Sunday, 17 February 2019

Vogue 1156 - darts a'plenty

I've recently changed roles at my work and it has meant coming back to work full time after working part time very happily for the last ten years. It's a promotion and now as the responsible adult in the room I figure I need to look the part, so I'm really trying to step up my corporate wear this year.

First corporate dress off the rank is this grey fitted sheath dress:

woman modelling a grey fitted dress in front of plants

This is Vogue 1156, an OOP print Anne Klein pattern that has been in my stash for a few years just waiting for the right fabric to come along. And actually I don't think this fabric is the right fabric - all those darts and seam lines are barely visible which is annoying because it was quite tedious doing all the ones in both the fabric and the lining!

technical drawing for a sewing pattern


close up photo of the neckline of a grey dress

Not being very blessed in the bust department those darts do create a bit of puffiness at the front of the dress that my bony chest can't fill out, but apart from that it's a well fitting dress. I made a minor sway back adjustment to the centre back, and graded out from a size 8 at the bust to a size 14 at the hip to fit my pear shape and it all turned out pretty well.

woman modelling a grey fitted dress

woman modelling a grey fitted dress

The only thing I have a minor problem with is the neckline - it is so high that I feel like I'm being choked, especially when I'm sitting down at my computer or driving. I interfaced the neckline because this fabric was a loose weave, and I under-stitched the seam allowance to the lining so I think that creates quite a hard edge to the neckline which makes it worse. I just need to find the energy to unpick the neckline and re-sew it because it really is annoying.

close up photo of the neckline of a grey dress

This fabric is a lovely soft poly-cotton tweed like fabric from The Remnant Warehouse. I bought two metres initially planning to make some trousers, but since I'm so terrible at making trousers and the fabric was quite wide I realised that making a dress and a matching jacket (which is underway) is a far better use of the fabric.

I think this is a great pattern, but it seems it wasn't so popular with all the sewists out there on the internetz. There are only 4 reviews on Pattern Review and no others that I can find. The pattern is a bit involved with all those separate pieces and darts but isn't too difficult and all those seam lines offer a lot of opportunity for fitting. I would like to remake this dress in a plainer fabric - I'll add that to my never ending to do list!

Friday, 1 February 2019

Another summery dress: Simplicity 1883

I have had a flying start to my sewing year - in January I finished two UFOs, made 3 new dresses, a top, a skirt and swimmers for my daughter. Now if only my blogging could keep pace with my sewing.....

First up is another simple sundress to wear in this extreme heat we are still suffering through here in Sydney:

woman modelling a sleeveless summer dress in multi colours

This is Simplicity 1883, a wardrobe pattern that is out of print now. I actually bought it for the jacket pattern which I pulled out recently to make but made the dress instead:

Simplicity sewing pattern 1883
The dress is simple princess line v-neck dress, nothing too fancy but perfect for this busy fabric. This is another fabric I bought from a Nerida Hansen sale last year - I just cannot resist the modern and vibrant prints

Fitting wise I just ignored the pattern sizes on the envelope and went by the finished measurements on the pattern because this pattern has a lot of ease. I ended up cutting two sizes smaller than the pattern indicated, using a size 8 at the bust, a size 10 at the waist and a size 14 at the hips. I also did a basic small bust adjustment by flattening out the bust curve on the princess seam. I still had problems easing in the fabric and ended up with a few ripples there which is annoying.

close up photo of the neckline of a dress

The skirt is very a-line which I think may be further exaggerated by this mid weight cotton - a softer fabric might drape flatter to the body in gentle folds but I don't mind this look:

woman modelling a sleeveless summer dress in multi colours

The back and side views are fairly unexciting - just a plain scooped neckline at the back and the irregular print meant I didn't have to exactly pattern match at the seams for a nice change.

woman modelling a sleeveless summer dress in multi colours

woman modelling a sleeveless summer dress in multi colours

It's a bit on the casual side for my work wardrobe, but on a day when the city hit 40degC I figured it was fine. I put on a jacket to combat the air conditioner in my office which is always set to freezing and called it good!



