I don’t sew many “Big Four” patterns these days, but when I do, they’re invariably Vogues, and even then, they tend to be the designer patterns. The Big Four are really bad value in the UK, for starters, but then I also hate fighting with massive sheets of tissue paper, playing the “how much ease?” roulette, and dealing with outdated construction techniques. Give me a magazine maze to trace or pdf to tape together any day!
But I do love great and interesting seamlines, so when the Donna Karan coordinates pattern, Vogue 1378 was announced, I immediately wanted to make those leggings (the wrap top? Meh. I’ve seen a thousand like it).
Since there was a sale on Vogue patterns a few weeks before I was due to visit my parents last November, Stacy very kindly bought it for me at sale price (even without shipping, it was like a third of what I’d pay here) and it was waiting for me when I arrived! Thanks Stacy!
But for all the aforementioned reasons, I never quite got around to making it until now – the thought of unfolding all that tissue to trace the tons of pieces just made me choose other patterns instead. But eventually I realised that I really needed some basic, all-around trousers, so out they came! By my measurements, I should be a size 16, but I opted to throw all caution to the wind and make a size 14 instead, as I wanted them to be close fitting, like leggings. Having gone down a size, I now think the ease is just right – not stretched tight, but not baggy either.
(Photos shot whilst holidaying in the medieval Breton town of Dinan, in France! Paired with my Manequim birthday silk blouse)
A lot of sewers like to “Sew with a Plan” (SWAP), but I prefer to call this a “Shortlist” rather than a “Plan”, so I’m free to still change my mind and add/remove items as I go along! My main goal here isn’t so much to create a capsule wardrobe that can be worn together, but more to use up fabrics and/or that have been in my stash for a while that I’d really like to just wear.
From the top down, in no particular order:
- KnipMode 12-2005 #10 – I’ve got some non-stretch denim aging in my stash from a few years ago, and I love KnipMode’s style lines for these. My wardrobe is in desperate need of more jeans, hence why there are two pairs in this Shortlist!
- Altered Burda 06-2012 #129 – Now that my stretch satin from Gorgeous Fabrics is in hand, I can finally make the final version of this dress after completing the drafting and muslins back in July. read more >>
- My wedding gown!
- Silver tweed jacket
- Navy riding trousers
- Nude sheath dress
- Patrones cowl top
- KnipMode draped dress
(and I switched to a larger thumbnail size when I revamped the site, too!
I don’t often sew Vogue patterns, but I am a massive fan of the Donna Karan patterns’ design and execution, so it’s no surprise that I added Vogue 1280 to my Wish List the second it was announced recently!
Happily, my mom saw there was a pattern sale where she lives in the USA and offered to buy a few patterns for me at US sale prices – she paid less than half the price for the pattern + shipping to the UK than I’m charged just in postage to the UK for the same pattern! I wasn’t planning on sewing a dress right now, but I got so excited when I saw Vogue’s numbered pattern marks for the first time (possibly in response to my complaints regarding Vogue 1259’s instructions), that this dress moved quickly up my Must Sew list.
Like all DKNY & Donna Karan Vogue patterns, this one’s a great mind puzzle to put together! It also has the joy and wonder of looking like a total mess until the very end, when it all comes together into a dress shape. I found it to be true to size, so go with your measurements, not some vague idea that all Big Four patterns have tons of ease. Most of the pieces are cut on the bias (not that it means much in a jersey!), and it hugs the body very closely. If you’ve got any lumps and bumps, though, this is not the pattern to hide them, and so you’ll probably be wearing Spanx underneath in addition to the strapless bra the bodice requires (Full disclosure: I’m not wearing Spanx in these photos!).read more >>
Even though I live in London, I grew up in America, and my family all still live there. A week or two ago, my mom saw there was a pattern sale coming up and very kindly offered to buy me a few if I wanted! There were two Vogue patterns on my Wish List – one was a Michael Kors knit dress that’s now OOP (and her Hancock’s didn’t still have it), but she was able to buy me one of the new DKNY Vogue patterns I was after, plus ship it to me, all for less than half the price we pay for Vogues in the UK on sale!
