Last week I made two dresses using Vogue 1351, a Donna Karan Designer pattern I first made last summer. This is one of the simplest and prettiest patterns to come out in the last few years. I am surprised that it didn't get the praise in the blogosphere that was heaped upon its cousin Vogue 1250, a pattern with some similarities from the very same designer. I have made both and declare V1351 superior (are those fighting words? - I don't mean it that way).
The reason I made two of these dresses is because after I finished my first one I set about sewing up another with fabric from my stash and chose a color that just wasn't me. Probably why it was sitting in my stash unsewed. Anyway recently I brought it to my friend Michelle who is the same size as I am and sometimes the recipient of my sewing. (Click these links to see: Dress in brown polka dot, scroll down to see a Renfrew top and the best winter knit top ever, the marine blue one.) She loved it. Loved it. Next day she called and asked if I could make two more! Lucky girl, she and her family are setting out soon on a summer sabbatical in Europe, so knit dresses that can be smooshed in the suitcase are perfect for jaunting around various countries. (although she reads this blog and thus I will clarify that she is quite tidy and never smooshes anything in her suitcase, that person would be me!)
Now a little analysis. The floral dress on the left is an ITY jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics (fabric). It was a lot more stable than I expected, with only stretch on the crosswise grain. The black and white scroll print on the right is a rayon jersey with 2-way stretch, bought last year at Joann Fabrics just because I thought it looked like a good basic.
The previous versions I had sewn using this pattern all had been with jersey that stretched both ways. To my suprise I think the floral ITY with the crosswise-only stretch worked out the best. The rayon jerseys are very stretchy, and since this dress is cut on the bias they want to pull down even more. The slightly more stable fabric holds its shape better and due to the inner lining holds the wearer in a bit too. My impression is that these Donna Karan patterns are genius with their knit linings that create smooth lines underneath it all. The queen of those patterns has to be V1159 which I made a few years ago for another friend. That dress has a magic spanx-like knit lining that totally holds you in but is very comfortable and supports all the draping and pleating.
Here is the first version I sewed from this pattern, blogged here.
Above I mentioned that I like this pattern more than the V1250 which is also deceptively simple and works beautifully in knits. I prefer this one more because it has full length side seams (the V1250 has a wrap around skirt portion that makes it less easy to alter for fit.) Also this 1351 skirt is cut on the bias and slightly a-line so falls very nicely in most any fabric. It also can be made in a woven and would be gorgeous in a printed silk charmeuse.
Here is the pattern envelope and a look at the inside lining which keeps the cowl neckline in perfect position.
The purple version was too big - really too long in the bodice and I had to take it up at the shoulders a good amount, almost 3/4" front and back. For these versions I folded out 3/4" from the back bodice across the upper back, and figured the shoulder seam would settle wherever it needed to. I also raised the armholes about 1/2" on both front and back pattern pieces. When I sewed the dress I ended up using a 3/4" seam at the shoulder so all in all the changes worked very well.
So that is my first pattern repeat of the spring/summer. Some others on my to-sew list are things you can probably predict, but there are one or two that may come as complete suprises. I should never say never!
Last week it was almost 100 degrees F here, very unusual for May and a perhaps scary predictor of the summer to come. Although that does motivate me in the summer separates sewing category. Maybe even a swimsuit.
Happy Sewing, Beth
Today's SunnyGal garden photo, an orange old-fashioned rose that probably been here for 30+years? Precedes me by a long while. It puts out these simple roses mostly in early spring and loses a bit of steam when the summer heat comes round. I keep it because the color is yummy and ekes out just enough blooms to retain her spot.