time on cheap fabric - lesson learned for you I'd say! But keep up the beatufil sewing, I always love what you sew! enjoy your trip too!ReplyDelete
Oh, this turned out lovely! And that color is fabulous on you. :)ReplyDelete
Wow! I am in total awe with your skill, time, and patience in dealing what seems to be an intimidating pattern! You and your dress look exquisitely stunning. That shade of blue looks so fab on you!ReplyDelete
Just wanted to let you know that we like your version of V1221 so much that we posted a link to your blog from our Vogue Patterns Facebook page. Great Job!ReplyDelete
I think you did an incredible job. It looks very good on you. Thank you for your review. I have the pattern.ReplyDelete
I can't believe I missed this post the first time around. You and I are about the same size, so I know that there's hope for me and this dress... yours fits you like a glove! I should follow your lead and make a muslin for fit. :)ReplyDelete