(Ever wonder what sad souls pay the full list price printed on envelope patterns? Yeah, that’s us. Little wonder I mostly sew with pattern magazines!)
So Vogue 1280 arrived in the post yesterday, and I immediately set about devouring the instructions and construction details of this.
It’s a really interesting, asymmetrical knit sheath dress with a characteristic (for DKNY) lack of side seams, so there’s a lot going on here!
Here’s a better shot of the tech drawing from the envelope. On Vogue’s site, the tech drawing is really too small to see that nearly all the seams are lapped, with a raw-edged piece of trim inserted, and then double-stitched (hello, coverstitch!) on top.read more >>
I’ve finally finished Vogue 1259! I don’t regularly sew Vogue patterns (or any envelope patterns, for that matter), but like plenty of other people, I just loved this design as soon as it appeared online, and I just couldn’t wait to sew it up!
I used this mushroom-coloured viscose/cotton/lycra jersey from Tia Knight on ebay, and it was perfect for this pattern. You really need something lightweight and drapey, because there are a LOT of gathers that would get bulky very quickly in anything heavier. Vogue don’t give combined yardages for making the top and skirt, but 3m was just enough for me to make both, in size 16, using their recommended layout.
This pattern is marked as “Advanced”, and I think the top definitely qualifies, both for construction, as well as the cutting and marking, and the following of their instructions (which certainly don’t make things easier!). The skirt, however, could easily be made by a beginner. So if you’re intimidated by the “Advanced” label but like the skirt, go for it!read more >>
Well, aren’t I a lucky girl recently? First of all, I won interfacing and a metal seam gauge from Pam’s giveaway at Off the Cuff!
I’ve won Pro-Sheer Elegance and Pro-Woven Shirt Crisp interfacings, to be precise. Coincidentally, both kinds were the few I didn’t buy on my interfacing binge a few month ago! So now I’ve got an even greater biodiversity in my interfacing bag…
Then, hot on the heels of winning that – I may have lost Karen’s draw, but I ended up winning a copy of the novel “Laura’s Handmade Life” from craftycrafty.tv, too! A novel where the heroine bounces back from life crises through sewing? Yes, I think I’ll enjoy this… So now I’ve got three books in my reading queue, aahh!
And it was time again for another Google Adsense payout, so I thought this time I’d spend your hard-earned funds on something a great majority of you will want to see: the new DKNY Vogue pattern (1259), and 3m of this gorgeous mushroom-coloured viscose/cotton/lycra from Tia Knight aka “In Fashion Fabrics” on ebay. It’s ridiculously soft, lightweight, and drapey and just perfect for the gajillion gathers on this pattern, so when both arrived within a day of each other late last week, I set to work!read more >>
I’ve been hard at work on my slow-moving self-drafted shirtdress, creating bound buttonholes for the spaces the collar passes through before tying, making french seams everywhere, double checking all the darts so they all line up, and finally I tried it on last night to check the hem and button placement.
And it’s horrible. Dumpy, unflattering, and just bad.
All I could think of was Trena’s “prison matron” dress, and like hers, mine’s got pockets, but that’s about it. I don’t even know if I can bring myself to finish it, but it’s sitting on my dressform for a while so I can mull over whether any of it is even salvageable. I just know there’s no way in hell I’m ripping out a million french seams! It’s got nothing to do with the Pattern Magic directions, as the collar is okay, it’s all down to the fit of the rest of the dress…
And the shirting is Prada, too! *whinge* And I made three muslins! *whinge* I did everything right, and the dress is just so very wrong. Which mostly discourages me from pattern drafting altogether. I mean, what’s the point in pattern drafting if the fit is worse than what I get straight off a pattern sheet? Because, really, Burda, Knip, and even Manequim fit me straight off the sheet, no alterations needed. Do I really need the extra hassle in my life to end up with a sub-par result even with all my designer finishing techniques? Am I happy to never be a pattern designer? These are the sort of questions I’m asking myself right now anyway.read more >>
My favourites of 2010:
Standout moments in sewing land:read more >>
I usually detest tracing Vogue patterns since their tissue paper is so flimsy, utterly enormous and so unwieldy to work with, but this one was surprisingly small since there’s only one view so no need for tons of extraneous pieces. Still not as easy as tracing KnipMode’s compact newsprint, for instance, but not enough to put me off sewing Vogue for months on end like it did previously!