Friday, 25 January 2019

Vogue 1499: the dress to wear when the road is melting

Apologies to those people in the northern hemisphere who are suffering through extreme cold and heavy snowfall, but we here in Australia are equally suffering albeit through extremely hot days and nights. So hot......

lady modelling a stripe dress in front of a swimming pool

A linen sundress is the perfect thing to wear in these conditions, and I just happened to pick up some stripe linen from Pitt Trading only a few weeks ago - a new dress and using fabric before it hit the stash is a double win.

This is Vogue 1499 which has been around for a few years but is still available because it seems to be a very popular dress judging by how many photos come up in a simple google search.
cover of a sewing pattern vogue 1499 for a dress
Thanks to all those blog posts and pattern reviews I found that it was possible the pattern would run a little large and be too wide across the back neckline so I cut a smaller size for the bodice and I folded out a dart in the back neckline which seems to help, although I still ended up taking it in a few extra centimetres down the centre back before putting the zipper in - thanks to my custom body form I was able to pin it close to my rounded poor posture shoulder shape:

image showing a partially constructed stripe dress with pins down the centre back

That makes the back panel a little narrower than intended, but it doesn't look out of proportion:

lady modelling a stripe dress in front of a swimming pool

One of the main things I love about Vogue patterns aside from their designer connections is their superior drafting - I love little details like how the bodice side panel is lined up with the skirt pleat where they meet at the waistline. I don't anyone else will notice this detail, but I love the symmetry of it all:

lady modelling a stripe dress in front of a swimming pool

So obviously I didn't stray too far from the original version on this dress on the pattern envelope, but black and white stripes are fairly classic and show off the pattern lines of this design really well. I took extra care to make sure the stripes matched at the side and back (not that you can really tell thanks to this wind blown photo below!):

lady modelling a stripe dress in front of a swimming pool

The only other change I need to make for future versions is to lower the bust darts by about 2cm - obviously as time has gone on things are in the same place as they used to be! Either that or I need to buy a super push up bra...... I might also make those cap sleeves a little wider because while they feel fine when standing with my arms down they felt a little tight while driving.

But overall I really recommend this pattern - it's quite simple despite looking complicated and was really quick to sew up. Perfect for hot summer days. Although ironically I wore this to work yesterday when it was a bit cooler but my office had the air conditioner set to arctic so I had to pop out at lunchtime and track down a cardigan to buy so that I didn't freeze all afternoon!

Sunday, 13 January 2019

10th birthday dress: New Look 6960

We've just come home from a two week holiday to Hong Kong - boy was it cold there! Not snowing cold of course, but less than 10 degC which according to my relatives that live there is unusually cold for them. So even though I sewed the annual birthday dress for my daughter before we left and took it with me it was far too cold for her to wear there but it's much more suitable for home here in Sydney a week later:

girl standing in a dress

I've made this dress before for Anna back in 2013 when she was only 3 years old and oh so cute:

young girl wearing rabbit ears holding an easter egg

This is New Look 6960, which is OOP and may be the last time I use this pattern. It only goes up to size 8 which still fits Anna because she is a bit of a bean pole, but it's not overly large on her. I guess I could grade it up, but with so many other patterns in my stash I probably won't.

sewing pattern for girls dresses

For this dress I've used a Jennifer Bouron print on cotton bought from Nerida Hansen specially for this project - no stashing this fabric!

fabric printed with girls

I used some yellow cotton from the stash for the contrasting colour to pick up on the yellow in the print as well as it being Anna's current favourite colour.

I like those gathered cap sleeves even though they stick out a bit in this fabric, but I do think there could be more fabric at the centre front there to make those gathers look a bit more obvious.

girl wearing a ruffled sleeve dress

And now for a walk down memory lane! The previous birthday dresses: