Thanks so much for all the nice comments on my silver version of Vogue 1335. I said I’d post some detail pictures next so here they are.

Welt pockets first. The silver colour is actually a very fine silver and black stripe – probably about a millimetre wide. The stripes made lining up the welt pockets nice and easy, although you can see it’s not perfect. The welt is an even width though; it’s the picture that’s on a slant here.

Silver Vogue 1335 welt pocket detail

Cutting out with those very fine stripes was a pain in the neck. There are a lot of strong horizontal and vertical lines in the design so if the grain was slightly off it really showed. I cut a lot of pieces single layer because of this. It’s still a stripe or two off in places.

I interfaced all the pieces of the top with Vilene G405 to give it plenty of body. Unfortunately it wasn’t until this point that I noticed that my fabric shrinks when pressed. Luckily I’d cut the pieces out with the usual generous 1.5cm home sewing seam allowances so I could afford to lose some of those. However in a few places this design has extra wide seam allowances which are pressed to one side and top-stitched down to give the appearance of bands. I had to reduce the width of the top-stitching slightly because otherwise the fabric shrinkage would have meant I wouldn’t have caught the seam allowances at all.

Here’s the neckband. The upper diagonal line coming out from the neckband looks like a seam but is actually one of the lines of top-stitching. I used Gutermann top-stitching thread so it would really stand out against the fabric. I marked the line with chalk before top-stitching as the seam it has to run parallel to is too far away to be able to simply line up with something on the machine presser foot. You can just see the lining here; it’s acetate/viscose satin from The Lining Company.

Silver Vogue 1335 neck detail

Details of the sleeve bands below. The top and bottom seamlines are more top-stitching. The top-stitching interacts with the stripes in an annoying way where the stitching line is almost but not quite parallel to the stripe: it gives a stepped effect which you can see here on the lowest line of top-stitching. I found that using a smaller stitch length reduced the effect but didn’t eliminate it completely.

Silver Vogue 1335 sleeve detail

I think I’ve done this pattern to death now; between this version and the last it’s been about seven blog posts. I’m aiming to sew a completely new-to-me pattern next.

Vogue 1335 pullover front long view

I love shiny fabric. When I came across this heavy-weight silver knit on Goldhawk Road last year I knew it had to come home with me despite the fact that I had no immediate plans for it. I found it again while going through my stash in December and immediately thought of Vogue 1335, the Guy Laroche jacket that I spent about three months making last year. The pattern has a definite science fiction vibe which I thought would pair well with the silver.

Vogue 1335 envelope art

However I wanted something a little more casual and faster to sew than the original so I omitted the front closure and turned it into a pullover. The neckline is easily wide enough to go over my head. The adaptation for the shell is very easy: fold the right front pattern pieces on the centre-front line and cut them on the fold. The lining required a bit more effort: I cut an extra copy of the front neckband piece in the silver fabric to use as the inside front neckband, and made a lining piece by merging the original front lining piece with the original front facing less the neckband. While I was making new pattern pieces I also did new lower sleeve pieces without most of the extra length I’d added to the sleeve pattern first time around. The original sleeves run seriously long. These are now the original sleeve length plus half an inch. I’d normally add two inches.

Vogue 1335 pullover front closeup

While making it I wondered if it was going to turn out a little too much like this costume from Blake’s Seven. Probably my favourite Avon costume, but not entirely practical for real life. (Picture courtesy of the Blake’s Seven Image Library). I think the fact that my top is more of a metallic grey than full-on bacofoil silver saves it.

Avon wearing silver foil

All of my recent practice at welt pockets is paying off. I didn’t make a sample for these and I don’t think I had to unpick anything for once. My only complaint with the way they came out is that they are a little shallow. I’m always a bit paranoid about putting my phone in them although they’re fine for smaller things. I could easily make deeper pocket bags another time.

Vogue 1335 pullover front view with pockets

Here’s a back view. Somewhat creased because I’ve been wearing this a lot lately. I normally take blog photos before putting a new garment into regular rotation but the weather’s been rubbish and I like this top far too much to wait on photos before wearing it. I’m wearing it here with my Burda jeans and black knit top.

