Sunday, 19 April 2015

Vogue 1152, Rebecca Taylor frocks and my good fortune in living where the climate encourages me to make Summer dresses well into Autumn

I was inspired by the Stashbusting group to stash bust a pattern or two from my extensive and aging collection.( As usual for my sewing plans at the moment I am a month late in following the theme for March).This Rebecca Taylor frock, Vogue 1152 has been on my to-do list since I saw a few gorgeous versions, about 2 years ago. As the season, if not the weather, is now Autumn, I thought I'd make a last-of-summer dress from this highly appealing pattern. The piping and gathering at the front waistline was definitely calling to me, although I was not entirely confident that I could carry off the gathered sleeves.
For this frock, I did not make a toile, having no throw-away fabric of the correct weight, instead chosing to use a somewhat boring fabric for a hopefully wearable first version (internet colour surprize). I read the garment ease numbers, held pattern pieces up to myself and my dress form and made a few choices based on pattern reviews, with not entirely felicitious results.

When checking the fit at the bust, it seemed to me that the centre bodice pattern piece was rather short. Being almost resigned to endless FBA and feeling that gravity may have been acting in this region, I added 5cm to the depth and crossed my fingers that the generous wearing ease would take care of any circumferential dimension issues.
However, I had failed to take account of the extension of the yoke to the front. I blame the pattern photo on the envelope. What business has all that hair on the model, and the busy print, obscuring the shoulder! I ended up with an empire waistline design sitting pretty much on the waist, which was a tad annoying.
I had fiddled around with the front neckline, raising it 5cm, and also fully lining the upper centre bodice piece rather than using facings.
This was quite successful, except that I hadn't quite raised the neckline sufficiently for my personal aesthetic, so I made a petticoat from the same fabric, using Burda Style 05- 2009-124 , which took care of modesty both by avoiding excessive skin exposure in this region and reversing the translucency of the fabric.
 I kept the high/low shirt tail hem, with a little more added to the front to both hit my knees (I have short legs, so this front hem is quite high as designed - it is difficult to believe that the dress worn by the probably 6 foot tall model on the envelope is made to the pattern length), and to reduce the difference between the front and the back, which I felt was a bit dramatic for me. I also shortened the elastic in the casing at the back to reduce the waist circumference of the garment, and added an third piece of elastic here to manage the gathers more evenly.
I did try the sleeves, thinking of this as a transeasonal garment, but I felt ridiculously puffy and juvenile with the volume at the shoulders. I much prefer the dress sleeveless. The armscyes on my versions are bound with self fabric bias, trimmed to 1/4 of an inch, then folded to the inside and topstitched.
I also used a mixture of felled seams (princess seams on bodice), french seams (side seams) and bias binding on the zip. I'm quite pleased with the finishing on the inside. 
This dress, even with an additional layer of petticoat, is floaty and cool to wear, being made of cotton voile, but I wasn't entirely happy with it due to the dull fabric and the waistline placement, so I made a second version.

This one has the advantage of a better waist placement, more personally appealing neckline depth and also a normal straight hem. Using a dark fabric, in lawn, rather than pale voile fabric, also means I do not necessarily need a petticoat, which makes the dress ideal for very hot days.
I wore this dress today for what my husband told me was the last day of Summer weather (tongue in cheek, to persuade me to accompany him on a necessary trip). After the dull and necessary activities we went to the beach at a tourist spot and had fish and chips for dinner. Perfect.
Stashbusting statistics, 3.5m beige voile print (2011) - all gone, yay!, 2.4 metres navy lawn print (2012)
scrap report 1.1 m of navy lawn left over


Sew, Jean Margaret said...

Such a beautiful dress. Elimination of the sleeves was a brilliant idea and has transformed the dress from slightly juvenile to very grown up and elegant.

Summer Flies said...

I think you are right in your judgement to omit the sleeves. It makes both dresses elegant and much more useful for our seasons (ha).

(I fear your husband is right with his weather forecast... I am loving the extended summer. I'm sitting here at 9.30pm in a halter dress at the end of April! )

Julie Culshaw said...

A lovely dress. It is perfect for you.

Sewingelle said...

Gorgeous dresses. so much better sleeveless. Those late afternoon beach photos are so evocative of wonderful summer evenings!

Jennifer C said...

Love your dress. I have this pattern sitting in my stash unmade, haven't found the right fabric

fabric epiphanies said...

What lovely dresses! The cut is perfect for a casual summer dress. Leaving off the sleeves was a great decision. I now want this pattern. It is sometimes hard to imagine a dress on a real person when the models are sticks. Great photos btw!

colesworth said...

Love this in the sleeveless version, I wonder how it would go as a maxi. I just tried out a dress with shirring all the way around and didn't really like it on me, but I like the way this one pulls in the centre at the front and back. Finishing off my last summery dress for the season this week ;o)

Tropical Threads said...

I like them both, and the one pictured on you on the beach is gorgeous.

You really do live in a beautiful part of Australia :-) that sounds like a beautiful way to finish off the day.

I have this pattern but not made it up. It's on the To Do One Day list.

But seeing yours, especially the second one, is making me want to put it on the Sew Very Soon list. Mind you I think the sleeves would be in my style very much. But if not I'll not hesitate to leave them off!

Gail said...

Lovely dress. I agree with others that leaving off those twee sleeves was a good move.

liza jane said...

Very, very pretty. This pattern survived my huge pattern stash cull because I like it so much. Not sure it's in my skill set yet, though. I bet it feels wonderful to wear in voile!

Audrey said...

I passed this pattern by as too young looking, but really without the puffy sleeves, it is a flattering and feminine look that could work for all ages. And so appropriate for barefoot beach stroll. I always enjoy the background surroundings in your photos.

Sharon said...

Very flattering dress and it looks lovely on you.