Pattern Review – Vogue 1087 Dress by Donna Karan


Pattern Description: From Vogue’s website, “Fitted dress, below mid-knee, has pleated and tucked front forming wrap effect. Front extends to back at sides, back has zipper and hemline vent. No side seams.”

Sizing: 4 to 18. I made a straight 14

Fabric Used: Shimmer Fleurs Jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics. This is one of those fabrics that actually looks so much better made up than it does on the bolt.

Needle/Notions Used: Stretch 75/11. Thread, stretch tricot interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply, Steam-a-Seam.

Did it look like the photo or drawing when you got through? Yes, but not thanks to Vogue’s instructions.

How were the instructions? They sucked. Seriously – a monkey with a typewriter could probably do as good or better a job on the instructions. I can count on three fingers the patterns whose instructions were so frustrating that they made me want to burn them. This is one of the three. I saw a review where the reviewer said this was great for advanced sewists. Then the reviewer went on to state that she had to reread the directions several times and still wasn’t able to figure it out, and she had to do all sorts of machinations to figure out the construction. So did I. Sorry – that’s not great for any sewist. I’ve put together some seriously challenging Vogue patterns (read, Issey Miyake) without problems, so I think this is really a deficiency on Vogue’s part. I need to put a little space between myself and this pattern for a while, then I may come back with a how-to.

The instructions have you leave several parts unfinished – all the seams, the bodice front piece and all of the hems on the armholes and drapes – they don’t even tell you to turn the hem allowance under. I have made sample pieces now for a half dozen designers. I can tell you, if I did the finishing on my samples the way the instructions tell you to in this pattern I would get laughed out of the room. Pardon me for going on, but it’s just so irksome. These instructions are a recipe for Becky-Home-Ecky all the way.

Okay, let me go on to other things before I raise my blood pressure.

Construction Notes: I used a narrow zigzag for the seams (.5 mm wide, 2.5 mm long). I used Steam-a-Seam to do the hem (I was sick to death of it by this point, so I just wanted to have it done).

Any changes? I made a straight 14 and there are a few things that I need to change to make it fit properly. Believe it or not, I don’t need an FBA on this. I suspect that Vogue may have used Donna Karan’s sloper for this pattern, and she tends to draft for bustier women. Plus, the draping is more forgiving to a larger bust. The back, though, is huge and gaps at the neck. I don’t generally need to take in the back on my garments, but I need to adjust the fit on this one. I think I could have started with a 12 and tapered out to a 14 at the side seams with no problems.

Likes/Dislikes: I do like the draping on this. I love the way this looks in this fabric. The garment can hide a multitude of sins, thanks to the drape. I like what my friend Camille calls “the fish gills”. The back darts are actually sewn on the right side of the fabric. Here you can see a closeup.
I also like the fact that it makes the wearer (that would be me) look like I have a well-defined waist. You already know what I don’t like about it.

Would you do it again? Would you recommend it? I’m not sure I would do it again. Phyllis and I were talking about it today, and she opined, “You know, it’s probably one of those things at this point where you’ll wear it once or twice and that will be it.” I suspect she is right. Before I can wear it, though, I need to fix the back neckline on me.

Would I recommend it? Not to my worst enemy’s cat. It’s really a pity, too.

Conclusion: They’re writing songs of love, but not for this. Here’s the dress on Shelley:
Edited to add – This dress looks fantastic on, sorry if I implied that it didn’t. It just needs some adjusting in the the back so it doesn’t gap at the neck. I’ll probably get DH to take a picture of me in it this Sunday.

Parting Shots
You remember that a tree demolished our shed in December? Well this weekend the snow finally melted enough and we rented a dumpster to take it down. Well, “we” means DH and neighbors. Demolition breaks fingernails, so I left it to the boys. Here are a couple of pictures.

Fortunately, Hoover has enough sense to stay clear.

Give a man a sledgehammer….

Next up, I think I want to make a fabulous jacket with some bouclé I bought (sorry, this one was for me, not the site) when I was in New York last. Happy sewing!

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