Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Vogue 1117 Michael Kors dress, my new fave

Today I put the finishing touches on this Vogue 1117 Michael Kors dress, and I am loving it.  
My previous post was about fabric and fitting. on this "rated average difficulty but is a bit beyond that" pattern.

Korsdress close up

This one was meant to be a test version, using some of my estate sale find fabric, and I am really happy with it.  I will be wearing this to some holiday festivities this year.  Kind of different for me, as close to a little black dress as I ever get since I rarely wear black. 
The dress form photo is first in this blog post so you can see the detail on the front of the dress which is so clever.  OK - a shot of the dress on me.  I had to tweak this in photoshop in an attempt to make the details visible, consequently the color looks a bit weird.  I was zipping out the door for a haircut appointment today - so I cropped my bad hair day right out of the photo.   I wish I could take beautiful and mysterious photos like Yoshimi - who sews fantastic things and models in an interesting way.   Also I would like to grow 4 inches but that seems unlikely.  (5 ft  3.5 in)


A few notes on this pattern, Vogue 1117
  • very figure flattering,  accentuates the good parts and kind of distracts from the rest
  • not so easy to fit.  Take note of the measurements on the pattern pieces, very necessary to read and take heed of on this pattern.  I suggest cutting out your usual size but adding an extra 1" seam allowance on all side pieces, to play with fit.  That bodice seam may hit at an odd place if you are tall or long waisted. 
  • fabric with some lycra or other stretch fabric might be better than a menswear suiting which they suggest.  Tightly woven suiting is a very unforgiving fabric to work with.
  • the armholes are a teeny bit tight, maybe I took it in too much right under the arm but the way they are cut is a but snug.
  • hand sewing is your friend on this dress - the instructions have you insert the lining almost fully by machine - which I rarely do since it makes fitting more dfficult.  I could sew the whole thing much faster if I put the lining in by hand as the last step.
  • I took in almost one inch out of the center back seam, even more at the waist. I am coming to the conclusion that not only am I a different size top and bottom, but also front and back.    But really who isn't?
Now for a peek behind the curtain.   Years ago I concluded that when I work on any sort of special occasion dress for myself, the sewing style changes.  I love tailoring, making wool jackets that will last for years, with spiffy linings and crisp welt pockets. Summer dresses that become my staples - sewn to last.   But a dress I will maybe wear only once?  or a few times at the most?  That is when I rummage through my lining bin, use up all those 1/2 and 7/8 yard pieces of various colors that are perfectly good leftovers.   So this dress has lining in red, grey and a sad brown that I am happy to use up.
Sometimes the sewing on the inside is not up to par either.  But I have never been to a party where someone admired my dress and then asked me to turn it inside out so they could inspect my seams.   I may have offered to show them but that is a different story (and guaranteed to send them off in search of another drink)
Kors mistake

Speaking of drink - what happened here?  yes one of those little treats where you happily finish a tricky seam and turn it over to see that you have sewn your dress bodice into the facing.
I seem to do some variation of this at least once per garment.  

Some construction details.   As mentioned above, I like to sew the side seams last so the lining is an issue.  Dresses like this with a wrap bodice call for a bit of a concession in that I sew the lining about 3/4 of the way, and leave a little flap unsewn near the side seams which can be turned back to allow the dress side seam to be adjusted.  Below you can see the little white dot which is the pin holding the lining back from the side seam.
Kors lining front
Now that the facing with lining is attached front and back, I can start fitting the side seams and the shoulder seam.  I was thinking I would need to take in the inner shoulder seam but in the end I did not.  However I was committed to this construction method so the shoulder seams get sewn up and then the lining tucked in, pressed and hand stitched.  Even the lining on this dress has fiddly little pieces.  However the lining did fit the dress like a dream so who am I to criticize Michael Kors (or whichever of his minions designed it) 

Kors back facing

In summary:  if you are looking for a challenge give it a try.  Now that I made this one I am very likely to make it again in the spring in a lighter color cotton sateen with some lycra.   The skirt seam details don't show well on a dark color, but I know they are there  :)

Thank you to everyone who reads my blog, and I appreciate all the comments and compliments.   
Happy Hectic December sewing to all,  from Beth


  1. That looks amazing!! I am so intimated by that midsection detail to even give this pattern a try!

  2. I love the details on your dress. I couldn't see them in the original pattern photo, but your photos are so clear. This is a beautiful dress!

  3. Wow. This is a beautiful dress with lovely details. All that seaming looks like it was very technically advanced. Very nice job.

  4. The details in this dress are just phenomenal. You did such a beautiful job on the seaming. I agree with your thinking on the inside. Good you could use up your leftover lining. The dress is very flattering on you. I really enjoy reading your tips. I'm still so happy with your invisible zipper insertion tutorial. I have saved so much time using a regular zipper foot!

  5. This is a gorgeous dress! It fits you beautifully,also. Great job!

  6. Beth, this dress is spectacular. Those wonderful seams look amazing. Thanks for sharing so many useful pictures.

  7. That's a stunning dress with beautiful details! You look great in it!

  8. wow! how lovely!!! i love the pleats and seams, i think i might have the exact shade of wool suiting in my stash!!!

  9. Great-looking dress! This is not an easy pattern at all, I tried it and gave up trying to make it fit. You've done a lovely job and it's very flattering on you!

  10. Just wanted to let you know that we liked your version of our Michael Kors pattern V1117 so much that we posted a link from the Vogue Patterns facebook page. You did a lovely job.