Vogue 1179: my kind of sack

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.

Vogue 1179

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):

Vogue 1179 pleats

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.

Vogue 1179 2

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.

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12 comments
  1. Rosalia said:

    I love the color of this dress. I have made this same pattern in 2 colors and like you I love the sack/cowl pattern which can be dressed up or down. Like you I found the armscye a little tight and had to recut and amend my pattern piece. Other than the armscye, I love the ease of this pattern and how quickly it comes together, and its comfortable to wear.

  2. Another beautiful dress! Love the color on you. Let us know if you make a winter version, I’d love to see it.

  3. New MO for life: “A girl needs a fancy sack for every season, right?”

    Obviously I need to get on that, as my fancy sack wardrobe count is currently zero! Thanks for making me laugh, and yes, this dress is indeed strangely appealing.

  4. This looks like a very comfortable, sassy summer frock- I like it!

  5. Becky said:

    I love this! It’s very elegant looking for a sack. I’d love to see pictures of the side. Maybe the pooling would be reduced if the “pleats” were caught in the side seam. Doesn’t matter. This is what I predict will be a very versatile dress.

  6. Great looking dress. The color is excellent and the style of dress is so comfortable for summer.

  7. lisa g said:

    i soooo do pleats as you just described! i certainly can’t be bothered to mark the fabric and do all the circles and whatnots… just snip where the lines are and fold until it looks pretty. it’s totally legit!

    even if the dress still has some issues, i love the color and it looks like a fun and comfy dress. way better than just a sack! in regard to the swayback, i know sherry at pattern-scissors-cloth has some info about how to do that without a CB seam.

  8. Myra said:

    I agree, this is one of my favorite patterns for a comfortable dress and I have made a few great tops from this pattern too! Your dress is really pretty and almost the same color as my first dress made from this pattern. Very nice job!

  9. Lady, that’s one pretty sack! Love the color, and bet it’s like wearing your PJs in public. Without the PJs in public shame. Also, for some reason, I tend to follow the arbitrary pleating directions where you sew on top of the pleats. The sensical part of me knows the way you do it is better, but the rulesy part of me ends up following the directions anyway.

  10. Ohhh that is one pretty sack – and the colour looks really good on you. I think that not letting something become stash has got to count for twice as many points as stashbusting, no? Basically any time you make anything you get points 🙂

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