Sunday, 30 September 2012

Rustling Dress (V8811)

A new dress which I love.... if only, if only it wasn't so tight!

The fabric is a "poly" (that's what the label said; I guess that's poyester!) which I bought as a 2m remnant from Tessuti Fabrics a while back. It feels like paper taffeta... it's lightweight but quite crisp and structured. When it moves it rustles (love, love, love that) and it holds this sort of big skirt shape really well. There are some fold lines on the fabric but when you crumple it up then smooth it out again, no creases - yay! it's just the sort of fabric you shouldn't even bother TRYING to iron! 

I used Vogue 8811 for the dress, a reissue of a 1940 original design - advertised as looking like this:

Once I'd sewn the dress together it was obvious the high neck was going to annoy - it was even too high for my dress dummy! I also felt that the dress needed something dramatic at the neckline to balance out the pouf of the skirt. So I took out my bodice pattern pieces and traced them onto some tissue paper, and then I just drew a nice dramatic wide colllar with a much lower neckline. Because my collar is based on the original flat pattern pieces it fits the bodice well, but I also made it up initially just as facings to review the proportions on the dress. It seemed to look how I wanted, so then I cut it out another couple of times to make the collar - and hooray, it's just the dramatic look I wanted. Oh, if only the dress wasn't so tight!


My side zip is wonky looking - late night hand stitching, after the discovery that the dress was too tight:

My bust darts end way too high:

But I love the look and sound of this dress - the colour, the shape, the rustle - here's the full length view (easier to stand on the sofa to get a full length view than to work out a different place to put the camera):

Seriously, if it didn't FEEL way too tight and uncomfortable I would be drinking champagne right now. From the good glasses!

I'm not going to chuck it out. Who knows, the fabric may grow as it ages or something...

Sewing Stats:
I think this cost me around $47 all up.  I wish it fitted.

$28 for 2 metres of fabric.  About $5 for the pattern + part postage in one of those Vogue patterns sales.  Say $2 for the zipper, bought ages ago for something else.  About $4 for sewing needles. $0 for sewing machine thread (an already used reel), and  about $8 for overlocker threads.

If you've made this dress yourself or have sharp eyes you may have noticed I didn't quite finish it. I didn't make the belt (does it need a belt? wouldn't that accentuate the tightness?) and I've just overlocked the hem for now (I want a nice invisible hem finish but this fabric takes on puncture marks from needles so I need to think some more before hemming). And I made a couple of changes - the new collar as described earlier, which also meant I didn't need the back neck slit and somehow amazingly also didn't need the shoulder pads.

This is not a hard pattern - the cutting out and sewing were straightforward - but the total elapsed time for me to make this was around 2 weeks: 15 minutes here, 30 minutes there... mind you, we did have a party to organise last weekend too (happy birthday Master UpSewLate xxx), and I did seem to spend a lot of time thinking about this dress when I should have been making it. 

Hmm. There are many other patterns and fabrics tempting me, but I could always make this again in a larger size with my identical remnant of the same fabric.... (who buys two identical remnants??? you too?)


  1. I love this dress. It doesn't look too tight but I know what you mean when you put something on and it just feels too tight then it's uncomfortable to wear. Maybe just wear it to stand enigmatically in the corner of the room with heels and the champagne glass - and don't move! :)

    1. Thank you! It really feels too tight... I have started exercising regularly though so I guess there's a small chance I'll be able to get my midriff a bit trimmer, but I'm not counting on it! Anyway, worst case I'll put it aside for my daughter to grow into (is that totally unrealistic hoarder behaviour?)

  2. It's a beautiful dress! I hope you don't mind internet problem-solving, but from the pictures, it only looks to be too tight in the first few inches of the skirt -- could you perhaps cut a bit off the top of the skirt, creating a wider waist opening, and ease that back into the bodice? In general, the bias cut will ease in to a remarkable extent, though of course the fabric itself plays a role.

    Good luck!

    1. Thanks Caroline, and thanks for your suggestion! That sounds like a good idea for the skirt, and there's definitely enough length to do this... Unfortunately the dress also feels too tight in the bodice :-( and I don't think I can let the bodice out at all due to the fabric showing a mark / small hole at each stitch (would that mean I used the wrong needle, or is it just this sort of fabric? I don't know). To be honest I'm also really bad at going back and fixing things up...

  3. Very madmen! I love the colour too. It doesn't look to tight, it looks fab. But of course, it has to be comfortable to wear.

    1. Thanks Karin, it just shows doesn't it that photos can be deceptive!

  4. The colour and style of this skirt are stunning. Perfect for sipping bubbly. What a shame it's too tight. Could you shorten the bodice and the skirt and add a band between the two?

  5. It must be really frustrating to put so much time and effort into a dress and have it not fit..

    May I suggest tissue fitting and fit as you go method ...that way, the fit will be right even before you start sewing..

    Also, if you feel the dart are too big, you don't have to sew them that big. you can make them shorter. It's really your choice, you be the designer.


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