March 15, 2014

Designer Dress Made From Scrap Remnants Vogue 1316

Last month I asked you to boss me around and choose my March garment make for The Monthly Stitch. And the voting had me on the edge of my seat, from one day to the next I could never guess the outcome of the vote. In the end Vogue 1316 won with 52 of 185 votes. To make my version of the Rebecca Taylor Designer Pattern I scrounged up a shoe box full of scrap fabrics from prior projects. The Vogue pattern calls for four different fabrics blocked together yet I had to obtain five different fabrics to account for the yardage needed to create the dress.
My fabrics:
  • Tiny scale houndstooth cotton blend suiting used for center front and back panels as well as center bust section
  • Houndstooth raw silk and wool blend suiting used at shoulders and upper hip 
  • Diagonal stripe raw silk and wool blend suiting used at bust and back bodice and side hem section 
  • Black moleskin used at front neckline and waistband contrast 
  • Houndstooth plaid cotton blend suiting used at center waistband and sleeves
The silk and wool fabric scraps were the remains from my graduate collection. I never imagined that I was holding on to these scraps of fabric to ever use again; it was just too sentimental to discard them.
I remember those fabrics
And yet as I was sewing the Vogue dress I kept reminiscing about my collegian years. The scent of the raw silk will forever remind me of my time spent in my alma mater apparel studio.
I digress. Putting these 5 different fabrics together presented a bit of an obstacle, the fabric thickness was varying. The diagonal stripe silk/wool blend suiting was twice the thickness of the cotton blends. Therefor those fabrics needed to be underlined. My underlining was a cotton plain weave from the stash that I never foresaw using as a fashion fabric. 
The underlining is a teal printed cotton which can be seen only during construction. I hastily made a few errors and basted the printed side of the underlining to the wrong side of my fashion fabric (at the center waistband and center front panel). This was not an end of the world error so I did not bother to fix it. However if my fashion fabric happened to be more transparent I would not have wanted the printing to be sandwiched as it would show through on the outer side of the garment.
The seaming on this pattern is abundant, I forewarn to only attempt it if you are looking for a challenge. Keeping all those SA aligned on the curved seams was tricky. And if you hate pressing seams this pattern may not be for you. 
Pattern modifications: Sway back adjustment, square shoulder adjustment, broad back adjustment. I also had to remove torso length to do so I had to take it out of the bodice under the bust to not skew the width of the three waistband tiers. I also had to remove length in the hip length which crossed paths the curved pieces of the skirt so the curve alignment needed to be adjusted. 
Because I was working with the diagonal stripe fabric it would have been impossible to align the pattern using scraps so I removed the side seam of the pattern pieces at the hem line. I also did this at the waistband thus creating a clean continuous pattern placement in my fabric. I did keep the side seams in the upper bodice so the grain line remained  on the bust and back as well as at the hip because of the curvature from waist to hip. 
Addition of sleeves: The Vogue pattern is designed with shoulder caps that extend over the shoulder point,  I re-drafted the intersecting shoulder pieces to add an armscye. 
Then I drafted a sleeve; which is my favorite one piece sleeve design from the book, Patternmaking for Fashion Design by Joseph-Armstrong (4th edition, page 133). 

The sleeve construction is different. I first flat lined the cuff facing and sleeve lining to one another then I stitched the lower hem edge and followed up into the pleat cutout. Next the sleeve and lining was turned RST then pressed and finally the sleeve underarm seam is stitched enclosing the raw edge. 

View of the sleeve lining and facing 

The sleeve creates a fun pleat with a cuff button detail. I was going to add button holes but instead I used crochet loops and metal buttons for my cuff. 
Hand tacked zipper


  1. Wow, when I voted I didn't realise the extent of this project. Thanks for writing about all the details that required extra thought... since I'm still learning it's good to read these planning forethought ideas. The finished dress is fantastic.

  2. Wow, your dress looks great. I love the fuchsia lining! It looks like you really took your time and thought this one threw. Well done.

  3. I voted for this project and I knew you would make something awesome from it! I know it was a lot of work but it was worth it, the dress is beautiful!

  4. Amazing! All of the thought and effort really shows. This dress is fantastic. I especially love the sleeves. You will LOVE wearing it I'm sure :)

  5. This turned out beautifully. Thank you for the details on the different fabric weights and how you treated them to make them work together.

  6. Very impressive. This is one of the monthly stitch march projects I was most excited to see. Excellent job, and matching up all the prints while using the scrap fabrics you had. I appreciate all of the details in your post.

  7. I have no idea what you are talking about with some of the sleeve drafting you did, and other details, but all the fabrics come together brilliantly! Your skill definitely shows, and I hope to one day be as amazing with sewing as you are!!

  8. Looks fantastic. What a clever way to use up your scraps.

  9. Lovely creation! Fantastic use of scrap!!!

  10. Wow! I loved reading all your details on making the dress & the finished object looks so great!

  11. Absolutely love this dress -- and your description of how you made it all work. Amazing.

  12. This is such an impressive project. Great job on the use of the scraps, the redrafting and above all a most beautiful dress.

  13. Wow this is amazing. And from scraps too! So glad you got a great dress that will always remind you of college when you wear it!

  14. Fantastic, an absolutely gorgeous dress and you look fabulous !

  15. So pretty! love the fit of the dress and the diagonal stripes!

  16. This is such a great dress!

  17. I love this dress! I'm a quilter so everything made from scraps is always most interesting to my eye! Your dress is fab because it combines the lovely concept of using scraps, but it still looks expensive.


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Happy sewing!

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