Tracy Reese Vogue

I am writing today's post using a borrowed monitor because my monitor has broken.  This borrowed monitor has funny dimensions, distorting everything to be short and dumpy, but I am posting anyway, because I can't see myself getting a new monitor in the near future.  I have just guessed at which photos might be most flattering and not cropped them at all.  I probably won't leave too many comments on other blogs until I get a new monitor, because I'm sure you don't won't me to say, "Gee, that outfit that you have slaved over really makes you look short and dumpy!  On the other hand, it is probably a great time for me to order patterns, because I can see what they would look like on shorter, wider people than Vogue models.  Anyway, enough guff, on with the pattern review.

Tracy Reese Vogue 1190.  

A silk twill from EmmaOneSock.  I got it at a bargain price because it was cut at the wrong length for another order.  Happy days.

Dresses are my nemesis, and this one was no exception.  I did make a muslin.  There was lots to alter.  

Surprisingly, I had to redraft the back straps, to get the back and shoulder to sit right.  I usually do make significant shoulder alterations, so it is probably a fit issue more than a drafting issue.  

In waisted dresses, I am never quite sure where to put the waist.  I have a high waist, so putting the waist at my natural waist can emphasize this flaw in proportions.  For this dress, putting a contrast waist below my natural waist made me look wider than I am.  I made the muslin using my natural waist, but decided to cut the dress with a longer bodice.  I really should have muslined a longer bodice.  

I have uneven hips (well, who doesn't after lugging 3 children about), but I have never bothered to correct for this before.  I made the dress and then when I looked in the mirror, all the arrows on the fabric seemed to be pointing at the wider hip, so I let the front and side seams out on one side.

Erica B has made this dress.  She seemed to have a far easier time of it than me (sigh).  Anyway, if you look at her entry you can see a photo of this dress being sold at Nordstroms.  It looks the same as the Vogue pattern cover, except that the proportions are different.  I only notice, because of my many hours trying to decide where to put the waist.  In the Nordstrom version, the skirt : bodice length shows a much longer skirt than even Erica's version, and Erica has added 3" length to hers.  I presume that the Nordstrom version is RTW and not customised to the model.  So then I wondered if they have doctored the photo to make the model taller and thinner, more like fashion illustrations.   Do you think they really would have done this?  I hope not, because it is hard enough buying online without altered photos.  I guess the other possibility is that the Vogue dress is not the same dress as the one photographed.

I made a lot of cutting mistakes, which is unusual for me, as I enjoy the cutting stage of a project.  A bit of clear thinking during the cut saves a whole lot of angst later on.  This time around, I had to go through the angst.  

Vogue bodices are usually about 3.5 cm too long for me.  I decided to cut the bodice at the Vogue length.  I had meant to lengthen the skirt 3.5 cm in case I changed my mind and used a shorter bodice.  I forgot to lengthen the skirt and then I ended up using a shorter bodice, leaving the skirt short.  

I usually cut an 8 across the chest and a 12 for the rest of the bodice.  I cut the top ruffle in an 8 and later realised that I needed the 12 for length, just the 8 for width.  This meant that the top ruffle was not long enough to cover the next ruffle down so had to be removed and re-sewn. 

In the muslin, I pinched out a tuck in the neckline.  When I tried the bodice on during sewing, it didn't seem to fit right, so I assumed that I had forgotten to make the tuck during cutting.  So then I overlapped the bottom of the front bodice, and when I shortened the bodice by 2 cm I cut the extra off.  Only, after I attached the waistband, the front skirt was hiking up.  So I think perhaps I did make the tuck, only now I had essentially made 2 tucks.  I did my best to mitigate this by reducing the seam allowance in the front when attaching the waist band.

This pattern requires quite a bit of care during sewing.  The ruffles all have narrow hem edges, which are then folded in so that you can't see the hemmed edges.  This seemed a lot of bother, and afterwards I thought it would probably have been easier to fold the ruffles right sides together and sewn down the sides, before turning out a pocket.  I don't think that this would have detracted from the design.

I didn't sew the bust dart on the outside.  There were no other exposed details on this dress, so I thought it would look like a mistake, if you could actually see it in this fabric anyway.

The waistband is a separate piece, sewn into the dress, with a waistband facing on the inside.  This means at the zip there are 5 layers of fabric (2 waistbands, I dress, 2 seam allowances) plus 2 interfacing layers to sew through.  I would recommend a good quality zip and to zip slowly, so that you don't break the zip once it is in.  For the waistband I used a polyester crepe, which was a bit spongy, so perhaps you would not have this problem in a lighter fabric.

