Is it still stashbusting when the fabric has only been in your stash for 3 weeks? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Luckily the pattern at least was unearthed from cold storage, where it has lain lo these many (well, maybe three) years. In what I think is the true spirit of the Pattern Review Pattern Stash Contest, I’m making up old patterns that I’ve remained really excited about, even though I’ve for whatever reason not ever turned them into garments. Usually that reason is that I’ve never found just the right fabric for them. That was certainly the case with poor Vogue 1179. I really liked this pattern, and had the perfect, beautiful silk jersey for it, purchased a few years ago at Michael Levine… where I didn’t notice that it was only 45 inches wide, and therefore I did not, in fact, buy enough for this dress. So into the stash box/pile they both went.
But as I was sifting through the pattern box for oldies but goodies, I pulled it out, and immediately my eye was drawn to the turquoise poly knit on top of the pile of my recent LA haul. You know, that fabric I bought with no project in mind at all? The fabric I assumed would be the last of the haul I’d get around to? Yeah, well, suddenly it had to be this dress. right. now.
This pattern, along with the ubiquitous 1250, were the popular 3-piece Vogue designer dresses that everyone and their mother were making a year or two ago. And with good reason – who doesn’t want to whip out a dress in a day? I certainly do. I washed and cut the fabric one day, and sewed it all the next, though certain fiddly bits did keep me at it for more than just the couple hours the three pattern pieces would seem to indicate it should take.
I started off quite well, whipping out the five pleats at the neckline in record time. Sidebar: does anyone actually do pleats as instructed by the pattern companies? These instructions would have you “crease” along the line with small circles (how do you crease poly jersey, pray tell?), bring the crease to the other line, then baste on top of the pleat close to the crease. What? I just fold along the middle of the pleat and baste down the marked lines. I don’t generally even mark the lines on my fabric, I just baste straight down from my clip marks a little ways. Then I unfold the piece and press the pleat in whatever direction is indicated by the instruction illustration and baste across the top. I feel this is not only easier than the instructed method, but makes a neater and more accurate pleat too! I know I didn’t come up with this method myself, which means that at least some patterns instruct you to do it my way, so why the “crease” rigmarole here? Vogue just trying to be obstinate, I guess. Anyway, end of rant. Here’s a comparison shot of crazy complicated instructions and super fast easy pleats (and you can also see the cool textured stripe this fabric has):
I attached the cowl easily (again ignoring the instructions to just attach one side then slipstitch the inside down… not gonna happen. I just folded the cowl in half and attached it as one; the seam is totally hidden when worn), but where I got bogged down was the armhole finishing. The armholes as drafted were way too high and tight for me. I first attempted to finish them using clear elastic as instructed (hadn’t I learned not to trust these instructions yet?), but that just made them tighter. I cut them down a little and tried again, same thing. After yet another trim and elastic attachment I called uncle, cut them down another half inch and just turned and twin needled, which is what I should have done from the start. I probably took the bottom of the armscye down about an inch in all (my low armpits strike again!), but in the trimming process I also whittled away the sides of the armscye too much, making the section between the armhole and the neckline narrower than I’d like. Whoops.
The hem that’s called for is a full 4 inches, and I like the idea of a deep hem on this design a lot. However, a 4 inch hem is not easy to twin needle, let me tell you. My hem is a little wonky, since even though I pinned the heck out of it, that still didn’t make me good at keeping my stitching line straight without a seam guide. But I don’t think the slightly uneven hem is too obvious when worn. I added an inch and a half to the length when I cut it out, but once it was together and I pinned up the hem I wanted it shorter so I took the extra off again, so it ended up the drafted length. Any longer and it exacerbated the flowy-fabric-catches-on-giant-thighs-and-pooches-out-over-stomach problem I’ve been having a lot lately. It’s still happening even with the shorter hemline, but to be fair I can kind of see it on the pattern envelope picture and I think it’s just a tendency of the design. I really should have cut a bigger size from hips to hem, I guess.
Overall I’m not sure this is the most flattering dress in the world (all the back pictures were appalling with the amount of fabric pooling above the butt, but how can you do a swayback adjustment on a sack dress?), but I sure like it. It’s a sack, but it’s a really elegant sack that can be dressed up with heels or down with leggings. I’ll admit that I’m a bit puzzled by the idea of a cozy cowl neck on a sleeveless dress, but it works. Of course, I’m totally going to be putting sleeves on it come fall. A girl needs a fancy sack for every season, right?
My full pattern review slash contest entry can be found here.