Slogging away

I’ve been busy for the last few weeks on this vintage Vogue pattern by Claude Montana, 1652 from 1985. I haven’t been able to find a photo of this one other than the pattern envelope, but it’s gloriously 80s.

The pattern envelope picture doesn’t show the back but those pleats in the sleeves are repeated on the hood.

I had a lot of trouble deciding on fabric for this. Depending on fabric it could vary between very dressy and very casual. I have a persistent mental image of this made up in grey sweatshirting with a brightly coloured lining, but I fear that would look too much like a dressing gown to be wearable out of the house; I don’t want to be thrown out of the supermarket for being improperly dressed. Aiming to avoid that effect I went for the polar opposite with satin backed crepe.

The dress is double layered in the hood and the deep front facings which turn out to form a lapel on the right front, and can be made in a contrast fabric. My plan was to use the satin side of the fabric as the contrast.

Cutting this out was a challenge. The pattern pieces are huge and asymmetric; it has to be cut on a single layer. In addition I hadn’t thought very carefully about my decision to use the wrong side of the fabric for the facings, and bought the amount of fabric required for the version of the dress without contrast facings. When I came to lay out the pattern pieces I realised that I needed extra length to cut the facings wrong side up. The fact that I’d also lengthened the dress by 10cm made it worse. Luckily Croft Mill had sent an exceptionally generous cut of fabric – there was something like an extra half metre – and I just managed it.

Here’s a closeup of those sleeve pleats. The sleeves on this dress are distinctly odd and I haven’t yet decided if it’s intentional design or just slightly annoying to wear. Maybe both? I measured the sleeve and decided they would probably come up long, but lengthened them anyway because self doubt, which is why my trousers have very deep hems.

I’m glad I added the length because even with the extra the sleeves seem to settle with the cuffs higher than I’d expect. Looking at the pattern photo I am still not sure what the intended length is. The model in the photo has her sleeves pushed up to accommodate her long gloves, and the one in the sketch has one arm partly behind her back and the other one so foreshortened by the angle that I can’t tell where the sleeve ends.

Here’s the back of the hood. This pattern is very difficult to get a sense of on a dress form. It needs a head and arms to sit right.

But as yet the facings and closures aren’t attached so this is the best I can do. There’s a lot still to do, including making a narrow hem all the way around the front edges in fabric that doesn’t press nicely. I may be some time on this one.

33 thoughts on “Slogging away

    1. Oh wow, that is a very cute dress. Not a pattern company I know, but I’ve just been browsing and they have some great designs so thanks for the link.

      I like the idea of the neon facings. Are they similar weight fabric to the shell?

      1. I love Made It patterns; modern athleisure and good stuff for kids (nothing twee). I made the dress (minus the hood) in pale green and love it.

        My dress has is thick sweating and the facings are ribbing. However this makes the sleeves too tight to roll up (I roll up all my sleeves), but it’s fun on the hem as its longer at the back so you can see the neon.

    2. The pleats on your pattern make more sense than the pleats on the Montana garment. The Montana pleats look great on the drawing but thinking about them, they seem to be on the wrong side of the sleeve. No wonder they feel weird to wear.

  1. I’m still trying to shake off the mental image of people being thrown out of the supermarket by the fashion police! Are the shoulder pads in yet? The size of the shoulder pads this calls for, they might pull the sleeve cuff up another inch or more. From the drawing on the right, I think it is supposed to be a full-length sleeve that ends at the wrist bone. I’m going by where her arm is compared to her thigh. If the sleeve is any shorter than wrist length, her fingers would be grazing her knee, which is not a typical arm length. The sketch was probably drawn by someone who has trouble drawing hands.

    1. In the UK a few years ago one of the supermarket chains decided to take a stand against people shopping in their pyjamas and announced they’d be denied entry. I don’t know if they ever actually threw anyone out of a shop but it got a lot of press coverage.

      I haven’t put the pads in yet, you’re right that’ll make more difference.

  2. You have made me curious to know more about Claude Montana. Quite a sad story, but often talent is accompanied by sad stories. Love the design, looking forward to the finished item.

  3. Amazing as usual Catherine. I love seeing your challenges and how you puzzle your way through the details and changes you need to make. It always surprises me when you don’t like your end product because I always think they look incredible but I guess I’m not wearing them and they’ve got to be comfortable, right?

    1. Thanks! I’m on the fence about this one right now but hoping it’ll be better when finished. I do want to wear it; I searched for the pattern for ages!

  4. Really looking forward to seeing you model this make. I may have cut the sleeves longer in 2 places, above and below the pleats but it depends on how long your arms are. I do this adjustment most of the time, especially when some sort of darts or pleats are involved. In the pattern description it should tell you the sleeve length. If it reads bracelet length, long sleeve, etc then that’s what it is. Vogue has always been good at that along with fit…close fit, loose fit, very loose fit, etc. They actually have a table of how many inches of ease that allows in each category. I think this will look amazing on you. I found a US supplier of a fantastic shoulder pad-thr same ones Armani uses in jackets. The Sewing Workshop just started carrying them. If they won’t ship to you (if you love them) I can get them and send them on. I think it may be what you need for these styles.

    1. Thanks! The pattern description says ‘long sleeves’ so I’m guessing they really are meant to be full length. I’ve found a pair of very thick shoulder pads on eBay for this particular dress, but thank you very much for the offer – those are a lovely shape

  5. I made this as a raincoat ,Catherine ,which I love wearing.( posted on IG in a October 2019 @sarahjw70 ) I sewed the facings and hood lining in the usual way( right sides together) and then topstitched, which might be easier with your fabric.

    1. Now that’s a fabric I would not have thought to use for this design, but it looks like it worked very well! I like that you added pockets too. I’m planning to rely on a belt bag with mine but if I ever make this again in a stable knit I might do pockets

  6. My cousin recently wore a similar coat but without the drama of the big drape at the front. Her coat is from Japan made in a grey French fleece with giant snaps as closures. Absolutely delectable. The fashion Police at the supermarket would follow you around, slavering at the mouth from seeing such beauty. You probably don’t feel like making another one right away but don’t be afraid of grey French fleece if you want to try another version.

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