Friday, November 19, 2010

Michael Kors dress - Vogue 1117

The holidays are fast approaching and I have resolved to have a new dress for a holiday party or two.  Last year I was like the proverbial cobbler's children who had no shoes.  In my case - the busy dressmaker with no dress.  This year I am staying in CA for the holidays so I have a bit more time.  Also, I am waiting for fabric that I ordered last week to make some children's jumpers, hopefully it will arrive tomorrow but I am not counting on it.  

So I was rummaging through my file boxes looking for something to make, and came across this pattern which I bought last year but had never made.  Perfect time to try it out.  The suggested fabrics are men's suiting, crepe, and lightweight tweed.  Having none of these in my stash I pulled out a fabric that I bought at an estate sale months ago. I would call it a twill or a kind of denim.  The threads are magenta and black, which combine into a smokey merlot color (if that is a color).  Very easy to work with and presses well.  No stretch which would be nice, but for one dollar at an estate sale I am not complaining.  


This pattern is a rated average but  I would definitely call it advanced.  Lots of pieces and plenty of marking to do.  
The question of size is one I am still playing with.  I usually start with a size 12 bodice and then play around with the actual measurements.  Lately the patterns seem to add way more ease than is necessary or flattering.  For example, the size 12 pattern is for a 34" bust.  See the circle with the X in it on the pattern below, the pattern it shows a finished bust measurement of 38" which would be 4" total of ease.   I always use these finished measurement indicators which convention dictates are printed on the front pattern pieces, usually bust, waist and hip although depending on the style they can omit the waist, hip or both.  For a multi-size pattern they can help you decide which size to use or how to choose a different size for top and bottom and grade the difference.  Quick method of checking is to hold the measure tape around you at the measurement, for this one bust at 38", and imagine that as the garment.  Does it stand too far away from your body?  or too tight to sit down?  
I think for a sleeveless dress that 4" of ease in the bodice will be way too much, and I will probably end up taking it in about 2" but I am going to baste together the front and back and then see how it fits.  This is one more reason that I rarely assemble dresses as the pattern instructs, for me it works better to sew side seams as the last for fitting purposes.


Here is the front skirt piece, same circle with X indicating the finished measurements for hip for the various sizes.  You can see that I was lazy and just cut it out as the largest size on the pattern paper, so I will use it as an extra-large seam allowance.  


Lastly, here is a look at the inside of the front bodice.  The pattern instructions have you sew a small piece of bias fabric on the right side over that inside corner and then slash, turn to inside and then attach the side bodice.  I understand that they are creating a seam allowance where none exists at the inside point of that corner, but thank goodness for fusible interfacing.  Last year I saw this post on a great sewing blog, Erica B's DIY Style,  Vogue 1117 - Michael Kors Starlet Dress all about making this dress, she gave a lot of great tips on sewing it including this one on step 8 in the instructions.  If you are making this dress read her post first.  So I did as she instructed with the fusible and it worked fine.  

Mkdress corner fusible

Today I hope to finish a couple of muslins that I have started, finish a dress I am making for a client, get to the gym for a serious workout, and who knows what else.  MUST turn off computer!   Expecting our first big storm here so no gardening (whew, relief) 

Here is today's SunnyGal garden photo, took this about 2 weeks ago after a quick rain shower.  Mini roses in a pot that have stayed alive and blooming for 6 years.  I was in the parking garage elevator in Union Square in San Francisco, leaving the shopping district and a woman got on the elevator with what appeared to be a table centerpiece.  I said it was pretty and she said "will you take it, I don't even want it."   I never turn down a plant so I came home with it and it has bloomed ever since. 



  1. Those roses are gorgeeous and I love the color of the fabric you are working with. What a bargain and incredible find at $1.00.

  2. I'm really looking forward to seeing this dress finished. I love this pattern but I think that it's probably a bit too difficult for me to attempt until I get some more experience - not only to sew but to fit (it looks very tricky around the bust!). I am sure, however, that you will do a wonderful job - I love the colour of the fabric you have chosen.

  3. I have purchased this pattern for my holiday dress as well, so I will be following your progress closely.
    That is interesting about the ease, but I can't wait to see how it actually looks sewn together.