Vogue 1335 pullover back view

That’s more than enough pictures for one blog post; I’ll post some detail shots of this and talk about the construction problems I ran into next time.

The Spring Vogues are out! Pause for hyperventilation.

In all honesty I wasn’t expecting to love this release. Spring pattern releases are almost always disappointing for me because so few of the designs are practical for the weather around here – spring in the UK requires long sleeves and lots of layers. And with this particular collection there was no immediate wow factor either. Normally there are a few knockout designer patterns that leap off the (web) page at me but not this time. This release requires a close look, but it’s worth taking the time to do so.

The designer section is normally full of spectacular dresses. And it still supplies a few: look at the amazing seam detail on the bodice of the Kay Unger design, V1432.

Vogue 1432

I’m not entirely sure why Vogue picked both V1434 (Isaac Mizrahi) and V1433 (Tracey Reese) for this release, as they are suspiciously similar princess seamed poufy skirted party dresses – surely one would have done and for my money it would have been V1433, which comes with a petticoat. But there’s also the much more grownup V1431 (Tom and Linda Platt), a long-sleeved pencil dress with a bodice overlay detail I’ve not seen elsewhere.

But this time around we’ve also got plenty of wearable but interesting separates. The Ralph Rucci pattern, V1437, is a case in point: jacket, skirt, and blouse with lots of detail.

Vogue 1437

And look at the back of the blouse in V1440, the Donna Karan pattern. This one also has an interesting jacket and it’s not alone; this is the best release for jackets I can remember.

Vogue 1440

There are two Marci Tilton Vogue Designer Originals this time around. V9089 is a romantic blouse, and V9081 is a colour-blocked dress and cardigan. Something about 9081 doesn’t really work for me – perhaps it’s the colours because I like the shape.

Vogue 9081

There are two Sandra Betzina patterns. V1442 is a knockout. It reminds me of something from Japanese pattern books or Burda when it goes wacky and nonetheless makes it work.

Vogue 1442

The other one, V1433, is also appealing – at least if you look past the sample fabrics to the line drawing. To me this design is crying out to be made in solids not prints.

Two vintage Vogues as usual – V9083 and V9082. No date that I can see, but they look like fifties designs to me – or thereabouts anyway. I presume this must be what sells best, but I’m afraid I’m thoroughly bored with these and long for something from the late sixties or the seventies.

Vogue 9083

There are two custom cup size patterns: V9078 is an Easy Options dress and V9092 is a Very Easy Vogue top, trousers, and dress.

9078 is a rare miss for Easy Options in that it doesn’t have many options. The two skirt variations are very similar indeed, and the other options are the usual short sleeve/long sleeve/sleeveless choice.

9092 is much more appealing, although it gets points taken off for having fake pockets. I vaguely recall a YSL look from a few years ago with a tunic top and slim trousers made up in a charcoal grey wool and although some of the details are different I think this would be a great starting point for knocking that off.

Vogue 9092

Very Easy Vogue is back on form. I love these culottes/palazzo pants (V9091). The designs in this section are all interesting, although I’m not sure how flattering the jumpsuit variation of V9075 will be in practice. That one hasn’t been photographed whereas the dress variation has, which may tell us something. (Edited to add: jne4sl and Isaspacey have pointed out I’m wrong, it is in fact the jumpsuit variation in the photos. I confess I didn’t look at the back view where it’s a lot more obvious!)

Vogue 9091

On the subject of photography it’s excellent, as it has been for the last few releases. More views of the garments than ever and plenty of detail shots. It really helps.

And as for the rest? There are some real gems this time around. V9077 is a very interesting shirt dress with enough variations that it really ought to have been the Easy Options pattern. I’m definitely buying this one; I love the bands.

Vogue 9077

I’m torn on V9097. I love the idea but I’m not sure how well it will work in practice and there’s no photo of it. The fabric suggestions given (Silk Crepe, Silk-like Broadcloth, Heavy Georgette, Lightweight Linen) don’t seem to lend themselves to making that top corner at the left neckline nice and crisp.

