Vogue 1324: The Blouse

Vogue 1324 top

A lovely Donna Karan top!  I made mine out of poly georgette, and it worked beautifully despite the pattern suggesting charmeuse, which is heavier and drapier.  Actually, I think it looks better on me in a flimsier fabric than the called-for charmeuse because I’m not a model with a small bust and long waist, and the georgette falls in softer less voluminous folds than a charmeuse would, imho.  This is a typical DK design – very interesting and fun to sew because it’s just such a fun riff on staples:  the pencil skirt and a full-sleeve cowl-necked blouse.  The blouse pattern front comes in 2 piece and requires taping together prior to cutting, and it’s huge.  The pattern dictates 60″ (150cm) wide fabric but this large piece easily fit on my 45″ (125cm) fabric on the cross grain.  Obviously this wouldn’t work if you wanted the effect of contrasting grains like the pattern photo.  But for my print, it didn’t matter, and I was determined to get this blouse out of 3 yards of 45″ fabric from my stash.v1324 outfit

The two-piece raglan sleeves are cut on the bias, and the seams twist around to the front of the forearm in a large 3-inch deep pleat.  The idea is wonderful, but I don’t think it really works unless your normal pattern adjustment for sleeve length is to add 4 inches.  This is the tunic untucked with the sleeves hanging where they’d like to on me.  Please note that I usually do not make any adjustments to sleeve length on patterns.

blouse cuffs

The cuffs are supposed to be single layers attached in a regular seam to the sleeve with a deep 1-inch hem, but because the georgette was transparent, I cut two cuffs per sleeve, shortened them by 1 inch, stitched them right sides together, turned them and attached them as per the instructions.  However, after putting it on to wear for the day, I realized they were waaaaay too long, and rolled up the cuffs for my morning engagements.  When I got home (and after taking all these pics) I turned them up to the inside and fell stitched them into place, as below.  Much better, no?  You can see the very deep pleat and the seam on the top of my wrist.  It’s an interesting sleeve.

blouse shortened cuff

The upper back is in two pieces, seamed down the CB with an opening about 3 inches long.  blouse CB opening

It’s hidden in a deep 2-inch pleat, and falls above the bra line. It’s rather unnoticeable, even if you go around with your arms reaching out in front of you. A neat little detail that probably only you will notice!

blouse CB pleat

The finishing of the CB of the collar is interesting, too.  The pleats are all basted, the cowl folded down and then the CB is sewn.  I don’t think I’d do it this way again if I were to make up another.  I’d baste all the collar pleats, stitch the CB seam and then turn the collar/cowl facing in and tack it down.  As per the pattern, though, the CB seam allowances are simply pressed open and finished hong kong style.  You’ll notice that the facings for the cowl are different on each side, too.  This isn’t a mistake, but a quirk of the cowl.  It doesn’t affect how the cowl drapes or wears.

blouse CB neck finishing

The top has a band around the bottom, which would be a cool way to wear this top, but not on my silhouette.  You can see some of the front pleating detail in the pic below.  I cut my usual size based on my upper chest measurement.  I did not to the requisite FBA, and it really doesn’t make a difference.  I usually grade up a size through the hips, and if I wanted to wear this top outside my skirt/trousers, it would be necessary to do so.  This photo was taken prior to shortening the sleeves.

blouse untucked

And here’s the back view untucked.  Yup.  I need a sway back/short waist adjustment with more width through the hips, but since I’m only likely to wear this tucked in, I don’t really care.  If I make this up again, I may make the necessary adjustments to be able to wear this as a tunic.

blouse untucked back

And now I’m hunkering down in the sewing corner to work on my coat.  It’s not quite cold enough to wear my usual interlined winter coat, so I need something in a “between” weight:  Marfy, you’re next!

Vogue 1324: The Skirt

Let’s talk about one of the new Donna Karan patterns from Vogue this fall, which I used for items 2 and 3 for my fall sewing plan.

Vogue 1324

A couple of people have made this up and reviewed it on PR – both the skirt and the top – but although there’s a couple of mentions of my issues, I couldn’t find any great pictures or discussions about them.  So this is my take on the skirt.  You’ve already read my musings about the fit of this skirt, and after wearing it for a day, I’d like to share some ideas to make your versions a little more successful than mine.

