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.
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.
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.