Utterly impractical sewing

Remember this? It’s a old Vogue designer pattern I bought earlier in the year because it is everything I love about the 80s.

It hasn’t just been sitting in my pattern collection; I am actually making it up. It’s been quite a journey so far and it’s not done yet. But I have finally got it to the point where it looks like a dress, so I thought I’d post some progress pictures.

The pattern envelope does not lie. The shoulders are seriously wide. Consequently the waist looks tiny. It hasn’t got shoulder pads in yet either, so those shoulders are going to be even bigger when it’s done.

The hip pocket flaps form amazing sticky out fins when the dress is on a body or dress form. My other half said it reminded him of a 50s Cadillac. Underneath them are welt pockets.

The fabric is gaberchino. It needs to be something that is drapey enough for the pleats in the bodice back but has enough body to make the more structured details. I’ve used a lot of interfacing to beef it up in places.

Here’s a better view of the shoulder and neck. The pins are holding the armscye facing in place as I haven’t topstitched it yet.

And here is the back; there is a lot going on there. There are going to be buttons and button holes on the upper back bands and at the collar and the back half-belt. My dress form has a much shorter waist than I do so it won’t be quite so blousy on me.

I still need to add insets under the arms, do a ton of topstitching, put the shoulder pads in, and make all those buttonholes. Oh and hem it, too. There is loads of work in this and that’s without making any effort to make the insides look nice – the pattern doesn’t call for anything special there so it’s all overlocked seam allowances. It’s a wonderful pattern though; beautifully drafted and full of interesting details. It’s been a lot of fun to sew.

I’m coming to the conclusion that the end result is going to be less wearable than I’d originally thought, what with the high neck and the very narrow skirt. But it will be a spectacular dress for going out somewhere fancy in, if we ever get to do that again. And when I finish it I will do my best to get some good photos…I’d better look up some 80s makeup inspiration.

25 thoughts on “Utterly impractical sewing

  1. This is going to be wonderful, I can’t wait to see it on you. Such a super pattern, I remember when it first came out.

  2. This dress is so you! From the high elegant neck to the narrow lower part. You have the height to model this beautifully and I predict you will ” find” an occasion to wear !

  3. This is so incredibly awesome!! I personally love sewing up the old Vogue Individualist patterns, and had quite a few crazy Claude Montana garments rotating through my closet back in the day. It is going to look totally amazing on you. Yay for impractical fun sewing and great patterns.

  4. Wow, this is a real statement of a dress. I especially love the stick-out pocket “fins”and your welt pockets look fantastic. I’m finding I’m drawn to making some impractical occasion wear. I’ve resisted well so far. I think the lack of seasonal party invites on the horizon is somehow to blame. I’ve never actually wanted to make a party outfit before this year!

    1. I hadn’t really thought about that but the Christmas season is going to be weird without the usual parties…it’s also strange to have had several colleagues move on from work and not be able to have a leaving party for them. Some things you can’t do over video chat!

  5. I absolutely love this dress it is amazing! I’m sure it its going to look fab on you. I can’t wait to see the finished result.

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