Monday 29 July 2013

Vogue 1343 Tracy Reese Dress

I've just finished this dress by Tracey Reese.  I really like the details in this design, but in case you are the type to scroll over posts let me do you all a favour and say DO NOT BUY THIS PATTERN!

Vogue 1343

The details are great
The skirt is great
The back is great
The instructions are even really good and give you a nice finish on the inside (not so good when you need to rip it all out)


The drafting for the bodice front is appallingly BAD.  Seriously the drape on the cowl was heading towards my waist and although the bodice is meant to be loose fitting I don't think this is what the designer intended!

I know lots of people have trouble with the amount of ease in the Big 4 patterns and I have been one of them, but I have generally found Vogue designer patterns to be at least consistent, and especially within the pattern.  It feels like the front got mixed up with a different grading system entirely.

In Vogue's defence I used a knit (one of the recommended fabrics is a matte jersey which I think must mean a stable not very stretchy jersey, like a double knit) and I did not cut it on the bias, although I suspect it would have come to my knees if I had.  And in my defence, the only review I can find had exactly the same problems, I bet there are a lot of unfinished versions out there too.  Interestingly Merche has just had similar unexpected sizing issues with a Rachel Comey pattern so maybe something weird is going on at Vogue.  Anyway I used a combination of the fixes used by the pattern reviewer and Merche to come up with this.

The fabric is a camel & black printed jersey, and for those of you who wanted me to pair my last outfit with red accessories, your advice didn't completely fall on deaf ears, wearing a pop of red with these colours helps bring the dress to life.

Hopefully I've convinced you not to try this, but if you do I really recommend using a cowl front from a different pattern.  After making my changes I really didn't have the heart to do all the neat finishing on the inside again so I changed the construction.  Briefly the changes I made were;

  • First I tried to not have to undo all the perfectly finished yokes so I took it up at the shoulder seams by at least 2 inches and reshaped the armhole a bit to compensate.  This helped but more was needed if I wanted to ever move in this dress without flashing everything to the world.
  • Begrudgingly unpicked the front yokes and front facings
  • Added an elastic casing to the front bodice
  • Shortened the front yokes by another inch or so
  • Joined them at the neck edge so I had a finished edge there and serged them onto the bodice front
  • Applied a facing strip to the back neck edge
  • Serged the shoulder seams and applied facings to the armholes

So all in all a very frustrating project and I'm glad it's over and that I managed to rescue the dress.  I feel all wound up just from typing this!

Wednesday 17 July 2013

I'm back from the UK

Folks, I am back from my visit to the UK which happily coincided with the beginning of a rare heatwave, in fact I think it is currently hotter in the UK than it is in Hong Kong.  It has taken me a week to get over the jetlag this time for some reason (increasing age no doubt).

I'm catching up with literally hundreds of blog posts, still have a few things I need to write posts for and I've started a new dress, but in the meantime here are some photos from the sunny Sussex wedding.  Before the wedding I was visiting friends and family in the sticks so it turned out my accessories purchasing options were pretty limited, but I did manage a fascinator and some earrings.  In the end despite my reservations about the pale colour it was just the thing for a hot sunny day.

These "hedge people" were walking around during the reception, I'd never seen anything like it before, potentially nightmare inducing, but I thought they were brilliant.