TL; DR – Sometimes commercial patterns are really, really good.
I wanted a classic DVF 70’s style wrap dress. Wrap dresses have been a bit of a fit issue for me, with a large chest and a short torso. This Vogue Pattern is a CLASSIC – everyone knows about it, and when you say “wrap dress” this is the pattern half the people will recommend.
Vogue is on the the “Big Three” commercial pattern companies. If you’re my age (Gen-X FTW!!!), you’ll probably best know commercial patterns by the envelope and tissues paper format they come in that you mom and grandmother used to sew with. The companies are Vogue, McCalls, and Butterick. Thus far, all of my patterns that I had made were from indie pattern companies, aka, not the Big Three.
There were some advantages to the indie patterns: they were more my style, I could print them at home, often with just my size printed, they tended to be more size inclusive (at least the ones I buy from; they aren’t all size inclusive. At all), and they were, on the whole, cheaper. But then FB algorithmically showed me an ad for the site Something Delightful who were having a $2.99 pattern sale of the Big Three, so I took the plunge.
I learned like some Vogue, a lot of McCalls patterns, and literally nothing from Butterick. Good to know. I knew that I was going to eventually get around to making one eventually, and a) that fabric was screaming to be a wrap dress and b) the pattern did say “Very Easy Vogue.” The pattern reviews online were all very positive and I was ready to make it on the last days of 2020 to be worn on New Year’s Eve.
I wasn’t sure that this would fit me, as I was just outside of the body measurements for the largest size. I made a muslin, and even in non-stretch fabric, the bodice fit me (look, if it can get around my chest I’m good to go). I had read from the reviews that it is a bit high-waisted and those who were taller had to lengthen the bodice, but I knew I was short-waisted, so was reasonably sure that it would look fine on me.
It’s never that easy, folks.
Tissue paper is as much a pain in the ass to work with as I remember when my mom sewed. That shit rips. I like using printer paper because it’s sturdy, harder to rip, easier to repair. It does however fold up nicely and very small, so I guess there’s that.
Again, it didn’t help that my machine was being a POS, or that I was working with a really slippery jersey. Everything was really straight forward until I got to setting the sleeves and the cuffs. Maybe it was because I was tired. Maybe it was because I was pushing so hard to try and finish the dress, one last make of 2020. But those directions broke me.
Anyway, turns out, I wasn’t insane and that this is an overly (and unnecessarily) complicated version of “add the cuff, set the sleeve.” Than goodness for sewing social media groups.
And then there was the hem. The skirt on this dress is actually pretty voluminous, so there was A LOT of hemming. I had bought some hemming feet for my machine which were supposed to make it easier, but they didn’t. At all. And then, I remembered how much I loved using the bias tape hemming method. Which also ended being an epic fail because the bias tape was a heavier fabric than the jersey. I ended up folding the hem over the bias tape, which gave it some shape that I don’t hate, but I’m never doing it that way again.
In the end, this dress became my first make of 2021. I love this dress. It looks EXACTLY how I pictured it would in my head. As much as I wanted to throw my machine out the window, the dress was worth all of the frustration. I bought a ridiculous number of 70’s-style jersey print fabrics to make many much more of this dress.
But fuck, that tissues paper is a pain!