Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Vogue 9239 dress

As many of us are aware, with commercial sewing patterns it's often a good idea to look past the photos on the pattern envelope and pay closer attention to the line drawings, and that's definitely true for Vogue 9239 as far as I'm concerned. While some people would love the oversized and frilled sleeves that are a key feature of most of the views of the dress, they're not really my thing (if nothing else, because I couldn't be trusted not to get them caught on everything or covered in food when cooking or something!). The simplicity of view D, on the other hand, really appealed to me.

Alongside the host of dramatic sleeve options, Vogue 9239 features a fitted, princess seam bodice and a choice of a slim or full panelled skirt. Views A and D omit the sleeves altogether and instead have wide yoke pieces which almost feel slightly like cap sleeves. The shape reminded me a bit of a more everyday version of Simplicity 1418, which I made last year - while I love that dress, the off-the-shoulder look isn't the kind of thing I wear on a daily basis.

I debated a bit about what size to sew given that commercial patterns are notoriously generous in their sizing. Looking at the finished garment measurements, I was pretty sure that the size based on my measurements would be a bit roomy, but the size down might be a bit tight. I decided to toile my actual size (with my standard addition of 1 inch to the bodice length), going with the theory that it's easier to make things smaller than it is to add extra material to make things bigger.

As expected, the toile did turn out to be a little on the spacious side. I took a wedge out of the side seams measuring 2cm at the underarms, tapering in to 1cm at the waist and that greatly improved things. I've decided that I like to have slightly more ease in the waist of dresses when it's warm so I haven't made it overly snug still - it's fitted enough to give shape without making it too clingy in the heat.

I also decided to raise the side seams by 1.5cm at the underarms. As you can see in the photo above, I think if I hadn't done that then the underarms would have been a bit low and there would have been a risk of exposing underwear. Similarly, I brought the neckline in by 1.5cm at the shoulders just to make sure that bra straps wouldn't be too much on show. My final adjustment was to add 5cm to the skirt, which is just a height/length preference thing.

The dress was nice and easy to sew. I admit that I didn't pay too much attention to the instructions - I lined the bodice, but left out the underlining that the pattern calls for (I'm intending this to be a summer dress so I didn't want to add unnecessary layers), and I didn't line the skirt. I also used an invisible zip instead of a lapped one, which meant that I altered the order of the construction steps slightly. On the odd occasion where I did do what the pattern told me though, the instructions were clear and easy to follow.

Having said in my last post that I wanted to have a whole summer wardrobe of tana lawn dresses, this is another one to add to the collection. This time the print is called Eleonora, and it was an ebay bargain (there's currently none available from the seller I got it from). It's a really lovely print, and happily goes perfectly with the greeny bead necklace that I'm wearing here, which I've had for ages and love but have never been sure what to wear it with until now!

I really like how this dress turned out, and I'd definitely think about making another version of Vogue 9239 in the future - although I don't think it'll be happening any time soon because there are too many other plans swirling around in my mind!

Thursday, 6 July 2017

A double dose of New Look 6723

It's been a little while since I last posted. There's been no shortage of sewing going on in the meantime, but the projects I've been making have either felt not worthy of their own blog post (pyjama trousers for my nephew, and a very simple t-shirt for my dad) or they have been for people who don't necessarily want to be subjected to a whole blog photo session (my mum). Thankfully the dress I made for my mum turned out so nicely that I decided to make my own version which I'm here to share with you today.

The pattern is New Look 6723. I made a couple of versions of view D of this pattern a few years ago (here and here) and I've worn both of them a lot so, given my proclivity for making certain patterns repeatedly (I'm looking at you Emery dress!), it's surprising that it's taken me this long to make another version.

I was mainly prompted into making this because, having promised to make a dress for my mum, I was having a bit of trouble getting toiles of the original pattern she picked (Simplicity 8294) to fit. I'd got a bit frustrated with the whole thing so one weekend when I was staying with my parents, I had one of my earlier 6723s with me and got her to try it on because we're a pretty similar size other than the fact that I'm a bit taller. It fit really nicely, so the original pattern was abandoned and I set about tweaking 6723 slightly to fit with my mum's requests.

Mum definitely didn't want the sweetheart neckline, so I used view B of 6723 but lowered the neckline slightly using the Simplicity pattern as a guide. Other than that, the only changes I made were the same as for my two first versions, namely using an invisible zip instead of a lapped one (which meant I slightly altered the construction order) and adding in pockets. And as soon as I'd finished my mum's dress, I cut out a second version of my very own!

I persuaded my mum that she did want to make a cameo blog appearance really, so this is the version I made for her. It's sewn using some lovely Seasalt fabric. I'm extremely happy about Seasalt selling fabric! I've been saying for ages that they should - I love a lot of their prints and in the past I'd have happily bought their dresses, but now that I sew I have to admit that, like most RTW dresses, the waistline is slightly high on me. So it's excellent that they've somehow read my mind!

The fabric is lovely quality - it's fairly light weight so I think you'd want to line bodices at least, but that's fine for me because I prefer lined bodices anyway. I've got a length of the Corde Fleur Night print sitting waiting for me to decide what to sew with it, and I'm seriously tempted to treat myself to another print as well.

Anyway, I'll stop gushing about Seasalt fabric now and gush about Liberty tana lawn instead because that's what I used for my version. This particular print is called Mushaboom, and I picked it up in the Liberty sale back in January. I love the fact that the print is a bit larger scale than most tana lawns, and also that the colours are so saturated.

It really is gorgeous, and tana lawn is great for wearing when the weather's hot. So much so that in the recent heat wave I semi-jokingly declared that I want enough Liberty dresses so that I can get through any heat waves clad exclusively in tana lawn. My fabric budget is far from limitless though, so I might have to build up that collection gradually by taking advantage of sales and/or ebay bargains!

All in all, I'm really happy with how both of these dresses turned out. It's a lovely summer dress shape - nice and breezy for when the weather's hot without being so sundress-y that it looks like it should only be worn on a beach. Don't be surprised if you see more of them round these parts in the future!