Monday, 10 October 2011

Vogue 8513, a dress of less success

I like Gail's idea of Frocktober. At this time of year I usually feel that I do not have sufficient dresses with sleeves.
Unfortunately, I seem to have started Frocktober with an excess of virtue.
This pattern was one I bought from BMV in order to make my order up to 7 patterns. In my personal sewing accounting system, I cannot buy 6 patterns if the inflated postage to Australia is the same level for 4-7 patterns. (The postage cost is about twice the US post sticker price on the delivered envelope). I did not read any reviews of the pattern before I purchased it. I should have. It was printed in 2008, and is allegedly a dress pattern for moderate stretch knits, with a fitted bodice and below knee skirt. There is no photograph on the envelope. Sewing for about 25 years has not yet taught me that I should be very wary of Big4 patterns with no photographs. I must be a slow learner.
The fabric was a purchase from Fabric mart. Early this year my husband arranged a short term freight forward address so that he could buy a part for a woodworking machine that is not available in Australia, so naturally I had to buy some fabric from a shop that does not ship to Australia to take advantage of this arrangement. (My sewing accounting system thinks that this is a money saving strategy) I quite liked the inexpensive Shetland wool I purchased to make 2 coats (neither of which quite made my winter sewing)(see how I save money by buying fabric?) but this rayon lycra knit was an internet surprise - I think there is a fair bit of poly in the rayon, the fabric is a bit shiny, and the polka dots are not only much larger than I expected, but multicoloured, not white. It reminds me of clowns.
After all this whinging, you are probably not surprised to hear that I am not very impressed with the outcome of this project.
I have no explanation for using a fabric I don't much like, with a pattern I almost threw out after reading the two not-very-pleased reviews at Pattern review. I do not know what I was thinking - other than that I had nothing to lose. However, a certain daughter told me whilst I was tracing out a wrap dress from the latest Burda that I had too many wrap dresses. I am easily influenced :).
My first rendition of the dress had elbow length sleeves and was just below the knee, version B.
I did not make the dress exactly to the pattern.
I did not line it, raised the neckline 7cm, made a square shoulder adjustment, used clear elastic at the hem and gathered neckline, bound the neck and attached the belt only at the back so that I could tie it to the side rather than centrally.
The dress was extremely dowdy.
I chopped off the sleeves, made the skirt length just above the knee, and sewed a lettuce edge hem with the overlocker to add a bit of movement to the dress. I was more pleased with it after these changes, but you can see in the end of the day photo that the fabric has grown with wear, as the skirt is below the knee again. The design feature of gathers at the front does not stay in place in real life in this fabric. This may be an unfelicitous combination of fabric and pattern, but I don't think I would be bothered making this dress again, as it is also horribly fattening, even when arranged with the gathers sitting at the centre front. I have made the dress one size smaller than my measurements, with no FBA, and the "fitted" bodice has a nasty matronly blousing effect above the waist.

It looks even worse with my favourite cardigan, which is the same shade as some of the dots. Oh dear.
Unfortunately, this dress has several advantages, so I probably won't throw it out nearly soon enough.
1. It does not wrinkle
2. It covers my arms
3. It is currently unstained, unfaded and new looking.
4. It is not a wrap dress
I may need to pay a bit more attention to my transitional season wardrobe.
At least I have used up most of the dubious fabric and dutifully tried this pattern. I might have to break out some too-good-to-use fabric in my recovery from this sows ear.


Kelley said...

I must not have very good taste or you have included misleading photos, but I really like this one. I even like it with the cardigan.

Kathy said...

And there is me just thinking how nice it looks! I guess my taste is all in my mouth, too.

sewing spots said...

I think it is a pretty dress and turned out well. Good advice about buying patterns!

shams said...

lol. You are so funny, Karen. Sorry you aren't happy with this dress, but at least it wasn't precious fabric. Glad you worked out a way to order from FM, even if it's rarely. :)

Audrey said...

Ah well, we all have projects like this one occasionally. Though I, like some of the other commenters, thought the dress looked nice.
I liked the fact that the polka dots were multicolored, but wondered where all the vertical gathers in the center bodice are on your dress are. I can't see them in the photos. I don't understand the concept of "too many wrap dresses". If they are look good, are comfortable and fit your lifestyle, how can you have too many? That's what my sons say when I question the number of T-shirts they have.

Mary Nanna said...

the fabric is a whole lot of fun, and a trip to the magic wardrobe might improve this dress considerably. I think it looks kind of cute myself.

I often seem to make things that remind me of clown wear (fossorating, the technical term). Loud prints, big buttons, dramatic collars, they all tend to a particular theme. Last time I made a jacket that reminded me of a circus suit my sister warned me off bright makeup and pointy shoes.

Anonymous said...

I think your dress is cute, but can absolutely relate to how you feel about it--I felt much the same after making my version. ;-) I'm using the considerable amount of fabric as muslin for other knit projects now, since it's too big.

kbenco said...

Thanks for the soothing comments. Maybe it is not quite as bad as I am thinking :). However, I feel very fat in this dress, which is not conducive to pulling it out of the wardrobe.(Vanity, vanity)
Audrey, the gather situation is something I find rather annoying. The gathers at the front are a)not as many as appear in the illustration and b) seem to spread out to the sides rather than staying central. This might be due to the lack of FBA,or maybe the slightly slippery fabric, but as the bodice is really loose at the sides even when I arrange the gathers to sit centrally, I feel the side slippage is at least partly due to the drafting. I used clear elastic to stabilize the gathers, where the pattern has a stretch fabric stay, so maybe it is more my fault than I am admitting. Perhaps I will insert a stay.

katherine h said...

Do you want to know what I think happened? By shortening the sleeves and raising the neckline, you eliminated 2 very strong vertical features in the design.

Low, narrow necklines create a vertical eyeline, so even though modesty may want you to raise the neckline, it does make the style less flattering. I actually think that by keeping the neckline narrow, we can wear deeper necklines than you may have previously thought was modest.

If you wanted to save it, I would try cutting a deeper neckline (without adding neckline width if possible) and rebinding the neck. You could consider sewing down the front pleats into a position you liked; even sewing them part way down could help.

And if you prefer a shorter hem, it is always possible to go shorter!

I think this dress has potential and is worth saving.

Handmade said...

I love your sewing accounting system - your rationale is flawless! Well, the dress looks fine in the photos - I hope your grow to like it.

Sue said...

Frustrating to order fabric on-line and it is not as expected. However I am with you, I still use it, even though you know you won't like it. My solution is to wear the dress a couple of times, convince myself I really don't like it and move it on. There are always people out there who like a good clown print!

Gail said...

I've been buying my own batches of 7 on BMV too. I don't mind the dress as much as you do and am glad that someone else is doing Frocktober too. I would take off the self tie belt and add a white or red belt and don't think me rude, lose the brown shoes. Red shoes!

Handmade said...

Karen, thanks for the comment on my dress - I bought my Crinoline through Greenfields in Sydney - but Spotlight may have it - if you ever need any let me know!!