I'm certain you're all eager to sew your own version now that you've seen the dress in action, so let me tell you what to expect when you undertake this project.
First of all the pattern, Vogue 2401, was issued in 2001. It must still be selling well or it would have been pulled from the catalogs. However, you never know so if you're thinking about it, I'd pick it up before it becomes OOP.
I felt so feminine and flirty wearing it and actually felt myself standing taller and sitting demurely with ankles crossed. Well, standing taller might have had something to do with the fact that the other three were a bit taller than me...
Sewing the dress
This is an interesting dress to sew. The pattern is rated Average but I found it a bit time consuming and somewhat challenging where the side front/front bodice/sleeves/waist ties are sewn together.
My advice to you? Be patient if you're not an experienced sewer and just follow the instructions ...trust me, the pieces do fit together and end up looking like they are supposed to. Oh! And don't cheat this time - be sure to accurately mark all of those little dots - you're going to need them to get your pieces to fit together properly.
That being said, it really wasn't all THAT bad. The front and back bodice is cut in one with the sleeve so no need to set in a sleeve. The collar is also cut in one with the front bodice and is shaped with a dart. Instructions call for sew in interfacing on the collar facing and that's what I used.
The back has a shoulder and a waist dart - sweet! It makes the back fit beautifully. The back of the sleeve also has two small elbow darts. Love it!
Side front/waist tie
My challenge was sewing the side front to the bodice front and then adding the waist tie. It was at this point I posted by frustrations on my blog and packed the dress away. I just couldn't seem to sew the gusset point smoothly. Well, a year and half later I pulled it out again and realized I had been having problems because I had been trying to sew the side tie to the bodice front before adding the side front. Got that? Yea, I know it's confusing. Like I said, just follow the instructions and drawings and as long as you sew the correct pieces together it will work.
The tie at the waist, which they call "bodice side front" is basted to the underbodice side front seam. The sleeve is then folded over this basted edge and sewn - essentially sewing part of the underarm portion of the sleeve while secuing the waist tie.
This side front/waist tie is partially edgestitched to the side front seam at the very end of the construction.
After completing the bodice pieces you are instruction to press the waist edge under 5/8" - don't skip this step as it's needed for attaching the skirt.
The front and back skirt of this dress are not attached. Which I only realized by reading the previous reviews. See what I mean? Here's the dress flat on the floor so you can see how they are not connected. The black at the waist is the grosgrain ribbon belt.
The front skirt piece is shaped with four waist darts and hemmed along the side edges with a 5/8" hem. Instructions call for hand sewing the hem - I was time crunched and did this on the machine. The back of the skirt is constructed separately and consists of a center back and side fronts.
The pressed edge of the bodice is now placed along the waist seamline of the skirt (wrong side of bodice to right side of skirt) and stitched in place by edgestitching. The same technique is used to attach the skirt to the bodice back.
The waist is held in place by a grosgrain ribbon belt. The belt is attached to the side openings of the bodice front. Now, when you sew this your dress edges will match. Because of the goofy altering I had done previously and the recutting I did when completing this dress, my bodice and skirt edges didn't match. No worries. I just sewed the grosgrain to both and since it's buried inside the dress no one will ever be the wiser. Except us :-)
You slide into the dress by putting it on over your head. The waist is held closed, underneath the back and side skirt piece, with a hook and eye. The skirt is held in place in the front by the waist tie.
The final step, after hemming everything, is to sew the waist tie along the bodice side front seam securing it to the bodice. True confession time: Since I was in such a time crunch the hems are temporarily held together with steam-a-seam. I'll need to go back and actually stitch (by hand - ugh) the skirt and facings.
What changes did you make to the pattern?
Knowing that I didn't have the proper undergarments to make this skirt stand as full as needed, I added an underlining to the skirt portion. Not only did it add some much needed body to the skirt, but it looks much nicer when the skirt insides peek out - which, because of the wrap style, they will when you walk or sit. I'm just sayin....
In April 2007, I knew I'd need an FBA as well as more width in the waist area. My original FBA resulted in a very short, very wide dart. Too wide for the length of the dart as it just could not be sewn smoothly. If you need an FBA consider splitting the extra dart width into two or even three narrow darts.
That being said, I needed to now REMOVE the FBA I had done 1-1/2 years ago. I ended up partially unstitching the front bodice, and recut the front and side front pieces.
I had also added width to the waist area previously and that was no longer needed. However, I had a number of pieces partially sewn together so rather than unstitch, recut and resew, I sewed slightly wider seam allowances.
Mystery fiber fabric that was purchased close to ten years ago at SR Harris Fabric Outlet. It is a medium weight woven with a hint of lycra. The collar is red with tiny black threads running through it so the red appears more burgandy.
The underlining, oh dear, do I dare admit it? It's a poly/blend semi-sheer drapery fabric that had been in my stash for years.
It's been in the Vogue catalog for awhile now, which tells me it must sell on a consistent basis, and for good reason. While I'm not sure I need another one, if you want a fabulous fifties dress for an upcoming event consider this one.
Full review here.Pin It