Friday, 27 January 2012

Broderie Anglaise + Linen: V1175 Donna Karan (Mark 2)

It was over a year ago that I first made a wearable muslin of this amazing Donna Karan Vogue pattern:


and I have worn that dress so much that it is becoming limp and weary.

I always intended to make it again, and finally I have:

Mark 2 is a little different from the original. This time around I've used a pretty broderie anglaise* for the contrasting front and back bodice, with a stone-coloured Irish linen for the skirt.

As the skirt fabric is heavy, I've left it unlined, and I've made the pockets from lining fabric.  I enjoyed the unusual hemline created by omittting the skirt "puff" first time around (in the pattern, the skirt outer is sewn to the skirt lining and this creates a bubble or puff effect), so I did the same again with mark 2.

See how the hem rises in front? Contrasting fabric also highlights the interesting shapes.
This is a straight 12, and very roomy around the waist and hips so perfect if you have pear tendencies. 

Pleats and shaping at the back

And at the last minute I took inspiration from the Prada top shown on the Feb. '12 cover of Vogue UK:

and hand sewed some extra daisies to the front neckline (this photo also tells you why my summery Sydney photos were taken inside):

Result? I love it!

Shall I make another? Maybe one for parties?

This is such a clever pattern... but it's not especially hard. It's rated Average; there are some places where you need to sew carefully and get the fabric pieces aligned correctly, but there are no ridiculously complex techniques needed.

*: the Prada top shown on the Vogue cover above is described as being made of broderie anglaise, so that's what I'm calling my fabric too.  I did do some internet searching to try to understand the difference between eyelet and broderie anglaise but it remained unclear to me.


I'm considering applying Carolyn's approach to collecting statistics about the cost of my sewing habit - actually Carolyn has decided not to keep sharing this info per garment, and this may be a one-off for me too, but taking note of these facts even if I don't share them certainly makes me appreciate that sewing is neither a cheap nor a quick exercise for me.

Total cost $48
  • pattern: $0 (second use therefore counts as free)
  • lace from stash: approx $12 I think (designer remnant from The Fabric Shop, marked down due to lots of marks on the fabric that didn't wash out)
  • linen from stash: $20 or less (less than 1.5m, bought on sale)
  • lining from stash: 1m piece, so at most $8
  • white thread: $0 (existing roll that was already half-used)
  • daisy trim: $8 for 1m from Lincraft

Total time 8 hours
but would probably take 5 if you had enough fabric + a serger, and if you didn't add extra steps
  • Cutting out this dress took me about an hour, but I had to place the bodice pieces between the marks on my lace, and I didn't have anywhere near enough linen for the skirt as drafted. I ended up being able to fit the skirt back, skirt front and part of the skirt sides (ie the really big pattern pieces in this pattern) onto my fabric, and then used the oddly shaped leftover bits to cut out the rest of the skirt sides in 4 more pieces. This took a lot of pattern piece jiggling, and my skirt then had extra seams to match up and sew.
  • My sewing machine's 3-step zig zag is probably slower than a serger would be. One day... 
  • I love pleats, geometric shapes and puzzle-like garment construction, but they make for a slower than usual dress to sew. 
  • I added lots of top stitching (imperfect but slow going) and hand stitched the daisy trim on the neckline.

Gotta run!



  1. I love your original twist to this lovely pattern. The fabric combination is subtle and interesting, and the daisies at the neckline look fun and feminine. I like this much better than the envelope picture.

  2. I love your version of this dress. Much more than the version on the pattern envelope too. I think the contrasting fabrics really make this work. I might have to give this one a go.

  3. I LOVE the fabrics you have used in this. What an interesting pattern too. Lovely job!

  4. I love this too! Such a different look is achieved by your choice of fabrics. I have this pattern and have been thinking about making it up in a gauzy, shiny pink fabric...only I keep thinking it will be too hard to get started on...your comments that it is not such a difficult pattern is very encouraging.

    Your version has a real French feel about it. Just beautiful.

  5. Using two different fabrics is genius! I never liked this pattern much before, sort of sack like I thought. With the two different fabrics you can see the design lines much more easily and the dress is so much more flattering. I bet it's cool and comfortable to wear too.

  6. Nice, Nice that I had to say it twice!

  7. I love the pairing of these two fabrics.

  8. Wow what a wonderful dress! I love the combination of broderie anglaise and linen, not to mention that adorable daisy trim! They work really well with the pattern details, love it :)

  9. Your fabric choice is wonderful and you've done a great job with all your piecing - it looks like a cool and comfy addition to the wardrobe (even if the weather doesn't want play nice).

  10. I like the detail around the neck line. It looks like a comfortable dress to wear! I love that you can see the details in the design maybe even a little more than the solid color example in the Vogue pattern.

  11. How could I have missed this unique pattern? Your dress is really lovely. The two fabrics you chose go together beautifully and I really like the daisy trim.

  12. I love how textural you made this- very pretty.

  13. Lovely dress and great choice of fabric. I enjoy reading the statistics of it.

  14. Wow Gabrielle, that is one beautiful dress. I loved your earlier version but this is stupendous. The different fabrics look amazing and go together wonderfully.

  15. I like your dress much better than the one on the pattern. It is one of the nicest dresses I have seen in a long time.

  16. This looks so incredibly chic! It has a bit of a Japanese feel to it I think? I love the contrasting fabrics. Nice! I also prefer it more than the puffy pattern dress.

  17. Love, love, love! I have looked and looked at this pattern previously and though I love it, I always thought it might not be the right cut for a pear-shape. Now I'm not sure that you are a pear shape, but it looks much "drapier" than I had expected. You look just fabulous! Must buy this one next time there is a sale...

  18. This dress is so beautiful! You made it lovelier with using two kinds of fabric. Now I'm considering getting the pattern!

  19. Hi there, I'm so glad you left comments on my blog because now I have discovered yours! This dress is simply stunning. Now I can have fun wading back through your archives :D


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