Thursday, 28 October 2010

Sewing Donna Karan - Now and Then

I first started sewing many, many years ago as a girl who wanted clothes like I saw in Vogue magazine and couldn't afford them. I couldn't afford much but I could afford the amazingly cheap designer bolt ends from a shop my mother took me to that had unpredictable stock. And because I wanted clothes like in Vogue magazine I gravitated towards the Vogue Designer patterns.

Having come back to sewing after an extended break, I found myself gravitating to Ms Karan and her stylish Vogue patterns over and over again.

In the last few months I've made the Vogue 1179 DKNY (Easy) dress, which looks like this on the pattern envelope:

and like this in real life with the pattern graded up somewhat at the hips (yes, I am copying the pattern envelope pose - I assume after all these years they know a few tricks about making clothes look good):

from behind it's a very plain dress, so your attention may be drawn to a light sabre in the background:

and also made the Vogue 1175 Donna Karan Collection dress (Average) dress, which looks like this on the pattern envelope:

and like this when made up in a linen mock-Ikat, which I thought would hide any mistakes: 

Actually the pattern isn't too hard, just requires some careful matching of shapes that don't look as though they go together. Next time around I'll go for plain colour and no patterns.

You can see here how far the lining extends - not far - which will give you an idea of how much shorter the dress would've been "avec puff":


When I made this I intended it to be a muslin; I didn't understand the construction well enough to make any fit adjustments and thought I would work out what adjustments were needed and where they could logically be made by sewing it "straight up".  The only change I made was to omit the "puff" of the skirt: you're supposed to attach the outer material to the lining to make the skirt puff but I liked the skirt shape without the puff (longer at the sides though), and didn't want to lose any length.

Prior to these two dresses there was the dress of Vogue 1120 DKNY, rated Easy, turned into a top:

I wasn't feeling very confident with my sewing, so I made the top with a $2 piece of material found in a bookshop; gold on one side and white cotton-ish on the underside, and I have no idea what it is. This top is unfinished - the material has a lot of body and I don't know if it appreciates the iron, so I made a self-fabric belt to shape it a bit (still needs a clasp or snap fastener) and I also plan to sew on some tiny vintage gold beads around the neckline to hold the facing in place. I admit this seems an extreme solution but I do have a little box of lovely ancient gold beads ...

Hmm seems I am lacking a photo. I will see to that.

Before that, but still recently, there was a short version of the skirt of Vogue 1038 Donna Karan Collection, rated Average although I'd bet a lot on the skirt being considerably easier than the shirt:

I made this using some stretch suiting from one of Tessuti's $5/metre rolls (ex-Cue material for which no details are provided). As you can see I am not good at ironing. And there hadn't been enough rain. Front and back views, not very exciting:

and I rejoined the Donna Karan pattern sewing world last year with the dress in Vogue 1013 DKNY, rated Average but I think only for the cunning sleeves:

I made this with an interesting black moire-style material and a lonesome rectangular silver button, both of which had been lurking in my stash for a few eons. The belt could have done with some buckram or similar but I was pretty happy with the result. When it's on it looks like a vintage style of dress, perhaps because the material is heavier than the pattern suggested and the way the belt hangs.

And here's where my Donna Karan pattern "thing" started, many moons ago - Vogue 1164:

Here're a couple of crumply pictures, front and back, of my take on that pattern way back then:


It doesn't fit me anymore but I do still love it...

Next up the plan is to make this dress, from Vogue 1074 DKNY:

hopefully in time for the Melbourne Cup next week.
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