Tweaking the Hepburn Dress

You know, dear readers, from my review of this dress that I wasn’t particularly happy with how the RPL took (or rather, didn’t take) the front bust darts.  So, last night I removed them and lookee here!

v2396 dartless

You would never ever know there had ever been darts in the front of this dress.  I learned another lesson about RPL:  it doesn’t remember anything.  File that information for the next RPL project, if there ever is one.

Rhonda in Montreal left a comment on my review of this pattern over at, suggesting that I try it without the belt, as it would give it a more 20’s look.  So I did that, too.

v2396 side front dartless

I think this works a lot better.  I’m certainly much happier with it.  And just for argument’s sake, here’s a photo of it belted, yet dartless.

v2396 dartless belted

I think I prefer it san ceinture.  Well, I must say I won’t be shy to wear it now.  I’m very glad that the RPL didn’t remember those darts.  And you would have been very proud of how I steamed them, pressed them and weighted them, hoping to get them to behave in the first place!

v2396 full front dartless

It’s definitely got a more 20’s vibe than a Hepburn one, but hey!  At least it’s going to be worn without embarrassment now.  See you on the dance floor!

Pattern Review: V2396 Fringe Dress


Well, here’s my review of this OOP pattern from Vogue.  I made the dress, and, quite frankly, it was a fussy piece for a couple of reasons.

First, I was an idiot and did not do a muslin, and, second, the choice of fabric just doesn’t work with this pattern on a shape like mine.  I made it out of chocolate RPL, but the “duh!” moment came when I confirmed through multiple tries, that RPL does not shape well.  Hence the problems with the bust darts, as you’ll see when you look through some of these pictures.


I originally thought of this dress waaaaaaay back in 1990 or something ridiculous like that, because I liked the fringe on the bottom.  I think I did make it up in purple for some singing gig or other, but I didn’t keep the dress.  It was fun walking around the house to take photos, because the fringe really swings around.  It’ll be a great dress for dinner and dancing.  It’ll also be great to wear in dim lighting, so that the bust darts can’t be seen very well.

v2396 fringe

The neckline sits very high – right at the base of the throat, as you can see below.  It’s a nice change from the usual crew neck on a sheath.  My pearls are not long – only 17 or 18” in length, and there’s no danger of them getting lost inside the neckline.  It’s a true boat neck.  Another positive:  the armscye sits perfectly on this dress. 

v2396 bust fit

OK.  This picture is taken in natural light, and it shows the bust dart problem very very well


I also got carried away trimming the hem allowance.  I have no idea what I was thinking (maybe it was the time of night?!), but I did trim 2” off the bottom, and should not have done that.  It’s about 2” too short for my liking.  Y’know what they say:  Over a certain age should not show off their knees.

v2396 back

Oops!  The belt got twisted on this one.  Pictures like this always make me think it’s high time to get off my lazy butt and do a proper 1” gingham pattern fit.  (Ha!  You probably thought I was going to say exercise!) I always shorten the back waist on a garment by 2”, but by the looks of this, 2” is probably not enough….. Never mind that it confirms that pear-shape suspicion in the back of my mind that always seems to get glossed over due to the counterbalance(s) hanging on the front of my upper torso.  Smile

V2396 swishing

I think the best thing about this dress is the fringe.  Everything else could probably be more esthetically pleasing on a beanpole, or made better by a more fit-conscientious and less lazy seamstress that me. 

Did I say I really like the fringe?  Rolling on the floor laughing

Hepburn Dress Finished

Finally!  Here’s a peek of it on my dress form.  I’ll do a proper pattern review with pictures later this week. Winking smile

V2396 sheath

And on to the next project.  I cut the pattern and the muslin for Burda 11-2010-119 yesterday for a client.

119-11-2010 pattern

So today I’m toddling off to the Fashion District to pick up some blood red wool crepe, or, if I can find some that doesn’t break the bank, some 4-ply silk crepe.  Toodle-oo!

I’m working on it!

Yes, I am!  I’ve been putting in a little bit here and a little bit there over the last 10 days or so.


I’m working on my HepburnHepburn sheath dress.  It’s taking a little more tweaking in the fit than I had hoped it would.

dress fitting

Here it hangs on my dress form.  The dress form is actually pretty true to my shape, including the short-waisted back.  I was a little miffed with this OOP Vogue pattern in the generosity of ease in the dress.  It never fails on a sheath style dress:  I measure, cut and then the darn thing needs to be taken in about 4 inches total.  What’s with that?  At some point I’ll get off my lazy butt and actually cut out a muslin that’s TNT and just use that.  Until then, I guess I have no excuse for complaining!!!

I’m going to add the fringe to the bottom of this little number.

dress fringe

The difference in colour is not as horrid as the picture.  The dress is actually pretty close to the first picture of the dress, and the fringe was one of those 50% off goodies that I picked up at Fabricland this past weekend.  If it’s really horrible, then I guess I can always go down to Mokuba for an ek-ZAKT match.  I hope to have this finished up by the end of this week.  Stay tuned!

Tweed, tweed and more tweed

I’m in love.  With Harris tweed.  What can I say?  I just love it.  It shapes well.  It’s so darn pretty to look at.  It’s got body. And it smells so satisfysingly woolly when I steam it.