The overall shape of this dress is quite simple, but it’s cut up into a ton of triangles and curves that can be tricky to visualise. So my first step was to lay them all out and see how they went together (seam allowances are included here so they don’t line up nicely like I’m used to though).read more >>
In an attempt to get myself to focus on pairing up the lovely (and overflowing) fabrics I’ve got on hand with the lovely (and overflowing) patterns I’ve got on hand, I did a bit of mental and virtual pairing using my scanned catalogues of fabric and patterns and a bit a Photoshop wizardry. I don’t particularly like doing SWAP wardrobes as they’re so rigid they end up feeling like a chore by about the third garment, so instead I wanted to focus on partnerships of fabrics and garments that could go with each other.
The first is the most straightforward: a skirt and blouse combo.
The skirt is one from last October’s KnipMode and features two big chunky zippers on the wide waistband. I just took the plunge and bought two fantastic brass teethed ones with big ring pulls from Zipperstop’s eBay store, only to find out that the brown colour in their photo was actually bright purple. They’ll now definitely be a “feature”!. The blouse is from my beloved August issue and is the Marni catwalk clone – I’ll be sewing that in some pewter silk charmeuse from Goldhawk Road that really brings out the blue in the skirt’s wool flannel.read more >>
My mom arrived on Friday morning, bearing a ridiculous amount of American cookies, candies, chocolates, cakes, and kitty treats, but also a few patterns that were on my wish list!
Vogue 1109 is a Sandra Betzina pattern for a knit top/tunic with really interesting seam lines. It kinda feels expected for all sewers to love SB without question, but to be honest, I don’t find her “all that” and this is the first pattern of hers I’ve even remotely liked (though not in either of those fabric choices, ugh) so I wanted to give it a try.
Simplicity 2647 is a knit dress with varying lengths and bodice treatments, but I really liked the short version with the wrapped side even though it’s quite similar to a Vogue pattern I already have.read more >>
When I visited the States last summer, I bought lots of fabric but did very little clothes shopping, despite everything being so cheap on the “dollar discount”. The only garment purchase I did make was a simple black top from the Issac Mizrahi for Target range, and I’ve absolutely worn it to death in the past year. I was really excited to see that Vogue 8305 contains a shirt absolutely identical to my Target one, so I thought I’d give it a go in some inexpensive red cotton jersey to check the fit and construction before cutting into anything more expensive in the future.read more >>
After seeing celeb after celeb wearing Roland Mouret’s fantastic Galaxy dress and spouting the true wonders of its inner spandex core, I was very excited to see that Vogue produced its own version of the Galaxy dress, Vogue 8280, and I bought it immediately.
Fast forward several months and I finally had the time (and the small waist!) to make this dress using the gorgeous grey tartan wool I’d bought especially for it alongside the pattern. It took me two days of sewing after quite a bit of prep work, but I thoroughly enjoyed making this dress and I absolutely love the end result! It may not have the magical spandex core, but it does have a fully lined bodice and a neat skinny belt I made to further acentuate the nipped-in waist.read more >>
As you may have already read, I started work on a sheath dress made from a 1960s dress pattern. I am happy to report that the dress is now finished, though the end result bears little resemblance to the pattern sketch. Mostly because the pattern sketch does not show a sack of potatoes. Once again I fell into the trap of being entranced by the lovely, stylish drawings on the fronts of vintage patterns, choosing to ignore the little voice in my head that knows you can only trust a photograph on these kinds of things.
Last night I started work on this lovely square-neck 60s sheath dress pattern that my mother bought for me at a flea market somewhere in deepest, darkest Pennsylvania:read more >>