My Red Christmas Dress - Vogue 1037

I have so many things I sewed last year that I've neglected to add to my blog so some upcoming blog posts are going to be past makes. 

As much as I enjoy putting a quick photo on Instagram, and a short pattern review in my YouTube makes videos, I find it difficult to search for specific details on a pattern when I want to reference a past make. Blogging what I've sewn will help me remember more of the details. 

Like my red Christmas dress.

Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top and Skirt on Sharon Sews

Well, it's actually a red top and skirt. The pattern is Vogue 1037, a Bill Blass design from 1983.

I stumbled across the pattern a few months ago while searching for Vogue 1174, a Claude Montana pattern.  I found the Montana pattern at Pattern Zoo, but it was sold out. 

Of course I had to have a look around and see what other designer Vogue patterns I might find :-)  I purchased a different Montana pattern in addition to this Bill Blass pattern. 

I really liked that back drape.  But I had to make adjustments to the shoulder area after the top was completed and the adjustment took away some of the drape.

Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top and Skirt on Sharon Sews

Fabric recommendations are "soft fabrics: Crepe de Chine, Charmeuse, Silk Jacquard, Jersey, Tissue Faile".

I used a polyester crepe from Metro Textiles.  I had no particular pattern in mind when I purchased the fabric, as I was bought it because it was red.  I was participating in the Little Red Dress Project challenge that takes place every December on Instagram and the only red fabric in my stash was a ponte knit.

Once my order arrived and I had a chance to handle the fabric, I knew it would be perfect for this top. 

Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top and Skirt on Sharon Sews

I will say I was a bit concerned about how easy the fabric would be to sew as I've had challenges with lighter weight polyester fabrics in the past. This was surprisingly easy to sew.  Whew!

The top consists of only three pattern pieces (a front, a back, and the tie end) and the pattern pieces are large. You can get an idea of how large when I put my arms straight out.

Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top and Skirt on Sharon Sews

Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top and Skirt on Sharon Sews

The pattern I purchased was sized 14-16-18.  At this point, I can't remember if there were separate cutting lines on the top for all three sizes.  I used a size 14, which is what I typically start with for a top.

Because it's so oversized, I knew I wouldn't need a full bust adjustment (FBA) which is almost always a standard adjustment for me. However, I wasn't sure how this was going to fit in the neck/shoulder area and looking at the pattern pieces I couldn't figure out where I would make those adjustments.

Normally when I'm unsure how to alter a pattern, I'll sew a quick test which usually helps me identify the part of the pattern to adjust.  This time I didn't do that because I didn't have an extra 2-3/4 yards of similar weight fabric I wanted to sacrifice for the test.  Well, and I was under a self-imposed time crunch as I wanted to wear this for Christmas.
Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top and Skirt on Sharon Sews

Instead, I bravely cut it out, stitched it up, and discovered the only way I could keep it on my shoulders was to adjust the tie so it was very tight.  But that created a narrow and deep drape in the back that went to about my waist. Meaning the back of my bra was exposed.

Turns out, a size 14 in this top was way too large for me in the shoulder area.  I had two options as I certainly was not going to go braless :-)  

Option 1) wear it as is knowing the back of my bra should show, or option 2) figure out how to narrow the shoulder area. 

I choose to try option two.

I removed the stitches from the shoulder area to about halfway down the shoulder seam of the sleeve. I then had to cut away some of the back drape, and remove some of the curve at the neckline. (See the illustration from the pattern instructions of the shape.)  That helped narrow it a little bit.  I couldn't do more without sacrificing the back drape (which was the only reason I purchased the pattern) so I crossed my fingers and restitched everything.

It's not perfect, nor as dramatic as designed, but at least the back of my bra isn't showing.

Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top and Skirt on Sharon Sews

The instructions call for a weight to sewn at the end of the drape inside.  I skipped that step.  It seems to stay in place okay, and I was concerned a weight would pull the drape down too low.

The top is supposed to be finished with a narrow hem.  I didn't do that. I finished the edges with a 3-thread stitch on my serger, used a little spray starch before turning to the wrong side, and stitched the hem in place with my sewing machine.

The skirt I'm wearing is not the one included with the pattern.  I didn't pay attention to the layout when I cut out the pattern pieces for the top, so I didn't have quite enough for the skirt. Well, I also misplaced the Vogue pattern at some point during construction so I couldn't have used it if I had wanted to. 

I'm normally a tidy and organized sewist, but I had projects underway for BERNINA, and Christmas gifts I was sewing, in addition to working on this red dress. Let's just say my sewing space was quite messy.

Instead I used a Simplicity skirt pattern because the front of that skirt had two pattern pieces, and I was able to fit that narrow front pattern piece on a remnant of the red fabric. 

Once I was done, I realized the skirt really needed to be worn with a slip. Well, I no longer have any slips, as they were all donated once I retired. Instead I added a partial lining with some knit lining I had on hand. It's not pretty, and I only added it so I could wear this outfit on Christmas.

Which I didn't. Because it was cold!  Really cold, at least for east Texas. It was windy and hovering around freezing when I was outside trying to get these pictures.  As soon as hubby snapped a few pics, I ran back inside to warm up.

I don't see the top and skirt being worn together too often, or even at all. I may shorten the skirt so it will get more wear.  I'm not sure yet. 

I was going to order more red crepe from Metro Textiles and make wide-leg pants, but I never did so. 

I plan on wearing the top with jeans.  Even though I'd call the back drape dramatic, I think paired with jeans it works. It makes it not so dressy, which fit my lifestyle well.

Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top on Sharon Sews
Because the top is shorter in the front than the back, I'll have to pair with high-waist jeans.  I only have two or three of that style as it's not my favorite.

Vogue 1037 Vintage Bill Blass 1983 Red Top on Sharon Sews

Overall, I really like the top. The skirt - meh. But it gave me the look I was going for, and I completed it in time for the Instagram challenge.

Will I sew it again? Perhaps. You'll have to wait and see :-) 

Have a blessed day!



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