I’m the first to admit that I have been pretty ropey on the blogging version of sew & tell lately. That’s because I haven’t actually had loads to share. But boy, have I got a great one for you today (even if I do say so myself)! I absolutely love this funky little number, which is a very unusual twist on a nautical theme.
I saw this pattern a while back, but it absolutely skyrocketed to the top of my sewing list thanks to Lucy at Sew Essential and her offer to do a collaboration. I have known Sew Essential for a long time now. I often ordered haberdashery and sewing tools from them in the past, as well as patterns, but never actually considered buying fabric. So for this post, I got to browse the website for suitable fabric for a project to make this summer. BTW, if you haven’t seen the new site, I warmly recommend having a look. They had a revamp a few month back and it’s really great, easy to navigate and easy to find what you need very quickly. I also realised they sell a wide range of sewing machines and are also dealers for Pfaff, stocking very good range of feet and accessories. Hmm, my arm long list of feet I want to buy is calling to me… :S
So, on to my project now! You guys, did I mention how much I just love love love this dress? Oh, once or twice maybe *blushes*? I’ve had my eyes on it since I saw this pattern on Eli’s blog and decided this funky creation is just right for this summer’s smart casual wardrobe.
Pattern: Vogue V9186, view B, size S
It’s a very unusual pattern, from the Vogue designer original range (designer Kathryn Brenne) and, according to Eli, it’s a perfect copy of a Viktor & Rolf 2015 dress. I initially wanted to make it in white, like the inspiration dress, but then I just fell in love with this beautiful navy poplin fabric, and I decided to take a completely different turn.
Fabric: Sew Essential cotton poplin (unfortunately sold out but I do recommend any of their printed poplins, like tis navy polka dot one, really great quality).
You know me guys, I am really not a patterns kind of girl, but I just loved the navy with the very discreet anchors, so this was it! And my choice was confirmed once it actually arrived. It’s just gorgeous! Even better than I imagined. It’s crisp, yet has a soft feel and drapes fantastically, it washed really well with minimum shrinkage and it ironed perfectly. Wonderful choice indeed!
Because the pattern is so big, you must make sure to use a 60’’ (1.5m) wide fabric, otherwise the front pattern piece will not fit (yeah, that wide!!).
The pattern pieces are ginormous!! I’m really not exaggerating; if you want to make it, make sure you have a massive cutting surface at the ready. Because of the asymmetry, both the front and the back piece are not meant to be cut on fold, so you get all that tissue paper in one big chunk, or rather, one big and one just ridiculously big. Plus you will have to assemble both of them out of two pieces; they were just too big to have on a single pattern sheet. Thank goodness this was not a PDF assembly job, as I probably still be piecing those pages together. And of course, in spite of my lovely cutting table, I had to pin the pattern onto the fabric on my living room floor, it was just too big!
I cut size S, after I eyeballed the finished measurements. There is so much ease that I figured I won’t have any trouble getting my hips in, which is my usual worry. Also, because of the way the shoulders are constructed, there were no fitting worries there either. So all was good on the fitting front, though I would recommend making a bit of a toile if you have a sway back or full biceps.
I did made a toile to make sure everything comes together ok before I cut into that lovely fabric and I didn’t like the placket opening, it’s too long and just didn’t feel right. For the final version, I decided to change it by removing the placket and collar. So I just redrafted the neckline to a high boat version. I also omitted the pocket, because for some reason, the pattern only called for one and I found that very odd, so none is better than a lonely one. I think I might open the seam allowance and add them in though, pockets can only improve any dress, isn’t it?
I also had to cut off 5 cms from the hem, to get the length as showing on the pattern cover. I’m 1.72m (5.6’’) and it was super long on me, not sure how tall that model on the cover is, really. On the length topic, I have quite a short waist, so you might want to make changes to it. I felt the final product was a tad too long in the waist for me, but because of the asymmetric elasticated waistline, I can sort of get away with it. The waist is marked on the pattern pieces, so you can check against your own measurements before you cut.
The construction is not complicated, but be sure to copy all the markings and placement marks (squares and circles) and especially the placement marks of the casing. I used tracing paper and a pinwheel. Other than the collar and placket, I sewed it pretty much as per the instructions. I finished the neckline with self-made bias binding.
This is detail of the elastic casing and the neckline and armhole finishings.
Other people who have made this complained about the sleeves, and I did find them of the narrow side. The facing/armhole finishing did not go in without me changing the side seam allowance to a scant ¼’’, instead of 5/8”, but other than that, it was fine in the end. I haven’t tried putting in the sleeves, but Eli says it’s a right pain, and I don’t doubt her. I am planning on making a long sleeved version at some point, so I’ll report on how that goes.
Well, I already mentioned how much I loved this pattern+fabric combo! I only wish the summer hangs on a bit more so I can get some wear out if it. I am especially proud of my finishings, the bias binding and baby hems came out so nicely! I really want to make it again, maybe next time I’ll go for the placket/collar/sleeves version, as I predict we will soon need something with sleeves to deal with the weather!
Disclaimer: Pattern and fabric were chosen by me from the Sew Essential website, but were offered free of charge for review. All opinions are my own.