Because I’m the type of home sewists who learned as an adult, as opposed to with family members, the independent sewing pattern scene was always my go-to. These patterns were easily accessible, often packaged in an extremely user-friendly format, and came with all sorts of online bells and whistles; online tutorials, you-tube videos, testimonials, etc.
Up until recently I sewed exclusively with the indies, but after a certain point, my skills improved and I sought out more developed styles. This followed my learning curve of pattern making, which I have been casually studying for a while now. The Big-4 patterns no longer intimidated me in the way they did before, nor did their layouts confuse me. Their patterns, often more diverse than than some indies, began to appeal to me, and I recently embraced sewing with these patterns, with Vogue Patterns, in particular.
These featured garments may very well be created with my first Vogue pattern, or at least half of the pattern! I had been dreaming of a fitted button front sundress, and eventually decided on the v9182 pattern.
The cut of the v9182 is, of course, quite simple and not a rare style, by any means. What appealed to me most, however, was its fit and flare shape. This pattern also includes different bust size options, something I was curious to try. My first choice of fabric was for a gorgeous white floral rayon from Blackbird Fabrics, but since I only had two meters, I chose to draft my own skirt (still so excited to be able to do this!). I made a simple A-line cut from my block that required less fabric than the skirt in the pattern.
I’ve been intent on improving the quality of my projects lately, and achieving a good fit is important to me. I made two muslins for the bodice, which worked well for the most part. My regular adjustments are for a broad upper back, the shoulder slope, the bust size and apex position. Regardless of the pattern company, I need to watch out for these details. Despite my caution, it took until the third version of this dress (soon to be posted) to realize that the last necessary adjustment was to pinch out some fabric in the straps. My first white floral version is a little loose in the bodice (I fear making garments that are too tight…), while the first is a bit more fitted because I changed the straps to tie-straps which allows me to tighten the fit. I also changed the button placement, size, and amount used. This added some difference between the fit of the toile and the final project, but I worked it out by the last version–yes, I had a little Goldilocks thing going on.
I am also trying to improve on my finishing techniques lately. The white dress is fully lined, although it could have used some more finesse. For the second version, the bodice is self-lined. The fabric for my second dress is a light cotton recently scooped up at Bennytex in Paris. Each version has its own different feel and they are worn at different moments.
Since making these two versions, I’ve made a third which I’ll post shortly. I’ve enjoyed playing around with the dresses’ designs. I added a bow at the waist in the first, shoulder ties to the second, and a skirt ruffle to the third. The last one has me thinking about trying to ‘perfect’ the dress with a fourth version. Constructing these dresses has certainly been something of a summer experiment!