Tucks, pleats, and Vogue 1390

Vogue 1390 has been in my pattern stash and lurking on my to-sew list for a while. I particularly like the tucked front panel of view B.

Vogue 1390 line art

When I finally came to take the pattern out of its envelope to trace it I was surprised to find that the front panel wasn’t quite as I’d remembered it. The image I had was of fairly narrow tucks with gaps between them. In fact the fold of one tuck lies on top of the stitching line of the next and they are very wide: each tuck takes up 13.5cm of fabric leading to a finished width of 4.5cm. They are also described throughout the pattern instructions as ‘pleats’ although the envelope says ‘tucks’. After some dithering I decided to adjust the pattern to have the smaller tucks with gaps I’d imagined. This used less fabric, but meant sewing a lot more tucks.

I started out by trying to make an accurate pattern piece for my version but soon realised that turn of cloth might be a problem: if each tuck takes up even a tiny fraction more or less fabric than I had allowed for then the panel would come out much too narrow or too wide once the error had been multipled by 14 tucks. Finally I cut a centre panel piece that was as wide as I’d calculated plus quite a bit extra, and just started making tucks from the centre until I got to about the right width. My tucks take up 3cm of fabric each, with a finished width of 1cm, and have a 1cm gap between them. It was not a quick process, especially as I was trying to be extremely accurate!

The long metal ruler was a great help, not least for checking the panel wasn’t pulled off grain when I laid it down to mark each tuck.

Straightening V1390 tucked panel

Measuring position of next tuck

Tucks need the foldline to be marked from the right side. I used black chalk in the hope that it wouldn’t show much if it didn’t brush off the fabric easily, but I still ended up washing the panel at the end to get all the chalk out. And the black dust made a terrible mess on my hands and the ironing board.
Chalked tuck position

Folding tuck and checking depth

Sewing tuck

Finished tuck

When I’d made enough tucks I laid the centre panel on top of the two panels it attaches to and compared with the lining pattern pieces to make sure I’d overlapped them at the right place to get the correct total width. Once adjusted for width I sewed on the side panels very close to the last tuck seam.

Tucked panel with sides attached

I realise now there was a good visual reason for the wider tucks in the pattern in that the width balances the untucked side panels better. But I’m committed now so we’ll see how it looks when the dress is made up. That might yet take a while. Better hope I still like the style as much when it’s finally done.

16 thoughts on “Tucks, pleats, and Vogue 1390

  1. Lovely- I’m a self-confessed tucka-holic. Mind you, I dodged them for years because I am not the precision sewist that you so clearly are. I can highly recommend my latest machine foot attchment though- the tuck marker. I couldn’t envisage why I might need such a complex looking gizmo, just to mark..er..tucks. It’s a ruddy joy to use though, once you’ve set up size and spacing, every single tuck is immaculately spaced AND the fold for the next one is marked via some clever little groovy thing.
    Wondrous to behold. I used it for the linen shirt I made for my wife, tucking sleves and pockets all over the place. I used the same approach as you though, and just made tucks until I got the pattern piece to thesize I wanted!
    This is a very nice pattern, I’m looking forward to the finished piece.

    1. Thanks for the tip, I’ll have to look out for one of those. I’m a sucker for sewing machine gadgets and it sounds a great deal faster than all the measuring and chalking.

  2. Gosh Catherine, you are so meticulous and so patient!

    I think it will be great. The contrast of the tuck size with the side panel looks good.

  3. Wow, those are some amazing tucks, so straight and even! I started a dress last year with a similar tucks panel. I used the same technique as you strting from the middle, but with less success than yours and now it’s become an UFO. Maybe once i see you wear yours I’ll be inspired to finish mine.

  4. Your beautifully precise sewing is a joy to behold! Are you using the same fabric for the rest of the dress or colour blocking as well as tucking?

  5. Lovely. And as ever you pick patterns that I wouldn’t have considered and make them come out splendidly. Well done on those tucks.

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