I’ve been going through a sewing slump this month. The willingness is there, but the time and decision-making is not. I’ve been buying up a few springlike fabrics and patterns to try to kickstart some motivation, and a recent Jaycotts sale landed me with the lovely new season Vogue 1501 amongst others. I plucked it out this weekend, and it totally worked: this was a heap of fun to make and sew and I have a nice new spring wardrobe garment ready to go.
V1501 is a Rachel Comey designer pattern. Here’s the pattern art (which is apparently usually one of the actual RTW dresses from the designer’s line) and another similar dress currently on sale at rachelcomey.com (now I want an ankle-length black version, stat). Similar to my last finished garment it’s an illusion top-and-skirt style, with the bodice only joined to the skirt at the front waistband.
I didn’t toile because the pattern pieces looked about right: I cut a size 12 from shoulder to waist and 14 in the skirt, and tucked 3/4″ out of the bodice length. The key fitting point to get right is the waistband really as the bust and hips are loose. The fastening is an invisible zip at the centre back waist plus a button loop at the back neck.
I can’t get over how good the fit is through the shoulder/upper chest/back with no adjusting: this never happens to me in Big 4s! Are the designer patterns cut to a different block? However it’s a little tight through the bum: darted back skirts never do that well on me.
I made a few small stylistic tweaks:
· Removed the deep inverted pleat on the centre of the front skirt; instead cut the pattern piece on the fold on the pleat line. Not a fan of masses of volume around my middle.
· Took 4″ off the skirt length
· The shoulders have a strange ‘gusset’ piece to add height, into which you’re supposed to slip a shoulder pad. The American footballer vibe is not my thing, so I sewed the gusset in flat instead for a tiny cap sleeve effect.
The construction reminded me of my beloved Vogue 1395: nothing overly taxing or tricky, but some satisfyingly fiddly little steps to work through. Zen sewing at its best. I put my trust in the instructions, which were mostly pretty good, though I found it a bit weird that you get directions to French seam the skirt pockets but no clue on how to finish the rest of the skirt side seams. So I had to hastily overlock them afterwards.
I especially appreciated the all-in-one facing unit to finish the neck and arms being sewn in my preferred way, which takes longer but gets a really lovely smooth result.
This fabric has been kicking around in my stash for ages; it’s a lightweight cotton from The Man Outside Sainsburys in Walthamstow and was a good match for the pattern. (I hear tell there’s another Walthamstow meetup next weekend so I’m looking forward to seeing what TMOS has in store these days.) I definitely want a solid version in black or navy next to try and emulate the lovely RTW version above.