Saturday, 25 February 2012

V1368 (OOP) - Ugly Bias Linen Dress

Me:  I've made another Donna Karan pattern dress... it's comfortable and loose...  

but not what you'd call stylish. 

You: Hmmm. It certainly doesn't look stylish like that. 
Can't you stand still for a second? 

Oh and just so you know - 
when you're daughter's in the picture I can't concentrate on the clothes!

Just saying... it's up to you, I know...

Me: OK, here's a boring standing still picture. 

And the back view.


Me: Satisfied? 

You: My God, what dreadful photos!!! 

Maybe those strange yellowy moving ones were better after all. 

Tell me though - that's not really a Donna Karan pattern, is it? 

Me: Yeah, it's this one - Vogue 1368. 

It's OOP so unless you have it in your stash it's pretty low risk...

You: Looks absolutely nothing like yours! 

Did you stuff it up or something?

Me: No! I didn't stuff it up, I swear! 

I did make a couple of changes but they were just to fix it!   

I even used a recommended fabric!

Look, this is what is was like when I made it "as instructed":

You: Geez - that IS ugly. 

So what did you do to "fix" it?

Me: I just added some darts and a big bow :-)

A bit better, n'est-ce pas?

You: Barely. 

It's still pretty dowdy.

Will you actually wear it?

Me: I don't think so... 

Boo hoo hoo (runs off to cry)

You (shouting): Hey - I just noticed something funny
- those red marks
- they look just like BLOOD! 

Weird huh?

But at least you didn't make shorts! 



The Lowdown

Pattern Rating: Easy

Cost: $24
  • 2 metres x $12/metre linen from Material World
  • $0 stash zip (totally superfluous of course as the whole dress is bias cut)
  • $0 thread - using up some half spools
  • $0 binding - made by hand (no special tools, just bias cut strips sewn together and ironed in half)

Time: 4 hours = way too long given the finished object
  • approx 45 minutes cutting out due to lots of mucking about with placement on the fabric 
I recently had a cutting out question in the comments, and thought this example would illustrate nicely how I go about things

If I had cut this out on the true bias the dots would have been angled from the horizontal as well as from the vertical, so I cut it a little off the bias.  I started out with the front pattern piece and made a mental note of where the now horizontal dots sat with respect to the waistline marked on the front piece so I could be consistent with the back pieces. I placed the back piece for the right hand side first, but before I cut it I used my tape measure and ruler to make sure I was leaving enough room for the left hand back piece with the dots at the right level. Once I'd cut this piece out I flipped it over on the fabric to match up the dots before pinning and cutting the left hand back piece.

placing right back on fabric - using ruler
use right back piece to match up left back piece

  • 1/2 hour initial sewing and 3-step zig zagging of edges
  • 1/2 hour making bias binding
  • 1 1/2 hours sewing, checking fit and fixing
  • 45 minutes ironing, inserting zip and doing last of the 3 step zig zags in lieu of a hem

  • Raised the front neckline just a little (an error! must have been confusing Vogue with Burda)

  • Cut all dress pieces slightly off the angle so as to get the dots in a straight horizontal across my waist
  • Lengthened about 3 inches
  • Added darts
  • Added a distraction bow

Pattern Review: Avoid this one. It makes a sack - and who needs another of those?


  1. Your dress is great, for what it is... late night dancing (it looks like it moves pretty well), or at the beach? Either way, good on you for being brave and showing it to us on the internet. :) I also have a DKNY pattern from the 90s and it is enormous and shapeless.

    1. Thanks meli88a... my memories of 80s-90s fashion are just not matching up to the reality!

  2. It looks like a fun, summer, weekend dress to me!

    1. Well I do have to admit it was the right sort of thing to wear when the weather was sticky... but I am really struggling to like the style!

  3. This is a great summer dress! Nothing dowdy about it at all. And just perfect for when it is hot and humid.

    1. Thanks Karin, you're very kind - yes, it does work in humid weather (we did have some)... I probably need to hold off on chucking it till the next patch of summer!

  4. It doesn't look ugly over the internet. It looks very cool and summery. I can see it being worn with big chunky bangles. The fabric is fabulous. You could always reuse the fabric.

    1. Thanks Bernice - styling! - I never remember about bangles and such :-). It is a nice linen but I bought it at a home dec shop - so it could definitely be turned into more (boring sewing) cushion covers if I get too cranky with it.

  5. You do make me laugh! I agree with the other commentators that it doesn't look half as bad as you make out. Did you look at it afresh in the morning? The fabric is great and I forsee it with a fabulous pair of chunky red platforms to highlight the bloodspots... really! I do think it would have suited the lower neckline... could it be adjusted? But I am seriously impressed how you took the time and notion to line up the spots across the dress!

    1. Thanks Oobop. No, I haven't looked at it afresh - I am too annoyed with it for disappointing me. Thank you, that's a good idea about the shoes! Yes - I wish I hadn't raised the neckline, and I know I could fix it but at this stage it would drive me nuts (oops nearly wrote nits). Don't be too impressed (it didn't take long and I couldn't help myself).

  6. I think it looks like a very cool dress for hot summer days. You have done an excellent job too at avoiding unfortunate dot placement in the upper regions as well !
    I hope you keep it for a bit to ponder on as it seems like good quality linen.

    1. Thanks Janine. I do have to remind myself that I made a big loose linen dress last year that disappointed me at the time but that ended up being very useful. Hard to remember when we've had so little summer this year! Hehe, it could have looked pretty embarrassing couldn't it :-)

  7. Hello,

    Do you know about Versatile Blogger Award? I was passed on the award and I have nominated your inspiring blog for the award. If you are interested in, please visit my blog to see the rules to follow. If not, no problem at all :)

    By the way, your dress is so cute!! It can't be ugly!

  8. I think your dress is pretty cute, too!

    My sister made this dress recently and it looks fabulous on her. She *is* the kind that would look good in a potato sack, granted--but I really like the subtle fulness in the back of this pattern.

  9. Thanks Suzannah! I am intrigued by the idea of your sister's dress now... and jealous of course!


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