I made up Vogue 8295, View D out of Harris Tweed in a mixed brown that looks very “tweedy”.  I really liked all the full tweed skirts at Louis Vuitton this fall, so I thought I’d make one for myself.  It’s such a classic look that I wanted to make it out of something that would last a long time.  Hence my choice of tweed.  I chose the pattern with the yoke because I didn’t have enough tweed to do a proper full circle skirt, and I did not want any bulk around my waist or hips (no gathers, please!)


Vogue 8295 presents some fitting issues for me.  As you can see from the photos below I am swaybacked, that is, my pelvis rolls backwards.  This creates a curve in my back and rolls my front waist lower.

PB210003PB210005On a skirt, there’s two ways to fix this problem: 1) hem it evenly all round using a ruler and measuring the length of the hem from the floor; or 2) adjust thecut of the skirt at the waist so it hangs straight and true to grain.  This is always my choice because the seams are then perpendicular to the floor and the integrity of the fabric grain is not compromised.

How to do this…  Well, I trimmed 1” from the front of the yoke, which is the difference in length between the back and front hems usually for me.


This adds some width in the waist, though, because in effect I’m making the top of the yoke about 2 or 3 inches larger.  So I needed to trim the sides of the front yoke about 1” each, tapering to the bottom of the yoke.  Once this is done, the skirt can be stitched up and there’s no need for fussing with an uneven hem.


Quite the ’70’s look, don’t ya think?

The last blouse

Well, here we are.  I sewed up the final installment in my ivory triple-threat from Vogue 1900, yet another Karl Lagerfeld in my stash from ** gasp!** 1987. YIKES!  I wanted a long-sleeved loose-fitting ivory blouse that could be worn with high-waisted pants (which are still languishing in my HepburnHepburn project pile).

~ Vogue 1900 blouse ~

I have to confess that this blouse pattern has been in my stash since the year it was published, and I always wanted to make the darn thing, but never got around to it in 23 years.  So, having hauled out all the ivory crepe in my possession to make Burda 09-2010-109, I thought I’d go on a cutting spree.  After all, who needs only one ivory blouse? Winking smile

1900 drawing
blouse design drawing

This is from polyester crepe, and it was a pain in the ass to sew after working with the silk crepe for the previous two blouses.  However, since making this little darling up, I’m very very glad I did not make it in the 3 1/2 yards of silk crepe it requires.  See?

V1900 batwing sleeves
that'a a lotta sleeves!

Batwings, here I come!    Oh the horrors of being short-waisted.  If I had 2 inches additional length between my waist and my shoulders, the sleeves wouldn’t sit at my waistline!!! This would have been impossible (for me, anyways) to alter without totally re-designing the sleeves, and I wanted to keep the yoke intact.  Here’s a back view of the yoke.

V1900 back view
yoke back view


So I didn’t alter a thing.  The pattern is actually a size 14 but the bust point measurement on the pattern was 47”.  Yup.  You read that correctly.  Forty-seven inches.  Surprised smile So why bother with this thing?  Well, I liked the details.  The cuffs are curved, the sleeves have the little bit of extra fabric at the cuff line that I like in a long-sleeved blouse, the collar is low and fluid, and buttons on the front are off-centre.  I must say, it would have been wonderful in silk.  The polyester is a little impossible to shape and sew at times.

V1900 detail
front details

And that’s that.  I think it will be a very interesting ‘80’s vintage piece to wear.  Now I’ve got to get that pair of high-waisted camel wool crepe pants going…..

Hepburn Sheath Dress

Well, I cut the dress out of my ‘extra’ chocolate RPL, as noted in my last post.  And I thought I’d share my adjustments. The pattern is very straight.  Sheath dresses usually have some kind of shaping happening in the back, but this pattern is STRAIGHT down the back.  It’s got front and back waist darts to make it fitted, and one set of bust darts.  Well, before cutting, I assumed I’d need to make my usual FBA, and here’s how I did the adjustment.  This differs slightly from my other post on doing an FBA, since this pattern already had darts.

  1. I cut the front of the dress out in muslin.
  2. Then I drew a line parallel to the centre front from the shoulder through the waist darts.
  3. Another line through the centre of the existing bust dare, ending at the bust point.
  4. A horizontal line, exactly perpendicular to the straight grain of the centre front, beginning at the bust point and ending at the front of the pattern.
  5. I marked the quadrants a-b-c-d and shown below.

    quadrants marked for FBA
  6. Then I slashed through the horizontal lines and up through the vertical one to but not through the neckline seam allowance, and s-p-r-e-a-d the quadrants apart (about 1 1/4” in my case) to allow for bust depth and width.
adjusted muslin laid out beneath pattern


Now, technically I should redraft the entire front of the dress, but I’m too lazy, so I laid the adjusted muslin on the fabric and the pattern piece over that at the waist line, which is where the adjustment ends.  You’ll see from above that I also shortened the waist on this dress about 1 1/2”.  I will take a shortcut on the darts and mark them directly on the fabric.  Once it’s all sewn up, I’ll show you a picture.  I didn’t bother making a full muslin, since this type of pattern is straight forward, and I have made many such adjustments before.  Here’s a picture of the full dress front laid out waiting to be cut.

~ ready to cut ~

I’m not really concerned about this failing or fitting ill.  Do you ever take shortcuts in muslins and adjustments on a whim, a hunch or because you think you’ve done it enough times that you don’t need to go through the long arduous process of doing a proper muslin?