I’ve always thought myself of someone who just knew what they liked and generally trusted my first impression. However, I have learned this to be completely untrue. I remember the first time I started seeing women wear their hair in high top knot buns and really disliking the look. Fast forward to today and well…there’s a 80% chance my hair is in a high bun. The same thing happened with this pattern, the now well-known Rachel Comey Vogue Pattern 1501. When it first came out I thought it was trying a bit too hard to be cool. I told myself I liked patterns that were simple and straight-forward in design. As time wore on and I saw some extremely chic versions crop up here and there, I slowly started to fall in love. I stocked up on this fabric late last fall and finally found the motivation to sew it up this spring just in time for a trip to Palm Springs.
The more I observe stylish sewists and artsy people, I find myself being far more open to the “weird”. However, I have big fears of not liking what I make or not quite landing the look and feeling foolish, so I tend to play it really safe. But as time goes on, I am allowing myself to lean into garments that are “weird” and “fashion-y”and kind of loving it. I want to go bigger with silhouettes, manipulate fabric, create unique shapes and make something that truly feels unique. I really admire Sophie’s style, who exemplifies the look I feel more and more drawn to in my sewing (and ready to wear) purchases. I recently made another one of Rachel’s Vogue patterns which I LOVE and am feeling drawn to the Keilo wrap dress for the summer (another pattern that I initially felt was a little too odd) and need to give myself more permission to take the risks and make things that are anything but ordinary. Anyways, back to this wonderful dress.
The fabric is a Telio viscose broken twill. I knew I wanted a fabric in a rich navy color and something that would hold it’s weight and showcase the pattern design, but still drape beautifully to give that floaty element in the skirt and in the back. It turned out to be the perfect mix of both worlds for this garment.
It’s been a while since I’ve sewn with a Vogue pattern, so I sort of guessed with the sizing. I am technically between a 12 and 14, but I have heard a lot about the excess ease in these patterns, so I cut a “generous” size 12. I added my standard 2.5 cm length to the bodice so the skirt would hit my proper waist. Wearing it now, the bodice feels a teensy bit long. I am not sure there’s much I can do at this point, besides making a note to only add 1.5 cm to future makes of this pattern. As I was cutting everything out, I was pretty distracted and forgot to cut the back bodice piece on the fold since I’m so used to working with a centre back seam. I would have had enough fabric if I had just laid things out correctly at the beginning but sadly I did not have enough to recut the piece. Luckily, in this dark, solid color you can barely tell the back seam is there. Had I been working with a bold print, I might be complaining a lot more.
The instructions were easy to follow and even introduced me to some new techniques… had I had the brainpower to attempt them. It featured a new way of inserting the in seam pockets that I hadn’t seen before. However I was sewing on a deadline (ie. flying out the next morning) I decided not to risk the task of trying something new and made a note to try it on my next pockets when I have more time.
I opted out of the shoulder pads (wasn’t really my thing) and so I got to skip a few fiddly steps there. I inserted the facings using ye olde burrito method for a fast, clean finish. This did slightly change the assembly order in regards to the shoulder and side seams, but nothing dramatically. I say this every time I sew all-in-one facings, but damn I love those things. Everything feels neat and tidy and no arguing with bias tape.
Once everything was complete and I tried it on, I seriously contemplated giving the length a chop to bring it up above the knee. Nearly all my dresses are that length and the skirt felt a little too long. Time and energy kept me from doing it (see again: flight the next morning) and I told myself if it was always something I could adjust later. Interestingly though, the more I wear it, the more I find this length a little more dramatic, and refreshingly different. For now, it’ll stay as is.
As many people have pointed out already, it’s a bit of a puzzle of how to store it. The skirt is only attached at the center front pleats, so the entire skirt is just pulling on that seam if you use a regular hanger. For now I have it on a pants hanger, with the waistband in the clips and the bodice draped down. Also not ideal, but preferable to wrinkles from folding and stuffing in a drawer.
I had a lot of fun making this dress, and in terms of construction, it wasn’t all that different than other things I typically make. I feel sophisticated and cool and yet totally comfortable, which I think makes it the ultimate win. In terms of my wardrobe, it fits right in with this new version of clothes I want to make and wear and I hope it can keep me inspired to go for the bold.