First, I love… love the seaming detail on this skirt.  It’s just brilliant, even if it does make fitting it a pain in the **s.  All the seams are edge and topstitched, including the darts.  Now, you can’t see it very well in this photo, but edge/topstitching the darts made them almost impossible to shape as perfectly as I would have liked.

v1324 skirt back

The fit through the back is really flattering.  I’m liking the silhouette.

v1324 back

And now we come to the front.  I made this skirt out of a mid-weight wool that slightly felted during the pre-shrinking process.  It’s heavier than a wool crepe, but I’m still wishing I did two things:

1.  underline it. I presumed on the weight (in comparison to the green wool) of the fabric, and I should not have.  Underlining this with silk organza would have made a big difference in how this wears and I think would have prevented the angled side seams from puckering as I move around in it.

v1324 front

Second, I wish I’d boned the front of the waistband.  It’s high – about 2 inches deep – and I’m short waisted, so giving it that extra bit of reinforcement would prevent it from folding over while I wear it.  v1324 skirt

Third, don’t topstitch the front darts as per the instructions.  I took out the edge/topstitching after wearing it because I couldn’t stand how it exaggerated the poochiness happening below the waist.  And finally, be smart like Kay the Sewing Lawyer and do a muslin of the skirt first.  The back pieces wrap around to the front across the top of the hips, and that little extra triangular shaping makes for a bit of fitting nightmare.  I usually grade down one size for my waist, but I didn’t think through how to do that for this, so just took up the extra at the CB.  There was a little extra to ease in to the waistband at the side fronts – unevenly, I might add – and I did my best to shrink it out, but it didn’t quite work.  If I had the patience, I’d unpick the entire thing and re-make it doing everything I’ve suggested you do to get your perfect version!v1324 front view

That all said, I like the skirt, although I’m mad at myself for not following my sewing instincts and taking all of my own advice.  It’s interesting and if you took the time to fit it properly through the hips – or perhaps made it in an RPL or double knit – you may have better luck through the waist.  Gotta love Donna Karan for making interesting clothes that are fun to sew.

Up next:  the blouse.

True me up, please!

I’m working on the first of my SWAP pieces, Vogue 1324, out of a lovely suit-weight wine coloured wool.  I’ll review it properly later with decent pics, but I just wanted to post about something that’s been bothering the back of my mind for a couple of years now.IMG_4386

I am not symmetrical.  I mean, no one is, and I know that in my head, but it’s never been at the forefront of my thinking, particularly as it relates to sewing.  I have recently become aware that my jeans and trousers shift left throughout the day as I’m wearing them.  If you were to take a rear photo at any given moment, you’d see that the CB seams were pulling left.  The first time I became aware of this I thought to myself, “I bet I measure more on the left side, CB to CF, than I do on the right side.  Perhaps I should find out and adjust patterns accordingly.”  And I’ve left it at that until now.  But it’s bothering me, mostly because I saw my physiotherapist last week and she mentioned that I have a bit of scoliosis in my lower back. *!?!?!*  Light bulb moment.  And, of course, now that I’ve cut a couple of SWAP garments, I’m obsessing about it and dissatisfied with my otherwise just-fine-thank-you sewing results.

This picture below looks like I’m bending slightly at the knees, getting ready to sit down.  IMG_4387I assure you that I am standing up as straight as I normally do on a daily basis.  This is just another issue I’ve become aware of lately:  my front waistbands want to sit about 1 inch lower than my back waistbands.  They fall forward, although they are sitting at my waist level properly.  Which means my waist does not sit level in a carpenter’s level sense of the word.  See?


These photos were taken while my camera was sitting, hip level, on my ironing board, so the angle is dead straight.  And the hem is longer in the front, too.  It’s worse on the left side.IMG_4388

In a nutshell, what needs to happen?  This is BOTHERING ME because a garment should hang straight, damn it, and this skirt is not hanging straight.  Don’t worry – I love this skirt, I have no plans to unpick rows and rows of edge stitching and topstitching, and I’ll be happy to wear it because I’m sure it’s not going to be noticeable to anyone who sees it walking around on me.  But I’m just thinking about future projects and my type A perfectionist streak is throwing tantrums looking at these pictures, demanding that my sewing meet something close to the custom-fit-couture “level & straight” standards, y’know?

My first thoughts:  I need to take a wedge about 1″ deep from the CF, tapering to nothing at the sides.  Not fun on a multi-pieced skirt like this one.  That would eliminate the excess fabric at the crotch level that makes it look like I’m just going to sit down, and straighten up the grain which would straighten up the hemline by default.

The other thing I think I need to do is make a high-hip adjustment on the left side of my patterns by adding about 1/2″ to the side seam depth.  Or, conversely, to fold that amount out through the hip line on the right side and taper it out to the CF and CB.

What do you think?  Do picky little things like this bother you, too?  And let’s not get started thinking about proportion, because that would send me over the edge at this point.