Sunday, 26 June 2011

Lace Dress, Vintage Style (Vogue 1136)

Vogue 1136, a vintage pattern re-issue from an original 1945 design, is to my mind quite a classy shape.  It's supposed to be lower calf-length, which I guess is fashionable, but I wasn't sure... and I was using the (trimmed) scalloped selvedge edge in lieu of a skirt hem so once cut there was no going back.

So my version is a little shorter than the pattern specifies.  I also left out the back skirt pleats because I didn't think they'd work so well in lace.  For a bit of ease I added some mini pleats in the skirt at the points that lined up with the bodice darts. I love the V-shaped bands on the back... I hope you can see them:

And I love the neckline, and the long bodice darts:

I made this dress in an incredible rush for a function last night.  We left the house late because I was still sewing when we should have been out the door!  Luckily I'd made muslins of the bodice and skirt and didn't have complicated adjustments to make. However, I left  the side zip till last and as a consequence it's
a bit wonky-looking (and needs to be repositioned in the skirt):

Possibly I need to take in the skirt as well: the left-hand photo shows the skirt when I hold it in a little, and the photo on the right shows the skirt left to its own devices and looking quite wide:

These are only minor and definitely fixable problems of my own making, and I'm happy with this dress!

I should give you more of the details I guess and not just show you pictures :-)

The pattern is V1136 of course, and as this is a vintage re-issue it fits as per modern sizing.  I muslined the bodice really carefully but found the straight size 12 was perfect for me with just a little extra width at the waist. I guess if you have a large bust or broad shoulders this pattern might be a bit tricky to adjust though. I muslined the skirt in a rush and just ended up making this a little wider than a size 12 for the full length of my skirt - but the skirt shape is very straightforward when the back pleats are removed, and it'll be easy to take it in later.  I think this would look great in a solid colour, as the lines get a bit lost in the lace detail and would similarly get lost in a busy print.  It's recommended for fabrics like crepe, wool jersey or peau de soie.

Here are the pattern envelope technical drawings for V1136 - the jacket would be nice too:

My fabric is a lace that I bought at the Fabric Shop in Surry Hills, Sydney. I don't know what sort of lace this is classified as - maybe someone can educate me! It's machine made (very regular looking), it has a definite top vs underside, two scalloped selvedge edges that can be trimmed to the scallop shapes, and the floral patterns on the fabric are outlined in an embroidery stitch.

I used less than 2 metres of the lace fabric (phew - that's all I had) and less than 2 m of burdandy coloured lining fabric to make my slightly streamlined V1136.  I underlined the bodice in the lining fabric, and I also used the lining to make a free hanging under skirt with French seams. I did consider using an underlining as well as a lining but thought this may have become a bit bulky and hard to keep smooth in sewing the layers together. As it was, for the bodice I basted all the edges of each piece before doing any of the real sewing - this worked well; otherwise I think the lace would have stretched and moved a lot while being sewn up. Sewing with lace definitely takes some planning, so I read up on a lot of techniques before starting this.  If anyone would like more information about how this dress went together or what my OOP Reader's Digest compendium says about sewing with lace, underlining, fitting etc please let me know.


  1. So lovely! I've always wanted to sew with lace and this dress is fantastic!!!

  2. How pretty! The raspberry colour is gorgeous! I hate sewing with a looming deadline, glad you managed to finish just in time.

  3. Such a gorgeous colour! You look really pretty in this dress.

  4. You do look lovely in this dress. The colour is beautiful, and you have done a great job with your tricky lace fabric - a great match with the vintage pattern.

  5. Thanks everyone! Maybe I need to get a bit more pink in my wardrobe...

    Karin, I have never cut it quite this fine before and I hope never to do so again - I was all trembly as I sewed in my zipper!

  6. Thats a lovely lace fabric there. Pretty dress!


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