Thursday, April 24, 2014

V8972 dress in wool crepe, completed

Have you been following the fashions of the Duchess down under? I can't get enough of the daily fashion updates. Her clothes have been fantastic and such great colors. One thing I noticed was how often her dresses had sleeves that were about elbow length (the yellow/white dress, the eyelet dress, the white with blue flowers). Kind of an interesting choice but it did look very pretty.

Today I put the finishing touches on the Vogue 8972 dress in black wool crepe, including elbow length sleeves. It is next to impossible for me to photograph a black garment like this, what is the trick? Difficult to see the seaming details.

For a nice change of pace I actually took pictures of the dress on the person it was made for.

V8972 wool crepe dress side view

Here is a slightly better look at the seaming details, I lightened up this photo so the black looks weird, the photo above is a better representation.

Janice front dress details

I am really happy with the combination of fit and the fabric we chose, despite my hesitation about sewing on black. For this wearer the style works as a fitted sheath dress. I have seen other versions that were very fitted, to the point of curve hugging but this pattern also works with a bit more ease so that it skims over the body. 
Some details on the pattern adjustments. I made two muslins as I just was not happy with the way the sleeve was fitting. In the first I made the pattern sleeve and it was really tight, both in the armhole and across the arm, even though the wearer is not particularly large in that area, in fact very petite around the upper torso. Weird. Sometimes I can just look at a sleeve and know there will be trouble and this one was definitely in that category. 
Second muslin I made a cut on gusset on the sleeve, which you can see here. This adds more room at the bottom of the armhole for movement. Also you can see in the photo at the bottom half showing my adjusted sleeve pattern that I did two other modifications. 1) widened the sleeve circumference by 3/4" from top to hem. 2) Sliced through at the sleeve cap and added about 3/8" at the front of the sleeve. These may seem like scary changes and they are not for the faint of heart in terms of setting in the sleeves. But wool crepe is very forgiving (most wools are) and I did one other adjustment to the armhole which I will show below.

sleeve comparison V8972
final sleeve V8972

The other adjustment was to change the shape of the armhole when I cut out the second muslin. The pattern originally has what I call (in my head - this is not an official designation) a sharp armhole. Where the bottom front curves sharply toward the bust, basically taking away distance across the chest. This type of armhole/sleeve combo is very likely to feel restricting and pull across the chest in an unflattering way.   
Better to show than describe.  On the left is the bodice front. The yellow thread trace is the original armhole stitch line and the blue thread trace is the one I used. Same for the bodice back on the right. 
Don't you think that swoopy shape of the armhole is trouble? I do.  In any case, by changing the armhole I did make the circumference shorter in length. And I took it up a smidge at the shoulder. So another factor to consider when making the sleeve cap larger. However I figured I could give it a try, and basted the adjusted sleeves in, rearranging the fullness several times until I was happy.  But yikes, why to they design the armholes that way???   Scroll back up to the second photo and see how smoothly the sleeve fits, and looks comfortable. Much better.....

Front and back bodice inside V8972
After I had the bodice and skirt assembled I did catchstitch down all the horizontal seams with silk thread. Takes a few minutes but with all the fusible interfacing in that area it is quick to do, doesn't show and keeps everything smooth on the inside.
The back of the dress and the seaming is a tiny bit more apparent in this photo. I didn't topstitch as the pattern indicates, that just seemed too casual for what she wanted, wearing to a charity event evening cocktail party.

V8972 back view

Another look at the front. I also changed the neckline a bit, I think raised about 1/2 inch.

V8972 close up front

All in all, I am happy with this one and glad to be finished with sewing on black fabric :).

Up next, something very light and bright!

Possible rain here this weekend - we wish! Well, it does make pulling weeds easier. 

Happy April showers sewing,  Beth

Something simple for today's SunnyGal garden photo, a small white azalea to compliment the little black dress. Lives in the shady corner of the garden. White flowers really pop at dusk, I need to find some more varieties. 

white azalea 2014


  1. A very lovely dress. The elbow length sleeves are likely to be because the shorter the sleeve, the less authority your convey. She has also lengthened her dresses - I read that she was advised to do this, to look more regal.

  2. Also, the weather here is still variable - so elbow length sleeves would hedge the bets, so to speak :)

  3. Lovely dress and so beautifully fitting! I've never heard of a cut on gusset. It's brilliant. Sleeves can be such a stinker but just think of the physics of this appendage going into the human body. It's amazing we get them in at all! Yours are perfection.

  4. The dress is lovely. I found this sharp armhole in the 2 vogue patterns that I have used. I think it almost looks like an L shaped armhole. Not sure why. I've never seen this shape armhole in any of the Burda magazines. I am making a vogue jacket right now and retraced the armhole using a Burda pattern.

  5. Beautiful! Perfect in every way.

  6. It looks perfect! I love the length and the fit.

  7. The fit of this dress is absolutely beautiful!!

  8. Great job, it looks PERFECT on her! Sorry the sleeves gave you such problems.

  9. Beautiful dress. Black really is tough especially if you have to rip anything.! I really have to try drafting a cut on gusset for the underarm. I took a class with Kenneth King where he showed us how to do it, and now I have to find my notes! I am so used to knit tops that the gusset might be a great solution for me.

  10. I admire you! Such a lot of work on those sleeves...but of course it is all worthy as the result is perfect, impecable fitting and those seams look terrific, congratulations on a very good work!

  11. Lovely! Interesting about the armhole shape. That shape might suit me as I am narrow across the chest.

  12. I first heard about the cut-on gusset in a Craftsy course with Lynda Maynard. So neat to see it "in the wild"!
    Another masterful dress, so well done! Your client looks very elegant.

  13. Beautiful! You obviously spent a great deal of time and care on this project. It is truly well done.

  14. Absolutely the chic-est dress! and impeccably made; it's always such a pleasure to view your work. I really enjoyed reading the sleeve adjustments, very interesting. I have a vogue pattern with very troublesome sleeves; totally different to these ones here, one of those Chado Ralph Rucci "innovative" designs with unusual sleeves, and I've been mentally plotting with how to get extra fabric in there somehow. I'd been thinking about a separate gusset, but you've made me think I could work out a cut-in one instead. Food for thought!

  15. Very beautiful work! I know how hard it is to photograph black too! But I can see the details and how much work must have gone into this dress! She should be a satisfied customer!

  16. I love the seams on this dress. It looks beautiful on your client!