Sunday, October 12, 2008

Mama Needs a New Dress

It seems like I've been doing quite a bit of sewing for my kids lately, and while it's a lot of fun, I've been wanting to get back to sewing for me. The first project (as previewed in a recent post) is Vogue 8187.

This is an OOP pattern that I've had in my stash for quite a while. I've taken it out and thought about making it up from time to time, but I just never quite got around to it. The Pattern from Stash contest over on Pattern Review got me thinking about it again, and then this pushed me over the edge:
This is Vogue 8532, from the most recent crop of new Vogue patterns. I'm sure you can see the similarities. This high waisted look is a good one for me. It works well on my long torso and helps to give me the illusion of longer legs. The new pattern, however, with it's wide, low neckline, is more of a "going out" dress. I don't really need one of those right now. But the older pattern is a good choice for a work dress, and I can always use one of those.

I'm making the blue version with the sleeves. I cut a 16 from the waist up and an 18 from the waist down, and made a muslin to check it out. I was thrilled to find that the fit was pretty good right out of the envelope! Even without an FBA!

I had never seen bodice pieces quite like this. The side front piece (#2) has almost an angle to the bust curve. I'm used to a much more gently curved side front. But check out that huge "dart" (the empty triangular area between the two pieces). I decided to go ahead and try it without the FBA, and it fit pretty well. The length over the bust was perfect- the underbust seam hit me at just the right spot. I could have used just a smidge more width, but I didn't want to do a princess FBA, because I didn't want to add any length to the front. I was really afraid that would throw off the lapels.

Fortunately, my fabric (which you can see underneath the pattern pieces) has quite a bit of crosswise stretch. I'm counting on that to compensate for the minimal width adjustment I could have made but didn't. Unfortunately, however, my fabric is a tad heavy. It's denim, after all. I was really worried about bulk, especially at the waist seam in back. The pattern calls for basting the bodice and lining together and handling it as one when installing the zipper. Not only is bulk a potential problem, but that just isn't a really nice way to handle a zipper.

I had originally planned to use the same fabric for the lining as for the dress. (You have to for the center front pieces because the lining will show when the lapels are flipped out.) But Fate stepped in: I didn't have enough! My first thought was to use a different fabric- a solid cotton or broadcloth- for the rest of the lining. But I was afraid that would negate the stretch factor I was counting on. So I decided to eliminate the lining- except for the center front pieces, and go with facings in the back.

Normally, I would never change a pattern to add facings. I hate them. I much prefer a lining. But in this case, I think facings are the answer. Not only do they solve the problem of not enough fabric, but they will eliminate some of the bulk at the waist seam, making the zipper much easier to install, and using a facing will make it possible to finish off the top of the zipper much more nicely.

I'm off now to work on the dress. Stay tuned for more info about some other adjustments I had to make, and of course, for a photo of the finished dress!


Adrienne said...

Ohhhh Love both dresses!

Cacophony said...

Hi Shannon
I just bought this pattern today and laid it out but...did not commit to scissors, yet!
Your tips were very helpful.
I'm concerned about it being too low and was cosidering adding an inch to the vee neck.
I look forward to seeing your finished product.