It made a nice change to get the chance to make something fancier that evoked a feeling of, dare I say, Spring…..as I sit here looking out at snow and fog… This dress was my contribution to the cocktails part of the Day and Night Dress Challenge in which I was part of the blogging team and I’m going to expand a bit more on my making process here.
First off, I found it so tricky to settle on a pattern for my dress and changed my mind about a thousand times. I had to be firm with myself because from time to time I flirted with the idea of a fuller skirt, but as experience tells me, I simply don’t feel quite like ‘me’ in full skirts. I needed a sleeker straight silhouette. Enter Vogue 1518 It’s a Zandra Rhodes design and I’ve always had a soft spot for the eccentric and super talented designer. To me, her and Vivienne Westwood are like fashion royalty. National treasures if you will. I was very excited to try out one of Zandra’s designs.
The blurb on the Vogue website said that the pattern required a lightweight fabric such as georgette and so the hunt began. Minerva crafts came to the rescue metaphorically speaking, when I happened upon this lovely fabric that came in 3 different colourways. To me, the pattern almost reminds me of some of the beautiful painterly designs that Zandra does especially with how the bands of pattern change as they go up the fabric. It looks like a beautiful soft watercolour painting. Clearly, I was sold hook line and sinker, so in a blink of an eye I added to cart and clicked on ‘go to checkout’…job done! By the way, at the time of writing this, the fabric is still in stock on Minerva’s website 😉
I’ve only made up a couple of Vogue patterns in the last year. One was my red velvet dress and the other was my blue trench coat. Both of those patterns were a fabulous fit and I had very few, if any, problems with sizing. I always cut Vogue patterns on a size 10 around the shoulders and a 12 or more at my waist as I’m a bit straight. This Zandra Rhodes pattern was no different. I found the fit and drafting to be spot on. The bust dart was a decent depth and the back and front hung nicely balanced, with the shoulder line being nice and neat.
I really love how this dress is put together. There is a lining that starts just above the underarm which goes down to the hem. This means that the top part is left sheer. You literally encase the top sheer yoke sections between the lining and main body fabric, then the sleeves are sewn in afterwards. For my lining, I used a really soft and lightweight cotton lawn in white to help make the colours pop as it shows through the slightly sheer fabric
Talking of sleeves…these are pretty special and make a pretty full-on statement, don’t you think? We seem to be heading into the second ‘Year of the Sleeve’ so I was game to try something a bit different. This is what the pattern shape looks like……I know… that’s exactly what I thought when I saw it…oyyy!
There are deep horizontal folds and the sleeve crown is also gathered. There was no way to approach this other than to mark everything verrrrry carefully. I hand basted each line accurately and took note of which dots had to meet with each other. The extra time spent really paid off though and it worked a treat. It’s at this point that I should tell you that every seam apart from the armholes are french seams. Consequently, there was a bit of extra bulk to deal with down the underarm seams of the seams, though it was fine with careful trimming and I enjoyed the process. Now, the pattern instructions for the sleeve crown ask you to make an extra semi-circle shaped gathered piece that gets sewn into the armhole seam to make the sleeve head stand up and look extra poufy. I completely omitted this as my shoulders are fairly square and I didn’t need the volume., however, I’m thinking that someone with narrow sloped shoulders would like the proportion balancing effect that it might give if you did include them.
I love the little details on this dress. Across the yoke seam on the outside, the instructions ask you to do a satin stitch detail. At first, I wondered if I should even bother with it, but then I thought, well ‘in for a penny, in for a pound’…so I tried it and I actually love the effect. There are also lovely narrow bias bound edges around the neckline and down the back slit opening. There are little neat button loops at the back too. It all looks so delicate and suits the nature of the fabric.
An invisible zip runs down the side of the dress and the dress and lining hems are finished with the teeny tiniest of machine stitched hems. I used the same hemming technique on this pussy bow blouse and if you click on the link I’ve written instructions in the post for how to do it.
One last little detail that I didn’t add to the dress was a small pleated ruffle that is stitched around the lower edge of the dress about 3 inches up from the hemline. If I could have found some chiffon in the same light olive shade as my satin stitching I might have done it but I looked high and low to no avail. Besides, with the fabric design, it would most likely have been overkill. I can imagine it would look fab on a plain fabric though.
I feel really glam in this dress and I wore it out to Valentine’s Day dinner. I can vouch for the fact that it’s very comfy and meal friendly too. It needed to be with the amount of food I devoured that evening! Oh, and by the way as it was a chilly night I didn’t wear the sandals and bare legs seen in these photos…I would have frozen to death. Instead, I wore flesh coloured sheer tights and pale dove grey ankle boots…it looked pretty cool! I think I’m sold on Vogue 1518 🙂
Do you sew with sheer fabrics much? Let me know in the comments, or feel free to ask questions. I only have a couple of items in sheer fabrics, but it makes a nice change and if you use a fine Microtex needle they aren’t as tricky to sew as you think.
Thanks for stopping by. Until next time…
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