Vogue 9079

But the real standout is V9096, this amazing jacket. Do click through and have a look at the other views too because if the version below is too fussy there are not one but two simpler variations on the same idea. I like the middle one myself.

Vogue 9096

Overall I’m loving this release. There’s lot of patterns here that I could wear in real life, but with the sort of detail that inspires me to actually go out and sew. I’m already thinking about fabrics for some of them and they haven’t even hit the UK yet.

I’m a big fan of Vogue patterns but I find I often have to look past the envelope art to the technical drawing to spot the best ones. The problem is that styling and photography is so subjective! Vogue give us several good clear shots of each pattern they photograph these days but I’m always interested in more views. And of course for the designer patterns there are often runway shots of the same garment to be found on the Internet.

So I started putting together a collection of Vogue pattern photos with other photos of the same garments for my own reference. (See I’m not just idly browsing, I’m doing research.) If anyone’s interested there are links to the designers I’ve done a pattern image hunt for here. It’s all on Pinterest at the moment because that was the quickest way to set it up. Hopefully I’ll add more as I find them.

Disclaimer: the only tiger in this post is the ceramic one in the picture below.

Burda 102-06-2014

Burda’s June 2014 issue had a great story on Japanese-inspired styles. This is model 104, a very simple jersey dress with a twist detail on the body and sleeves. I can’t see anything particularly Japanese about it, but suspect the starting point may have been the Japanese Pattern Magic books which contain a top with a similar body twist.

Burda 104-06-2014 technical drawing

December probably wasn’t the best month to make this. The neckline is wide – only just covering bra straps – and low at the back. I have been mostly wearing the dress over a long sleeved t-shirt and thick tights! Which works OK, but it looks better like this.

Burda 102-06-2014 front view

It’s made from a very elastic doubleknit fabric. It’s mainly viscose. I don’t remember the exact composition but there must be some lycra in there too as it’s got great recovery.

I added little single welt pockets to the front. I was nervous about making those in a knit but they came out well. Time spent making pockets is never regretted afterwards in my experience, but my goodness it slows a project down. This is a very simple dress to sew and adding the pockets more than doubled the time taken.

The back view is super-plain although I think the neckline and twist just save it from coffin back syndrome.

Burda 102-06-2014 back view

It’s slightly fussy to wear. The twist has a tendency to straighten itself out and then it looks like the side seams are crooked. Burda’s garment photo has this problem too so it’s not just my version! I suppose I could take it in a little to try to make it stay put but I think that might end with it becoming uncomfortable. I wore it quite a lot over the Christmas break despite all this so I’m calling it a qualified success. I doubt I’ll make it another but this one has a place in my wardrobe.

Thanks for all the suggestions about a belt for the Jedi dress. There’s a clear majority in favour of metallic so I’m going with that. Janene came up the great idea of making one out of metallic pleather and it just so happens that I have some silver pleather scraps over from another project – here’s hoping there’s enough left!

Vogue 8512 side view
I’m getting the Star Wars thing out of the way in the title, because there’s no denying this dress is something a Jedi would wear. It’s not just my version though: look at the envelope art below. All the girl in brown needs is a lightsaber to hang off her utility belt. And I can see Princess Leia in the white outfit although obviously she’d have some amazingly elaborate hairdo to go with it.

Vogue 8512 envelope art

Anyway. This is Vogue 8512, a pattern from the Very Easy range that I was given for Christmas when I first started sewing. I don’t think it stayed in print very long; there are only two reviews on Pattern Review which implies it wasn’t particularly popular. It certainly is a simple pattern in its original form: kimono sleeves so nothing to set in, princess seams for easy fitting, and there are only four pattern pieces to worry about as the lining is cut from the same pieces as the dress. The pattern has a zip down the centre back but it’s not needed if you use a fabric with any stretch. I made it up in dark grey doubleknit when I first got it and skipped the lining, substituting a facing around the neck. I never managed to get the neck to stand up as well as the one in the envelope picture though. This was way before the blog but there are some murky photos of that version here and here.

