The pattern is Vogue 1342 Donna Karan. Not my typical style. My favourite dress silhouette is 60's mod tunics and I rarely wear things fitted at the waist, because the balance seems all wrong with my pear shape. There is much talk about Donna Karan and her ability to flatter real women, so I thought I would give this pattern a go, with all of its distracting gathers.
I cut a size 12 for the top half and moved out to a size 16 for the bottom half. Even this seemed a bit tight on the bottom half so I let the seam allowances out as much as I could. For the lining, I cut a 12 for the top half and an 18 for the bottom half and then had to take the bottom section in a bit. Different fabrics I guess. The pattern suggests that you hem the dress and lining separately, but I bagged it out as much as I could, because the dress is significantly longer than the lining, and I thought all the gathers in the dress would drop out and the dress would hang low if I didn't attach the 2 hems. Only, I should have measured the dress hem and lining hem before I did this (sewing on the run!) as the lengths did not match that well after all my taking out and letting in. This resulted in a bit of twisted bubble hem effect, but I think that works with the rest of the dress.
I totally love the colour. I've never had my colours done and never even looked at peach and coral tones, until I used a gifted peach colour fabric for a muslin a while back. The fabric I used for this dress is still available at EmmaOneSock. I had other plans when I bought it, and didn't really have enough fabric for this dress, so I had to piece a section at the bottom, which again, doesn't seem to matter too much with this style. The fabric has a metallic sheen and I spent ages trying to work out which was the right side. I even took it outside to the sunlight several times because my house is on the dark side. Then, just a few minutes into sewing, I realised I sewed it with the wrong side out. Perhaps that is the real reason people pay big bucks for designer clothing...so that their clothing is not sewn inside out!
So, how do I feel about the final body con result? I have shown you the better photos. Some are less flattering and perhaps different undies would have worked better. My younger son did comment that I had "really muscular thighs", which I thought was hilarious, though I suggested he not give that "compliment" out to other people. I had to wriggle into the dress and then it sounded like a hundred elastic bands pinging as I adjusted the gathers...which became all a little futile after the first toilet stop in the dunes (tmi!!). All up though, I totally forgot about the tight fitting nature of the dress once I was at the party and was not self conscious at all.
Some sewing info.
- This dress was fun to make. The construction was different to most projects, and I was totally reliant on the instructions, but it was not difficult.
- Okay, perhaps one little bit was difficult. For step 5, very early on in the construction, I studied the diagram. Then I basted my pieces together. I checked. Convinced myself it was right. Over locked. Decided it was wrong. Cut the overlocking off. Studied the diagram some more. Realised that I was right the first time around. Re-sewed. That was the only problem step though...everything else came together slowly but surely.
- There are a lot of markings. I clipped and pin-basted all the pleats down the centre back. I used tailor tacks for all the other markings, using a different colour thread for the small circles, the large circles and the squares. This could be what everybody else does all the time, but I thought it was an ingenious idea to use the different colours!
- Another moment of ingenuity...The dress is tacked to the lining in several lines along seam allowances. The first couple I tacked by hand. Then for the last long line, I decided to use the blind hem stitch on my machine, zig-zagging in the seal allowance of the dress and swinging over to the lining, which I had folded out of the way.
- I bagged out the hem, as discussed above.
- I shorted the bodice at the straps. I always need to shorten the bodice of Vogue dresses. I knew I was going to adjust the strap length, but totally forgot that when I carefully gathered and stabilised the ends of the straps, as instructed. I cut 8 cm off the straps, which was to be expected as I normally shorten through the bodice by 4 cm. This has had the effect of raising the V at the front, but I do not mind, and it was easier than figuring out how to short the bodice equally front and back.