Modern Patterns

Vogue 8615: my "one year later" dress

February 22, 2011

behold, the saga of V8615, the modern-yet-retro piece from recent vogue catalogs. it seems tame, dubbed “very easy” by the wise folks at vogue. and yet, and yet…

in cutting the pattern, the fabric is folded on the crosswise grain and then the pieces are cut on the lengthwise grain as per usual. only somehow i misread the pattern layout and ended up one skirt panel short. only somehow, NY Elegant Fabrics were out of this particular shade of blue wool crepe. ONLY SOMEHOW, they were unable to order more. tragedy! cue me in tears in the wool crepe section at NY elegant, desperately trying to match my inspiration piece (a rich purple scarf with colored butterflies, paired with the butterfly brooches seen on my dress bodice) to another piece of wool in a vain attempt to somehow fix this tragedy.

and then, somehow, a week later, i am wandering through NY elegant yet again and i find, stashed away, a small bolt of the last remnant of this exact color wool. there was barely a yard left. (and, by the way, they still charged me for the entire yard)

then, when i cut out the new skirt panel and assembled my dress, assembled my lining, did some finishing on the interior lining and seams, i try it on to find that it looks like i wandered in from the casting of big love or something, so long and frumpy is the skirt on this dress. the pattern clearly says it is a mid-knee dress…color me confused.

i thought my heartache was at an end until i decided that i wanted to finish the dress with an exposed zipper to give it a modern flourish. i used the technique outlined in sewstylish, except that i didn’t want to use 3/4″ seam allowances. mistake! i soon realized there is a reason for the over-generous seam allowances. more tears nearly ensued as i attempted to trim the edges of the fused fabric-lining combo in order to get the raw bit under the zipper tape. i cut an honest-to-goodness hole in my fashion fabric, nearly ruining the dress (more tears). i should have thrown it away, but wool crepe is not cheap and i knew i had to finish this dress.

enter the applique scissors. my goodness, these are an amazing tool. i got the raw edges trimmed and tucked under the zipper tape. i stitched the zipper to the dress. and in doing so, i shifted the waist on one size almost half and inch apart from the waist on the other side.

and yes, this dress took me a year to complete, start-to-finish.

Pattern Description:
Lined, below mid-knee or below mid-calf dresses A, B have fitted bodice, back neckline is lower than front and three-quarter or full length sleeves, flared skirt has side seam pockets and back zipper. Purchased petticoat and belt. Separate pattern pieces provided for A, B, C, D cup sizes.

Pattern Sizing:
size 12, a-cup piece

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Were the instructions easy to follow?
the lining instructions, especially with the sleeves, were strange. why would i want raw edges on my sleeves like that?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
see above about the lining pattern. also, i am not sure if this was my error, the stretchiness of my wool crepe, or the way the pattern was drafted, but i was trying to cut the mid-knee dress and it went all the way to my ankles. not the retro chic vibe i was looking for!

but, when finished, the dress does have a nice retro chic vibe and a lot of ways to make it interesting. my main combo on this dress will be vintage brooches and scarves.

Fabric Used:
sapphire blue wool crepe – NY elegant fabrics, NYC
silver/gray rayon lining – truemart discount fabrics, NYC

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
i shortened the skirt so that it was actually mid-knee, and i finished the lining hem with 1/2″ horsehair braid to give the skirt a chance to show off its fullness without going full-on crinoline. to modernize the look, i went for an exposed zipper, which caused me so much heartache i literally almost broke out in tears at one point, but which going forward i feel able to do more confidently. i added a lot of hand-stiched “embroidery” on the inside, sort of going for a vibe i used to see in the finishes on high-end RTW garments (think elie tahari about 5 years ago), and added a waist stay to help support the heavy wool skirt.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
i might actually sew it again–we shall see.

i LOVE vogue custom fit patterns. i am sure i am in a minority, but the A-cup french dart bodice pieces fit me so perfectly that they have become my go-to “sloper” when doing fitting changes on other french-dart patterns, especially vintage ones.

  1. That is absolutely gorgeous! I think it was worth all the trouble. And just think, now you have added to your skills! 🙂

  2. My wife loves that color, too (should I say obsessed?). In fact, many of her purses are shades of blue. She got them from her designer friend, the one who made her wedding dress and organized our reception. Oh yes, she's an authentic lover of all things blue. That's why I'm not gonna show this to her. She might ask me to buy that dress!

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