Donna Karan Vogue draped dress in a stripe

I wanted a quick project to complete whilst I was visiting Cairns recently for a gymnastics competition.  Knit dresses are usually pretty quick so I rifled through my pattern and fabric stash and chose Vogue 1159.  All the reviews said that it would be difficult to modify to fit, so I was thinking that lack of fitting would save me a bit of time.  Of course, it was entirely likely that I would end up with a dress that didn't fit, so I paired it with a fabric that I wasn't sure whether or not I loved.  Well, I loved the fabric, but it was one of those fabrics that just seems more striped when you are holding it than when you are clicking that "Add to cart" button.  I have talked about the traps of stripey fabrics previously here and here.  Okay, so I am a slow learner, but I am doing creative things with stripes!

The pattern: Vogue 1159

The fabric:  rayon/lycra knit from EmmaOneSock, lining is a lightweight power mesh, also from EmmaOneSock.

Some notes:

Sizing - for Vogue knit dresses, I usually cut an 8 for the front top half, a 12 for the back top half and grade the skirt out to a 16.  For this one, I cut a straight 12.  It seems to have worked for the dress, which has pleats in the front skirt, but I do have problems with the lining, which I will detail later.  Next time (and there will be a next time, probably in a plain) I will grade the skirt out along the diagonal centre back skirt seam.
Length -  I shortened the dress to above the knee.  I would have made it a tad shorter, but the blue stripe looked better on the hem than the reddish stripe.  This shorter length is not as elegant as the original length, but I lead a pretty casual life.  You can see here that I have paired the dress with thongs.  I was on my way to a school picnic that involved scooter riding. 

Lining - I am having problems with the lining.  The dress is only lined in the skirt portion, and the lining is necessary to hold the draping in place.  When I am wearing the dress, the lining works its way up to my waist.  I presume that this is because it is a couple of sizes too small.  I have released the only seam in the lining, which is at the centre front, but this does not help.  I am wondering if I should insert some width into the back of the lining.  Any other suggested solutions will be appreciated!  Next time, I will add width to the lining and use wider darts so that the waist circumference does not change.

Pattern placement - This dress is pretty lean on fabric for all its effect.  Size 12 takes only 1.8 m of fabric.  Of course, this is all I had, so I could not do any pattern placement.  It just worked out as it worked out.  It would have been better if I did not have the lightest stripe across the widest part of my butt.

Shoulders - I bought this pattern because it had the cap sleeves, but like other reviewers, I found that the sleeves shift position when you are wearing the dress so that it is more like a sleeveless dress.

Underarms - the dress has very low underarms.  Different reviews show various methods of fixing this, including adding a piece or sewing up the side seams further.  I just folded a pleat out and topstitched it in place, as shown in the photo below.  This would be equivalent to the narrow chest adjustment that I often make if I cut a Size 12.

Marking - as other reviewers have noted, the instructions for this pattern are not always easily understood.  Take the time to mark the fabric properly before you start sewing.  I used little triangles at the notch points.  I would recommend this rather than little nicks in the fabric, as it makes it a bit easier to match your sewing with the Vogue illustrations.  My print was busy, so I used tailor tacks to mark the squares and circles.  I marked the pleat lines on the front with a fine-point sharpie, as I thought that would not be seen once the dress was made up.  Usually they aren't, but I noticed that they do peek out when lounging on the couch for reading homework.

I do like this dress and I will sew it again, probably in a dark, plain knit.  I should have made more effort with the hair / make-up, but life has been crazy busy lately....I just seem to look in my diary every hour or two to see where I should be going next.  I promise that when I wear it with heels, I will do my hair as well!  In the meantime, I am finding it a great grab and go casual dress.


  1. A too tight garment will pull up "looking for room" so to speak. The lining is probably too tight. I am not familiar with the mesh lining but Carolyn uses a tricot lining for her dresses to great effect.

  2. I think the dress is very pretty and very flattering; I see no issue with the stripes whatsoever! Maybe power mesh has too little stretch? I'd add to the lining so it's comfortable to wear.

  3. I love this pattern which, by the way, I also own. I have also bought the fabric to make up. I think your fabric is interesting and shows the design off well. Thanks for posting your review - will definitely make mine soon.

  4. The dress has turned out really well. It looks like one of those fabulous 'throw on and walk out the door' dresses that I so desperately need. I think you've paired it perfectly with your necklace and sandals for a casually chic look.

  5. Great dress!!! I wonder if the lining problem isn't a combination of size and static? I've had similar problems with nylon slips climbing up & nylon undies crawling down (& they've been plenty big enough) I've often wondered if there isn't an "incompatibility" between nylon & other synthetics, but I haven't found any info on it. And your textiles might not contain any nylon. Please do keep us posted; it's an interesting problem, and most importantly, a lovely dress. ---bethS.

  6. Hope you figure out the lining bit. But it's a very pretty dress and I love the fabric.

  7. I really like your dress. I never would have thought to use striped fabric for this pattern, but it creates some neat effects. This pattern and fabric is in my sewing queue

  8. This is my all time favourite of your dresses. I've ordered this pattern in the latest BMV sale - don't know when I'll ever find the time to make all my patterns.

  9. I love the casual boho feel to this dress. If it were in my wardrobe, I'd be reaching for it often. Nice!

  10. Today I seem able to comment so I am catching up. I think this looks very cool on you and easy to wear - I don't think the stripes are an issue (in any case everyone knows that light colours make you look wider, so everyone will mentally subtract 20% to compensate), but that is a bugger about the lining. Thanks for all these useful tips on the pattern - this one is also in my (long) queue but I left it because I suspected there were some traps in there.