Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vogue 8648 - The Couture Dress

I saw an advertisement for a Craftsy course by Susan Khalje and I thought, I don't need to pay the money for the course, I'll just wait for Vogue 8648 to go on sale for $ 3.99 and sew it myself.  So I did.  Here is Vogue 8648:
And here is my version.  I made view C, which is the yellow dress above:

I made it from a wool/silk blend I found at the expensive fabric store in town which I bought on sale in February.  It's a blue/gray soft plaid that was a joy to sew, so I am a bit distressed to see how much the dress wrinkled in the photo above.  The dress is fully lined, so it was basically like making two dresses.  I started out by lining the dress in habotai silk, which I didn't realize was such a PITA to work with.  (Gertie didn't come out with her post on this diabolical silk until AFTER I started this project.)  So only the sleeves are lined in the silk, as I decided life was too short to try to wrestle silk into this dress.  I lined the rest of the dress in a swiss cotton satin batiste.  The biggest challenge with this dress was matching the plaid.  I was thrilled with my results:

(Can you tell???)  Here's a close up of the front waist band:

Here's a close up of the side.  I was excited by this:


I didn't bother with a muslin because I hate muslins, and the finished garment measurements printed on the pattern assured me that it would at least go around my body sufficiently.   That was probably a mistake.  I made my usual size 12 and had no problems, except for the bodice.  The side front was cut on the bias, and either the pattern piece was too long for my torso, or the bias stretched as I worked with it (I suspect it stretched). Here's a close up of the front neckline, and it is obvious that the neckline is too low.  It's not just that there is more cleavage showing that I am comfortable with, but that I have problems keeping my sleeves on my shoulders:

I also can't lift my arms very high - the armholes sit too low, causing restricted movement of my arms.  You should have seen me trying to close my car door yesterday morning! 

All of this is a real shame because I enjoyed making the dress so much - the plaid, the matching, the lining, all the interesting top stitching.  Even the sleeves.  For some inexplictable reason, the sleeves are cut in two pieces and sewn together (my matching on the sleeves was excellent; I forgot to get a photo of it), but they went into the armholes practically on their own - there was no need to do the whole basting and gathering thing to get the sleeves eased in.  It was magic. 

It's just the wearing of the actual garment that I don't like.  Mostly the inability to move, I guess.  And the revealing nature of the neckline.  I wore a jacket over it at work so I was sufficiently covered up:

 And of course, I realize I have no one to blame but myself!  A muslin would have helped enormously.  Taking Susan Khalje's course would have probably prompted me to do the muslin.  Well, maybe.  OK, doubtful.  I'd like to say this project wasn't a waste because I learned the value of doing a muslin, but that would be a lie.  I hate doing muslins so much that I am quite cheerful about having a project not work out every once in a while as the price I pay not to do them in all other projects that do work out.  I have learned that if I am thinking about sewing a close fitting dress, I'm taking a significant chance that it might not fit - and if that is a problem, maybe I need to choose another project.  So despite the three weekends it took me to make this dress, I'm glad its over and I'll probably be donating this dress - maybe someone who is my size whose a bit longer in the torso will benefit. Still, its a shame because the fabric is lovely . . .

: )

8 comments:

Deb Levy said...

I'm impressed! I avoid plaids like the plague...

I too know very well the value of making a muslin first...I too sometimes don't, and am usually disappointed with my results...one day I will learn :) (or not )

Lindah said...

Excellent! Love those plaid seams. The dress is beautiful. What a pity is doesn't feel better on. Could be the design that is restrictive in the arm area maybe.

Vicki W said...

That's too bad because it looks great standing!

gwensews said...

That's really a shame, because it is a fabulous dress and looks wonderful on you. Still, one has to be comfortable in their clothes. Maybe you'll make another soon.

Audrey said...

You did a great job on this dress. When I saw the photo and started reading I thought, "She doesn’t need Susan's class because she had no fitting issues." Okay, so you had some minor, barely noticeable to us, ones. BTW, the class is very good and shows some dressmaking techniques I hadn't seen before. I hope the next owner of the dress appreciates the quality work and fabric. I stay away from the expensive fabric stores in town because I am afraid I would have no restraint. That fabric blend would be wonderful to work with.

Beata Lenarciak said...

Wonderful dress, I am taking the Craftsy course where I am using this pattern for sewing tailored dress. Your version is amazing!

Donna Haugh said...

I think it looks lovely but you would have a better fir if you took the course!

Nicole C said...

Your dress looks lovely! I am working on my muslin for this dress now and I'm having major issues with the sleeves. I've raised the armhole a bit, but it's still restrictive. I'm taking the class, which I recommend for Susan's tips, not so much this dress. I'm also not a fan of the neckline which I have to alter majorly.