Thursday 29 October 2009

Vogue 1117 by Michael Kors - part 1

Thank you all for the comments on the green Cynthia Rowley dress, I wasn't sure about the style for me before I made it so I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Next up for me is the Michael Kors dress 1117, this is a very early progress report so not the most interesting post I'm afraid.

The pattern is rated "average" which I think is a bit optimistic. It has an interesting cut with side front and back inserts which are not easy to sew. With the caveat that I am not much of a teacher or photographer and there may be better ways of doing these steps ( I'm certain it wasn't done this way in factory production! ), here is how I inserted the side fronts and backs - steps 7, 13, 20. For sure the pattern instructions are somewhat lacking, but the illustration does show you what you are trying to end up with.

The photos below illustrate step 13 - the left front bodice, but the basic technique is the same for all - essentially don't try and stitch to the side and underarm in one pass, instead stitch them separately stopping at the pivot point.

Here I have stitched just the side seam, stopping at the pivot point. (the line of stitching nearest the cut edge is the staystitching from the previous step). It's easiest to see where to stop if the bodice front is on top. Pin first and check from the right side just to make sure that the square piece of fabric required for reinforcement hasn't got caught in the seam. Edited to add; Told you I was hopeless at tutorials, I was so carried away with taking photos I didn't read the instructions! This left bodice seam should be left open below the dart.

Next pin the curved seam that follows the underarm, again with the bodice front on top - you can just see the pivot point from the previous line of stitching.

Flip it over to check before sewing the seam.

Stitch in place (you can see I used two rows of stitching to get it right (I finished too short of the pivot point the first time), so you might want to baste in place first!). Press and trim the seam allowances, grading them to minimise showthrough on the right side.

The finished upper front piece (oops just realised this final photo is actually the right front!).

Step 13, the bodice back, is a little trickier in that you have 3 sides to stitch - I did it in the same way - first the side seam, then the underarm seam and lastly the seam joining to the lower dress. Looking ahead in the instructions I see that the lining is constructed similarly so there is plenty of opportunity for practice!

I hope these photos help pad out the instructions a bit. Ok, back to work on the dress.....


  1. You've done a great job with this seam - it looks smooth and wrinkle free, which is not easy to do.

    I'm familiar with these sorts of bodice seams, as they are used frequently in vintage patterns usually from the 1950's. They were on the BOH dress that I made last winter.

  2. I have this pattern, too. Thanks for sharing! Good luck!

  3. I can't wait to see the dress on you. I have this pattern and fabric for it. The pattern envelope looks kinda frumpy, not at all like the runway and RTW versions.

  4. Allison - thanks so much for posting this. When I tried this dress, I believe that I was turning up the edges of the side piece itself, rather than folding the bodice pieces over and stitching on the seam line. I think I understand what to do now, so thanks again, I'll probably be able to do this dress now. Did the supporting small piece really flip from the outside to the inside??

    Makes me feel a little better that you are also feeling that "average" is a stretch!

  5. You did a great job on this tricky task. Awesome post.

  6. Funny how the grass on the other side always looks greener. When it was winter here, I was in raptures over the summer dresses. Now I'm looking enviously at the beautiful quality wools. I have to stop!

  7. That looks fantastic! Your seams are just perfect. Can't wait to see the dress.

  8. I love it so far and can't wait to see where this journey takes you!!

  9. Thanks for showing us the step by step of this dress. It's on my "wishlist" and I just think it's wonderful. Didn't realize there were these details in it, though. Definitely "above average". Looking forward to the next installment.

  10. looking good. i cant wait for the finished dress. ur previous dresses are gorgeous!!

    p/s: happy wedding anniversary :)

  11. Thank you so much for the wonderful help on Vogue 1117. I could not have made it without you. It looks beautiful. I made it with a great brown linen from Hancock fabrics. I want to make it in another fabric. Yeah!!

  12. I know it's been a whole year since you posted this - but I'm in the process of making this now and I have done a toile - so, I say thanks to you for posting your recommendations - it is a great dress!!