Hello all! As I write it’s a cold but bright Friday here in Yorkshire. I have plans to celebrate my anniversary this weekend (delayed since the summer, thanks Covid) and hosting a live stream sewalong on Instagram this Sunday for Simplicity. I’m making a S9240 sweatshirt live!! I need to ease myself back into live videos again! They were always so fun but moderately stressful. So let’s hope this one goes off without issues.
Now onto today’s make. Returning to a pattern sewn years ago can inspire you to do things differently the next time around. I have made Vogue 9000 before but always knew I would revisit it, as I love the grown-on sleeves and full panelled skirt. This design also features a flat collar and buttoned bodice that is finished with a front facing and a strip of bias binding at the back neckline. The dress also fastens with an underarm side seam zipper for a neat fit.
When I first made the dress in 2016 I sewed it in a luscious red John Kaldor microfibre. It was medium weight, glossy and a little stretchy (like cotton sateen) with the drape of polyester. I rounded off the corners of the contrast black collar and used black self-covered buttons on the front fastenings. It was a beautiful formal dress I wore to several events including a Christmas dinner dance.
For my latest version I wanted to use an Ecovera viscose – a sustainable method of producing viscose that follows stringent guidelines to ensure eco-responsibility. The viscose was from Rainbow Fabrics in London who specialise in deadstock and overstock fabric from fashion houses which is a nice way to avoid waste and make your sewing more sustainable. In this pretty, confetti-heart print, the dress is lighter weight and easier to wear than the John Kaldor version which is just what I hoped. I can wear it in Summer with sandals, and Winter with brogues and tights.
Once again, I decided to round off the collar points but this time also extend the collar so it finished right at the front edges. This was due to the fact I would very rarely wear the neckline fully buttoned. Also the notch where the collar meets the facing isn’t very pronounced if worn open. A seamless transition into the collar seemed to be worth pursuing. It reminds me of a sporty polo collar now. I’m pretty pleased with the finished look.
Choosing viscose for this pattern does introduce a few more considerations. I didn’t line the dress so I’ll wear a slip underneath when wearing tights. A sharp fine needle and pins are vital to avoid snagging the fabric, and a dab of fray check on the button holes provides extra security. The most important thing to remember is to allow your skirt hem to drop for at least 24hours after attaching to the bodice. As it is a full skirt, there are areas on the bias that will naturally stretch out. Once the fabric has dropped you can then recut the hem so that it is level before finishing. I use a vintage Newey chalk hem marker that allows you to puff a line of chalk at a set height as you rotate in your garment.
I wholeheartedly recommend Vogue 9000. The panelled skirt is great for narrow fabrics while still achieving a flowing full skirt. I love the double darts in the back for even shaping, and like how the front bodice darts extend into the skirt panel seams. It’s a beautiful vintage pattern where you can create a dress that is a true reproduction of the era, or add a modern spin on the silhouette with an updated fabric choice.
Last week I showed you a dress I hadn’t blogged about but it went down quite well so I here are the details.
I wanted to make the Colette Truffle bodice into my go-to dress bodice block as it was so close to being perfect on my Christmas party dress.
I made a rub off pattern from a lace dress I love and then combined this with the Truffle pattern to make what should have been a perfect fit. It’s sooo close to perfect but not quite as the neck gapes a little, though it seems to suit Beryl.
I also drafted an A-line gathered skirt by using the hem and drop measurements from the lace dress and after eyeballing the amount of waist gathering figured out the waist length I’d need. I like A-line gathered skirts more than dirndl because a lot of waist gathering makes me look too wide there. Plus you still get a good twirly skirt from them!
The fabric was from Fletcher’s Fabrics in York and was a birthday present from Mr AR. It’s a popular quilting cotton which has been in stock for years and comes in a variety of colourways.
I did my new trick of encasing the zip with bias tape and I lined the bodice in cream poly lining but didn’t line the skirt… that was my major mistake.
Unlined cotton dresses stick to your tights and I hate this. But I convinced myself otherwise! Now this dress rides up when I wear it. Even when I wear a half slip for goodness sake! I live the dress so I think I’ll retroactively fit a lining. I just need to mull over how….
You have one day left to enter the giveaway.
Entries must be received by Midnight BST Friday 10th May!