Pattern Review: Vogue 1159

tie dye 3

Ok, I know you saw this dress yesterday, but this is the “formal review”, so bear with me!  This is the second time I’ve made up this dress.  I originally purchased this tie-dye rayon-lycra jersey in pumpkins and mauves to make this design, but then I fell in love with Vogue 1250 – a new 2011 Donna Karan design – and thought I’d give it a try.  You can read my review and see the disaster for comparison.

Anyways, I dismantled the V1250 dress, rummaged pieced tie-dyethrough my stack of cutting leftovers on my sewing table and found the extra yardage and bits and pieces.  Boy, was I thankful to find that I had probably about 60 cm of length uncut.  And then I was doubly thankful to find that the hemline of V1250 was a perfect match for the tie-dye design as the edge of my remnant!  So I stitched themimage together and pieces a couple of other little areas to make up the humungo pattern piece that comprises the skirt front, skirt back and the front bodice.  I also had to piece the back down the centre to get the width and length.  The back piece wraps around to the front at the waistline, unlike the back from V1250.

I wasn’t sure the tie-dye thing would work, but given the  fabric used on the pattern model (see it here) I thought it would be cool.  But I didn’t know it would turn out as interestingly as it did! tie dye 4tie dye backI mean, I totally love the back of this dress!  It’s so darn interesting with the way the lines meet, and it looks so (IMHO) flattering compared to the previous disaster!

Fabric: rayon-lycra tie-dye from Emma One Sock

Alterations:  A few, since this was the second go at this dress.  I cut two sizes smaller for the shoulder-waist length only.  In other words, I cut a size 12 at the shoulders and tapered it out to the size 16 for the remainder of the dress.  The two sizes down gave me the 2" shortening that I need in the bodice length.  That was the only cutting alteration I did.

Once the dress was sewn up and I put it on, there were a few things that became apparent.  First, the weight of the jersey really pulled down at the front hemline.v1159 pleat to lining  The pleats are stitched to the front of the lining at the waistline, but I stitched mine at the top of the lining piece, which hits just below my bust.  That made the skirt hang straight.  This was something that I didn’t do for the first version, and just cut off the excess prior to hemming, something that bugged me ever since I did it.  But this one I did “properly” so the grain is straight all around the skirt.  In the pic below, my fingers are resting at the marked stitching line for the pleats.  Mine are stitched (messily) just below the hem at the top of the lining.front lining

I also sewed up the armholes a good 3 inches more than the pattern stated.  This seems to be a common adjustment, although some sewers have been happy putting in a little extra piece under the arm.  I didn’t want to do that because of the tie-dye.  But that created a problem, namely, the front pieces, which simply criss-cross at the center front and opened to my navel!  Umm…. nope.  Not at my stage in life, even if I’m wearing something pretty by Aubade.  I suppose I could have just used double-sided tape to hold everything on, but who want’s that hassle?  Leave it to the celery-shaped starlets.  I needed a different solution.

First I just pinned where the fronts crossed over and fell-stitched it together by hand, but it pulled out of shape and looked like it had been stitched in place.  Bad bad bad….  This is because I should have done an FBA, and didn’t.  But then a light bulb went on.V1159 step 22

At Step 22 in the instructions, the side edges of the the F&B (front & back piece) are stitched together (see highlighted area above)… v1159 step 23and then attached as one piece to the side of the back bodice.  This actually puts a double layer of fabric over the bust line – sort of like a built-in self facing. And it means the potential for twice the width across the bust. So I slashed the facing free from the side seams and arranged it over the bust, following the draping of the fronts. crossover stitching

I turned the edges of the facing in about 1 inch, overlapped them to a width of about 3 inches, and stitched it together.  This is the result.adjusted front

Would I recommend this pattern?  Yes.  Definitely.  You may need to tweak it a little to get the exact fit you want (and the coverage!) but it’s definitely a flattering dress with all the draping.

Oh! And in Me Made June news for Day 6…..

mmj 6 2_thumb

Outfit:  Dress from OOP Vogue 2684.  Red pique and bemberg lining. 

Activities: blogging, sewing, cleaning, providing taxi service for children

Thoughts: This is my throw-it-on-and-run-errands dress. It’s cool, comfortable and putting on means I don’t have to think about what I look like. That’s the beauty of dresses – no thinking required (except for what’s on your feet).  I like the design, and although I did an FBA, because it’s an empire cut I would add and extra inch or two at the bottom of the bodice so that it sits in the proper position properly instead of almost sitting below the bust.

MMJ Day 5

tie dye 2Well, I salvaged the tie dye knit from that dreadful concoction called Vogue 1250.  You can see the original disaster in my previous post.  I purchased the fabric to make another version of Donna Karan’s wrap dress from Vogue 1159, and, thanks to piecing the remains of the disaster and the little bit of yardages I’d not used, managed to sew it up after all.

So here’s my salute to the tie dye world.   And I like it a million times better than that other dress. Outfit:  Vogue 1159

Activities:  My niece’s first communion and a small family get-together at my MIL’s afterwards.

Thoughts:  This design is very comfortable to wear.  I did change a few things from the first version during the construction, and fiddling afterwards while wearing it.  I was still pulling threads and cutting away linings in the car on the way to the church!mommy bella hannah

It was a day full of me-made items.  DD1 and DD3 decided to wear dresses made at home.  Hannah’s dress was her summer project last year, and although she loves wearing it, she is not interested in sewing for herself.  She’d rather be creative on a miniature scale.  Here’s the Flickr set.    And Isabella is wearing a sundress I smocked for Hannah about 5 years ago.   I’ll add the details to Tia Dia Needleworks soon, I hope.  It’s a green & white gingham with hearts picture smocked on the front.  There’s small ruffles around the arms and neckline, and a deeper one at the hemline that are accentuated with orange and pink spider web flowers.mia dress smocking

And my first niece wore a sundress I’d made for her birthday last year.  There’s a certain sense of fun and satisfaction to see garments one’s made being worn with pleasure and flattering the wearer.  This little dress was made of batik, bound withmia dress back Liberty of London and smocked in the front.  I must say smocking the batik was awful.  It’s not a dyed batik, but a printed one, and the printing put an almost impenetrable finish on the cotton, so the smocking could only be done in small doses.  The original design was navy blue with white binding, which is very classic, but doesn’t suit the lively personality of my niece.  Every birthday she requests a new dress, and this year she wants a “something made by Tia Dia” in purple!

And here’s my parting shot…

mmj 5 shoes

The Fall Jersey: Episode I

Well, I cut into the fabric and cleared my sewing table of one piece of jersey:  the wildly coloured animal print cotton jersey from EmmaOneSock.  Hey – she’s having a great sale all weekend, so click on the link and buy yourself something.  NOTE:  she is not responsible (and neither am I, by the way of referral) for any fabric addiction and the damage purchases may cause to you or your sewing budget!!!  🙂

Anyways…. I decided it was time to cut out Donna Karan’s dress (Vogue 1159) and see what would happen with it.  I was excited to work with this fabric.  It wasn’t slinky or hard to work with.  It had a middle-weight substance to it that made it comfortable to handle.

So I taped together the three sections of the front-back piece.  Yup – the skirt front and back and the bodice front and side backs and the shoulders are all one very VERY big pattern piece.

pattern pieces for Vogue 1159

So I opened up the jersey, spread it open and laid the pattern piece down.  I had a very good look at that pattern piece for a couple of reasons:  1) I am short-waisted so I always make a 2″ adjustment on waist length; 2) an FBA is required at all times for me, even with a two-way stretch knit, particularly if it’s a cross0ver type neckline such as this; and 3) the pattern specifically states “NO PROVISION FOR ABOVE WAIST ADJUSTMENT”.  Hmmm…. Well, I never actually believe it when Vogue writes that.  It just usually means they haven’t put the horizontal “lengthen or shorten here” lines on their pattern.  I have found that it does not necessarily mean that you can’t adjust the pattern to fit yourself properly above your waist.  It just means you need to do the fitting, fussing, thinking and calculating for the adjustment using your own brains and skills.  Hey – that’s how I learned – trying and failing and trying again.

So… I shortened the bodice front by 2″ at the shoulders and re-marked the pleats.  After measuring the width of the bodice at the bustline, I decided against adding any more as an FBA.  I calculated there would be enough to satisfy my modesty requirements.

So I cut and transferred all the pattern markings v.e.r.y c.a.r.e.f.u.l.l.y, keeping in mind that some of the reviews at for this pattern said the notches were off in anything other than a size 10.  I cut a size 16.

Then I started sewing.  And this dress was fun to sew.  I like a challenge that’s outside the usual staid design demographic, and I really enjoyed putting this dress together.  I found the instructions and the diagrams were well-written and for the most part, easy to understand.  For the two or three times that I didn’t quite get what was wanted, I held up the garment, had a good look and could see where we were going with the construction.  That said, there are two instances that stand out in my mind where I did a “huh!?”:

Step #12:  This is where the markings do NOT match.

upper edge of skirt notches should match the bottom of the back

But this is how the notches actually (don’t) match up.

mismatched notches

Well, I just ignored the mismatch as it went together properly otherwise.  This discrepancy showed up in Step # 18 when the lining is attached to the bodice, as well.  But if you get the small circle markings matched up at the front of the skirt, then you can ignore the mismatched notches on the waistline seam.  There was no extra fabric to ease in or other adjustments to be made.  I just had to pass over the mismatched markings.

Step #18:  With wrong sides together, pin upper edge of lining to upper back between small circles, etc., etc. I pin basted this first, and thought, “That’s funny.  If I stitch the wrong side of the lining to the wrong side of the bodice back, then the RS (right side) of the lining is going to be facing out, instead of towards the wearer, like a lining should.”  Or maybe I just read it wrong.  Anyhow, I left it like that for two reasons:  1) the darts in the lining are facing me, so there’s no seeing the outline of them through the fashion fabric; and 2) it finished the inside waistline seam nicely.

Other than these two stop-and-think-about-this-for-a-minute moments, the dress went together very easily.  I did stitch the underarm seams an extra 2″ so my bra would be covered properly, as noted in the other reviews posted about this dress. One other thing that kind of bugs the everything-has-to-be-beautifully-finished-on-the-inside part of me is that this dress has a lot of unfinished edges on the inside.  I did serge some, but in retrospect, I would probably just double stitch the seams and trim the allowances close to the second line of stitching instead of serging them.  I think it would produce a neater finishing effect.

By the way, what is it about Donna Karan’s dresses?  This is the second dress I’ve made of hers where the armscye sits at the underbust line.  This just doesn’t work when you’re wearing a bra, and I’m not one to put a cami underneath a dress that gapes open.  If I do make this dress again I’ll shorten the length of the armhole opening by 2 or 3 inches.

~ the finished dress ~

I really really like this dress. It’s super comfortable to wear and it’s very unique in it’s design.  I would love to have another one in a solid colour – it would show the draping design off better than this print does.  Like I said, I had a great time putting this dress together.  Now I’m going to have a great time wearing it!