Probable failure: Vogue 1268

Not every sewing project works out well. Here is a recent failure: Vogue 1268 in green fake suede fabric. You might be thinking it’s pretty strange to make a long-sleeved, lined, polyester dress in summer and you’d be right. Not all stash-busting is a good idea. And that was only the first mistake.

V1268 is a Guy Laroche designer pattern that came out a few years ago. The envelope photo is below. It’s got an unusually baggy top half, and all the reviews of the pattern that I’ve found mention that the bodice runs very long. After reading the reviews I checked the back length on the pattern tissue. It has a handy marking to show how much blousing there’s meant to be, and it’s a very generous amount. If you remove the blousing allowance then the back length matches the Vogue measurement chart, to which I’d normally add 5cm, but given the reviewers’ comments I left the bodice length alone and added about 5cm to the skirt length instead. I also added side seam pockets, hem facings, and tweaked the lining pattern so I could do a bagged lining with the skirt lining completely attached to the hem and front facings. The original dress has a raw hem on the shell fabric and the lining is hemmed separately and attached to the dress at the front facings and waist seam. 

Here’s the back view. I didn’t do a good job on pressing the hem but let’s ignore that for now. There’s a bit of pulling at the back hip which I notice is present on Vogue’s model too. The waist is close-fitting. I made my usual size (for Vogue this is one size down from what the size chart indicates) and while it’s not uncomfortable there isn’t a lot of expansion room at the waist. I probably should have traced a size bigger. This seems to be happening more and more with Vogue for me despite checking the finished garment measurements before cutting. But overall the back isn’t bad.

But now look at it from the side. The right bodice front is much too long and sags unattractively over the waist seam. There is no sign of this in the pattern photo, but the model’s shoulders are amazingly square. Could there be shoulder pads in there? I could swear the pattern doesn’t mention them. It might explain why the sleeves are a bit longer on me than the model too.

I thought about trying to take up the extra length at the waist seam but the slanting shape of the right skirt front means this involves losing width in the wrap, and I really don’t like wrap dresses with a skimpy overlap. I finished the dress in the hope that it would be wearable in the end despite the bodice, but I’m pretty dubious now I’ve tried it on.
On the good side: my bagged lining worked perfectly. Behold the entirely machine-finished hem/facing/lining junction! And just ignore the lack of pressing.

There are other good things about this make. The sleeves went in easily, which was good because the fake suede does not like to be eased, and they are comfortable to wear with a good range of motion. I like the cuffs too. In fact if I’d shortened the bodice front on the pattern in advance I think I’d be really pleased with the result. 

I’m going to hang onto the dress until the autumn as I don’t think I’ll know how truly wearable it is until cold weather comes along. My hopes are not high but perhaps the magic wardrobe will transform it in the next few months.

Kielo wrap dress with secret pockets

Kielo wrap dress front view full length

This is the Kielo wrap dress from Named Clothing that it seems like everyone’s made this summer. Understandably: it’s flattering, comfortable, and very quick to sew. I bought the pattern when I saw Laura’s lovely version, and ended up even copying the colour she chose.

I hadn’t made a Named pattern before and as my pre-pregnancy measurements fall between two sizes on their chart I made the larger of the two. This was a mistake as the finished dress is slightly too big for me. If you look closely the bust darts are too long, the armsyce is rather too deep, and the back is baggy. Not that any of that has stopped me wearing it a lot. It got five or six wears before it even got photographed for the blog. Another thing to be aware of is the length. The patterns are drafted for fairly tall people to start with, but according to the chart I still should have added two inches. After measuring the pattern I didn’t bother, as if it was much longer I’d be tripping over the hem. I love a pattern I don’t have to add length to.

I bought the PDF version of the pattern. I normally avoid PDF patterns, but this one comes with a non-overlapped copy shop version which makes it as easy to use as an envelope pattern – just print it out and cut. A nice touch is that the PDF is layered with one layer per size, so if you fit into a single size (and I think many people would in this dress as it’s only fitted at the bust) you can print off just the layer with your size on it and not have to worry about which line to cut out on.

Here’s the back view. Although the dress is quite narrow the long vent makes it easy to walk in. I should have taken those darts in a bit.Kielo back view

 

The only pattern adjustments I did were to make the ties slightly longer and to add inseam pockets. The pockets were very easy to do: I drew shapes on the pattern something like this, and then traced them off as a separate pattern piece.

 

Kielo line art with pockets

They aren’t the roomiest pockets but they’re a good deal better than nothing. Reality in blogging: I’ve got my keys in them in all the pictures in this post which you can see if you look hard. Another time I’d position them further up the side seam, away from the ties and closer to the armscye. This would make them a lot easier to access.

Kielo wrap dress pockets

The fabric requirements given for the dress are very generous. The pattern says 205cm of 150cm wide fabric for the size I made, but I got mine out of 150cm (and because I always buy a little extra fabric to accomodate length adjustments, I now have enough over for another garment). The fabric I used is a single knit viscose-elastane blend from Tissu Fabrics. They have it in a few different colours. This one is the sea green. At the time of writing it is still available. It’s easy to sew with and has got very good drape; here’s a shot of the dress in motion.

Kielo wrap dress action shot

This isn’t my best sewing. I was in a great hurry to get the dress made and ended up stretching out the neckline and armscyes when applying the binding. And I finished the hem with a very unprofessional zig-zag stitch because I didn’t want to have to wind an extra bobbin to use with a twin needle.

Despite the wrong size and the careless finishing I really like the final result. I’m tempted to make it again in a chiffon fabric to wear over a slip like the sample on the Named website. One thing that does puzzle me is that the instructions say to use a fabric with 20-60% stretch, and I’ve never encountered a chiffon with anything like that degree of stretch. I’ve seen several successful versions on other blogs in drapey non-stretch woven fabrics so I might just try regular chiffon and stick with the larger size. I’ve got a beautiful large-scale chiffon print in green, black and white that’s been lurking in the stash for years that could work for this.

Kielo 3/4 view

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That’s no wrap dress, it’s a space station

I finally finished my wrap dress. It is a copy of a Vivienne Westwood dress I had for many years and wore until it wasn’t fit to be seen. The style is no longer available so the only solution was to make my own version. It has a lovely asymmetric collar detail. The left collar extends into a flap which tucks though a buttonhole on the right collar. If you wear it tucked, as below, you get a keyhole effect.



But it also works well worn open.



Here are some side views. Hopefully you can just about see that the front hem corners are curved and that there’s a wide line of top-stitching around the edges holding the facings firmly in place. Installing the facings was a bit of a nervous moment as they go the whole way round the dress, including the hem and the neckline. You sew the facings together in a loop and hope you were accurate with seam allowances and it’ll actually be the right length to fit onto the dress. I was very relieved when mine went on smoothly.






The back of the dress is fairly plain by comparison.



If anyone’s wondering about the post title, the Liberty print this dress is made from resembles the Death Star when viewed close up.

Despite the science fiction inspiration, I think the final effect is more vintage than modern. I’m no fashion historian but it it feels a bit 1930s to me. The sort of thing you might wear to take tea with the vicar in Agatha Christie or PG Wodehouse. Not the kind of event I regularly have to dress for! But this will get plenty of wear for fixing computers and teaching maths.