The shoulder seams are sewn in a french seam.  With the ruffle and the bias binding on one side and the back strap and a facing on the other front edge, I found it difficult to sew this neatly.

The skirt seams are all sewn as french seams.  I would recommend practising your french seams before sewing this dress, to ensure the seam allowances are accurate.  A small error in the width of a french seam, multiplied by the 7 skirt seams, can easily lead to a few cm of error in width.

Take care gathering and positioning the back strap.  The outside edge of the back strap is on a diagonal, so the length of the strap will be wrong if the gathers slip out and the edge of the back strap is in the wrong place.

I wore this dress out the other night.  I did receive lots of compliments, even from strangers.  The photo above was the best we got on the night.  The benefit of this was that my photoshoot today took me to the far reaches of my back garden, where I have not been for a while, and I discovered that these gorgeous gingers have flowered after the recent rains.

 I have been doing other bits of sewing lately, probably not really worthy of their own post, but I will show you one more photo.  I was asked to sew dress-ups for my son's class, as in a tussle of resources they lost their collection.  This is a love job, so I have just been sewing quick pieces out of remnants.  This one is my favourite...a knight's costume.  My model is pretending to wield a sword.


  1. Katherine you look absolutely gorgeous! The dress is fabulous. The colours and cut really work on you. I love the accessories and shoes too. Did I mention your hair also looks gorgeous! BIG BIG THUMBS UP!!

  2. That dress is crazy cool - honestly that is the nicest thing I have seen in aggggees!

    You have done really well - will come back later and read all the details - but just wanted to say you look awesome!

  3. I love the print on your fabric! Thanks for all the details - I'm planning to make this eventually, and I'm sure I will refer back! I looked on Erica's blog at the model photo... I think something is off with the proportions of the photo, probably some photoshop. She appears to have tiny doll hands but freakishly long legs - not natural I don't think!

  4. Totally gorgeous dress. Even after you mentioned all the hassles you had with it, it still looks perfect to me.

    Re your monitor. Change your screen resolution in Windows. This should stop everyone looking short and dumpy. :)

  5. Your dress is gorgeous. You did a good job of it and the silk is lovely. I agree that the Vogue photo looks doctored and yes they would! To me it looks like a mannequin with a girls face photoshopped onto it!

  6. your dress is just amazing - I love everything about it on you - the cut, the colour, the details and the execution is impeccable. Very well done to you, I hope your monitor is fixed soon so you can see how amazing it actually looks..

  7. It looks great! Wonderful fabric choice!

  8. Wow, a lot of work went into that dress, but it was worth it. It is beautiful and looks great on you!

  9. This is a beautiful dress, and I've been eyeing that silk twill from EOS for weeks now. I love your version - I think it was worth all the fussing and fiddling it took you. Thanks for your detailed review!

  10. I L.O.V.E. this dress on you! You look so gorgeous! :-)

  11. Great dress! I'm glad you persevered through the problems as it looks lovely on you.

  12. I agree that this is a very dress and fabric is very flattering on you.....you look absolutely gorgeous Katherine!

    I think that the Vogue patternmaker is probably different to the Tracy Reese dress patternmaker.... and I'm so impressed that you perservered regardless of all the extra work and alterations. I admire some of the patterns that I see in the catalogues but being time poor I always go for the simple and easy these days....how boring is that!!!!

    Well done x

  13. Fabulous dress in a perfect-for-it fabric!

  14. You look absolutely beautiful!

  15. You look terrific in this amazing dress. I was thinking the post would all be about the fabulously well drafted and clever designer details in the pattern, as an aura of "wildly successful project" seemed to be leaping out of the photo on my computer monitor. I am now even more impressed by the dress after reading about the construction pains. Worth all the work by the look of it!

  16. Sorry for all the headaches with the dress, but it turned out lovely!! The color and print and style is wonderful on you!

  17. Lady. You KNOW how to pair a print with a pattern.

  18. This dress looks gorgeous on you! I have the pattern and have been putting off making it - your comments have given me lots to think about how to adjust for fit (short waisted, pear shaped etc etc). And I reckon the Nordstrom model was extra tall & skinny and that the main difference between the dresses is heaps of extra length in the RTW skirt - which is interesting as I would have expected it ALL (incl above waist) to be modified to scale.

  19. Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I am currently making this dress. I just started and was confused when it told me to sew the bust darts on the outside. So...I looked up some reviews on Pattern Review and came across yours, which confirmed my decision to sew them on the inside. So....I just wanted to say thanks!! Love your dress-hope mine turns out half as good!! :)