This dress took a while – not in terms of actual time sewing, but due to interruptions and distractions. Even though I used mostly only couture techniques, this dress goes together quickly and well. That having been said, I’ve incorporated a number of changes.
The Pattern: Vogue 1089, which was released 2009 and is now out of print. It’s a basic fit and flare, with shaped midriff, and princess seams.
The Fabric: The pattern calls for cotton canvas, linen and lightweight denim… but I used a cotton sateen that I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics in 2014 (for a different project). I underlined it with silk organza and lined it with blue silk crepe de chine. I only interfaced the midriff, using carefully trimmed muslin. The organza, CDC, and muslin are all from Gorgeous Fabrics as well.
The Instructions: Well, since I didn’t use them, I can’t really tell you about it. I used this pattern for Susan Khalje’s Couture Dress class on Craftsy (it’s very similar to the one she uses for the class). In this case I followed her instructions to the letter. It was very freeing to think about constructing a garment this way, from muslin to organza underlining to hand inserting the lining. She’s a wonderful teacher and very easy to follow. I learned quite a bit (some things are obvious, now that I’ve seen them). However, if you don’t like hand-stitching, it’s not the class for you. I like to hand-stitch, and find it very soothing. I found every step of making this dress very enjoyable.
Changes I made: I can’t recall every change I made as a result of the Craftsy class, but I’ll highlight the major ones. I cut a size 12 in the bodice, tapering to a 14 through the midriff and waist. If I lose weight, this dress will be too big, but oh well. I also took up the shoulders 1/2 inch. Finally, I needed to accommodate my longer torso: I added half an inch to the bottom of the bodice and half an inch to the bottom of the midriff.
In construction, I took a cue from Ann of Gorgeous Fabrics, who noted that the midriff doesn’t need to cut in half horizontally (unless you are going to add the jewels). I also moved the zipper to the left side and hand inserted a lapped zipper (I’m losing flexibility and finding back zips a challenge). The lining is hand inserted, using the technique from the class. That means I cut the lining from the pattern pieces, not the separate lining pieces. It also means I eliminated the facings, and included a jump pleat for the hem.
Thoughts: I really like this dress and plan to make another one in a solid color for fall. It’s flattering, easy and fun. Most of all, the class taught me to slow down and enjoy the process and the art of constructing a garment. For once, I paid attention to all details, including the finishing.
As always – apologies for the photos. On top of my usual selfie with an iPhone photos, I sustained a serious knee injury last week (still can’t drive or walk properly). Though I’m much improved, I really didn’t feel like make-up, hair, and heels to go outside and take pictures with the mosquitoes.