Recently I was going through my stash trying to reduce it a little and found some mocha ponte double knit. I had a plan for it when I bought it, but life moves on and the dress I’d originally intended won’t work for me any more. So I went looking for an alternative pattern with long sleeves, pockets, and a skirt I can cycle in. Nothing completely fit the bill, but Vogue 8512 looked easy enough to alter. I traced it again and altered the pattern to have large pockets in the princess panel. I also extended the sleeves to full length. I then made separate pattern pieces for a lining with facings of the body fabric around the neck, rather than simply reusing the body pieces for the lining.

Vogue 8512 front view

I was also determined to make that boat neck look like the one on the envelope. I interfaced the neck area with some knit fusible, but that didn’t look like it would give enough shape so I also attached two layers of poly organza to the wrong side of the facings before sewing them to the dress. This was not a scientific process: I tore a couple of rectangular strips of approximately the depth of the facing and basted them along the neck seam, letting the bottom edge of the organza hang free. It seems to have worked: the collar stands up on its own. I honestly did not adjust it at all for the photos, and it was a windy day when we took them.

There’s a back zip in this version because despite using a stretch lining (The Lining Company’s stretch poly satin) I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get into it without. It turns out there was no need to bother. But it’s a good invisible zip insertion.

Vogue 8512 back view

The lining was bagged: I’m proud to say there isn’t a stitch of hand sewing in this dress. I didn’t make a perfect job of it; the lining tends to pull on the lower hem a little, hence some of the strange shapes in the pictures above. The sleeve hems don’t seem to have the same problem. But now I’ve figured out the process I’ll do a better job next time.

Although this is certainly a practical dress and I’m going to wear it, styling it is a challenge. It definitely needs a belt. The one above is the best out of the ones I already have, but I think it needs something slightly different so I’m looking for a new one. Right now I’m wavering between canvas webbing or full-on metallic. Suggestions welcome!

Vogue 1417 trousers

I bought Vogue 1417 for the caped top I blogged about a few weeks ago, but there’s also a trouser pattern in the envelope. And being in need of more trousers I thought I’d give it a go.

This pattern is not my usual style. I normally wear skinny trousers and these are more than roomy. They also have an uncomfortable resemblance to tracksuit bottoms. However they have pockets and looked like a quick sew with little or no fitting required so worth a try.

Vogue 1417 view b line art

I made these up in a polyester double knit from Tissu Fabrics. The pattern is designed for ‘moderate stretch knits’. I think these would be great in a wool double knit if I could find such a thing – polyester isn’t the warmest thing to wear in the winter. I’m unconvinced by the pattern envelope suggestion of cotton knit. In my experience 100% cotton knit goes baggy as soon as you look at it. Maybe one with some lycra in would work.

The pattern runs enormously large. With a Vogue pattern I normally go down one size from what the size chart tells me to make. For this one I went down two sizes after checking the flat pattern measurements, and they still sit a little below where they should on the waist. Good length though. I added my usual two inches to the length. They look a bit long here because I’m wearing them over boots rather than heels, but they’ve come up similar in length to the ones in the pattern photo.

I think the most interesting feature of these is the very deep front pleats. All of that fancy back seaming might as well not be there if you make them in black. I can’t see it at all in the pictures, nor do I notice it when putting them on or washing them.

Vogue 1417 back view

I love the pockets. The pocket bag is made of lining fabric to reduce bulk. They are nice and deep, and constructed in a clever way that reinforces the opening edge and gives a very clean finish inside.

Vogue 1417 side view

These have been getting a lot of wear since I made them. They come out at least once a week because they’re comfortable and practical. However I still wonder if they’re too casual for work. (This is ‘too casual’ purely in my own eyes. There is no dress code whatsoever.) So this is a strange pattern that I’m wearing to death but I doubt I’ll make again. At least not unless I find some wool doubleknit.


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