Finished - A fair proportion of Vogue 8901 in chambray, plus umbrella

It's the first frock of the year - and proof that I can still (pretty much) fit and make a woven bodice AND install an invisible zip. I was beginning to wonder amidst all my slacker 'repeat offender' and 'knits knits knits' sewing of 2014 whether I had it in me. Apologies for the creases. I'd been wearing this much of today and braved our mini monsoon to duck outside for some quick pics. 




This is Vogue 8901. Well parts of it anyway. I first saw this pattern last year and fell deeply in love with the amazing striped maxi version on the McCall website.  I loved the elegant kimono sleeves of View C and the unusual lack of side seams.  It is rather similar in silhouette to the BHL Anna dress I suppose but for some reason the Anna just never really appealed to me (despite the many lovely versions out there). So when Spotty had an unprecedented $5 Vogue sale late last year (full price this kid retails for close to $20!) I snapped this up.


Images from Vogue Patterns
After the success of my denim shift for cool weather wear I was determined to make an equally chic and wearable summer denim or chambray dress. I picked up some beautiful indigo Japanese chambray cotton at the Fabric Store in November and after seeing a client in a lovely lightweight denim kimono sleeve dress I had my inspiration.


Initially I was going to be lazy, and use my much-made Butterick 5211 pattern, but with such a simple fabric I really needed some more details. I wanted a waist seam, pockets and some sort of cool but subtle detailing like unusual seaming or top stitching. I decided the bodice of V8901 would be perfect with the overlapping side pieces, but being me I was not content to follow the pattern as is. I didn't want to line it, and I didn't want a full skirt. 

I made a toile of the bodice, cutting a size 6 neckline, 10 shoulders and grading up to the 12 bust and waist as per my measurements. Apart from lowering the waist dart a cm or so I thought the fit was pretty spot on, but now with the finished garment I can see that I could do with taking a couple of darts out of the back neckline to reduce gaping, and that bust dart could go down a little lower (but the bra I'm wearing is not one of my better ones so that's not too much of a drama).


Instead of lining the bodice I simply finished the side seams with a narrow hem after sewing the front and back together at the shoulders. I drafted a nice deep neck facing and top stitched it down about 5cm in from the neckline. I really like neck facings that are top stitched down. It's far less faffing than using bias, and I like making a feature of the top stitching too (although it's pretty hard to spot on this chambray). 

The skirt is from the Colette Peony. Due to slight bodice size mismatching I had some extra ease in the skirt so instead of just gathering at the two designated points I gathered across the entire skirt centre front between the gathering points. I altered the pockets to be able to catch them in the waistband. They're a little high but still functional. 


I liked the idea of the front and back pieces of the bodice just overlapping each other and only being joined at the waist (which is how the pattern is drafted) but in reality it's not a particularly flattering look (interestingly if you pop back up to look at the lovely stripes you'll notice the model and her hair have been strategically positioned to disguise this - cheeky!). They gape/sag pretty dramatically, and I can't imagine that there'd be many bodies that wouldn't be at risk of a serious boobage flash. Apart from the flashing the drooping of the fabric adds unflattering bulk at the side rib cage just under the armpit - it's very frumpy. I remedied this by tacking them to each other invisibly with a few hand stitches from the wrong side. Some sewists have complained about bra being visible under the armpits. My bra sides are fairly narrow, so I don't have that issue - but no doubt the tacking down of the two pieces helps. It's certainly a nice airy feature on a hot day!

The front neckline is quite high, even though I used the neckline of the smallest size. I ended up lowering it even further (annoyingly after doing the facing and top stitching) at the centre front and it feels so much better. 

I'm a bit frustrated by the skirt/zipper insertion. I'm probably being picky but it does drag slightly just at the top of the skirt, which hasn't occurred on my peony dress. But I am very well pleased with how well I've lined up my waist seam and neckline on inserting the zip. It's absolutely 100% due to hand basting the second side before sewing. Literally 3 minutes of quick hand sewing to prevent unpicking angst. So worth it!


I'm also delighted by all my lovely overlocked edges and very nice and tidy neckline. The inside of this thing is beyootiful! 

I'm quite happy with the finished frock but not madly over the moon. The more I wear it, the more I like it, and being so simple it's sure to be a regular summer staple for me, and I'll probably jazz it up with a narrow belt when I feel like being fancy. If I was to make it again I'd do slanted pockets instead, take out the back neck gape and maybe even try a more fitted pleated skirt.

And so despite the recent mental Melbourne weather I continue on with my summer sewing plans..... I've got shorts, another frock or two, tees and some camisoles on my list - what's on yours?
 



Comments

  1. So pretty, loving the side seams! Prefer your version to the pattern envelope dress.

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  2. Gorgeous dress, I love the overlapping side seams! The partially gathered skirt looks awesome, its really flattering. I think It would look really modern and sleek with a pencil or pegged skirt too. I wish I had figured out about hand basting half of a zip in earlier, its what I did for my striped Flora dress and it worked much better than anything else I've tried!

    As for what I've got on my sewing list, a Victoria Blazer and a few more Scouts. I think I may be developing a Scout Problem...

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    1. Thanks - it's a good trick to use if want a gathered skirt without bulk over the hips. And there's no judgement here re Scout Problems. You know I love repeat offenders.

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  3. Those bodice side seams are really interesting but I reckon your fix is the best bet. How would it not gape and make the bodice look ill fitted if left loose? Hmmm... Love the dress and well done on that zipper. I've also started tacking them in. I used to be too impatient but now I'm with you. I hate unpicking dodgy zipper insertions!. I'm at the hemming point of my latest make so hope to blog later this week. Let's just say it's a bit "louder" than yours... You know me and prints. P.S. I'll get that leather in the post tomorrow!

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    1. Haha I look forward to the loudness. And the leather - yay!

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  4. It's lovely! I've been waiting for a Vogue sale over here to snap up this pattern, the side view is so pretty. Would the crossover be more flattering (not that yours is unflattering) in a drapier fabric? I see the recommended fabric is crepe de chine. I might even try it in a stable knit...

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    1. Thanks Katie. I did wonder whether my fabric choice made it worse but you know I've seen a few other versions on the interwebs and they all have that billowing there even in nice drapey fabrics. To be fair I have not seen the kimono sleeve version made up so maybe the sleeveless bodice would balance it out. All I can say is make a toile!

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  5. I love it! … I bet you’ll get lots of wear out of this dress!. The side construction is very interesting but I can see why you needed to tack the edges together - the only scenario I can imagine it wouldn’t be a problem is beachwear!
    p.s I like your skirt waaaay better :)

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  6. Really great dress. I could see wearing this all the time!

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    1. Thanks so much. Twice in one week is a good sign!

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  7. Great dress! I do love that clever side *seam* in the bodice, or overlap. But I hear what you are saying about the way it would sit.

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    1. Yeah the flashing really doesn't worry me that much - I'd just wear a camisole, it's the unflattering volume there that I was disappointed with.

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  8. I love those side seams! The color of the fabric is gorgeous. Great job!

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  9. This looks really lovely on you! I bet it will get tons of wear!

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  10. Great fabric and those side seams are fancy!

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    1. Thanks Caroline! I was so pleased when I found the fabric - it's so beautiful.

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  11. I never would have noticed those cool side seams! (Although maybe that's intentional on Vogue's part?) I love how it looks. I wonder if elastic could be used in some way to keep the gaping to a minimum?

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    1. Yeah just a shame I had to flash my bingo wings to show you! Not sure about elastic... Maybe you could run it down the seam.... I really should take another pic - I actually busted one of my little stitches vacuuming and its sagging away now....

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  12. I love the side seams too. It's the simple design features that set a garment apart.

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    1. Thanks Gail - that's what I thought!

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  13. Very cute dress! I love what you did with the gathering on the front of the skirt. I also really like the look of the side seams, but I could see how they would be problematic. I agree that this does look sort of like the BHL Anna (which has never really appealed to me either for some reason) - and it could be a great alternative!

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    1. Thanks Katie - the skirt is definitely growing on me!

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  14. I think this is lovely - I'm glad it's growing on you! I've been meaning to make a denim dress for the last 2 summers, and of course not doing it. Maybe this year will be the year!

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    1. Thanks so much Gail. Go on - I can see you in a denim emery for sure!

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  15. This looks great (and don't be so hard on yourself with the zipper!!). I love the tacking in of the side seams and the targetted gathering of the front.

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    1. Thanks So much Kirsty! I'm being a bit of a nit picker really.....

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  16. Oh, I like your version so much more than the original! That fabric is just perfect for a simple summer dress; it just looks effortlessly stylish. No need for sneaky hair posing here! That Spotlight Vogue sale was a good one - I snaffled a few that month too :) Now I just need the time and leisure to get started on them (am trying to be very diligent and finish off all UFOs and the mending pile before embarking on any new projects. Not nearly as fun though!)

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    1. Thanks so much! Gosh my mending/refashion/ironing basket is so out of control.... You've so much more discipline than I! Hope your pattern arrives soon....

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  17. What a lovely dress. A perfectly flattering fit on you and a good wardrobe builder to boot. Oh, and those shoes are awesome!

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    1. Thanks Andrea! I do love my clogs beyond what is reasonable.....

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  18. Your dress is lovely! I'm glad you pointed out those interesting side seams, I wouldn't have noticed the pattern otherwise. They do look pretty cool :)

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    1. Thanks Carolyn, They haven't exactly drawn them so they stand out....

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