Doesn’t this woman look classy.
Try as I might, though, no dress is going to flatten my chest and cause me to grow six inches. Or give me a pixie haircut. On me, this dress looks like:
Which I like, actually! I just haven’t overcome that disconnect between visualizing what a line-drawn garment looks like on a line-drawn person and what a home-sewn garment will look like on a real-grown person.
Anyway, Vogue 8827 is a wrap dress with a couple of collar variations. Several others have made it, and mostly a few years ago. The pattern is out of print. I got mine at during that magical time the overlords at McCall’s sold their out of print patterns for $1.
The dress is made of soft red wool crepe and underlined with silk crepe de chine, both from FabricMart.
A few thoughts and changes to the pattern.
1. Many people have written that it runs big. It does! Leisa at A Challenging Sew wrote that she went down two whole dress sizes from her normal Vogue, so I followed suit (sheep.). That meant I cut a 6 instead of a 10 (and my measurements mostly put me at a 12 or a 14..trust those finished garment measurements). BUT:
2. The ease seems to be mostly in the back pattern piece. The side seams keep trying to creep around to the front, especially below the waist. It might not be so noticeable on a lighter weight/not underlined fabric, but I notice it. I probably should have gone up to a size 8 and then taken about two inches out of the back pattern piece instead. Live, learn, write it on the internet.
3. Should’ve done a sway back adjustment. Thought the billowy wrap would render adjustment unnecessary. Was wrong.
4. I also straight-up copied Leisa and did a back pleat at the center back instead of following the pattern instructions to gather the excess. Probably the relative success of this method depends on your fabric choice; I think it worked well on mine.
5. The sleeves are $$$$. And by $$$$ I mean they have a totally appropriate ~1″ of ease at the shoulder cap, instead of the ~3″ that is so common! After writing about last year’s winter coat, I measured the armscye and the sleeve cap. And ,praise be, no adjustment needed.
1. I finally hand basted instead of machine basted my underlining to my fabric. I am now totally convinced it is the better method: the pieces don’t distort nearly as much lying flat on the table as they do draping over the arm of a sewing machine. I just resent that it’s better. Because of the time suck.
2. Guess who learned what a blind catch stitch is?
This kid. I recently — and finally — bought Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques, which I was skimming through when this dress was reaching final stages.
But I was already most of the way through attaching my facing to the underlining and doing up the hem. So the facing is stitched to the underlining on the other side like this
3. I bound my seams with rayon seam binding.
I have mixed feelings about the process. On the one hand, it looks great! On the other hand, it was tedious as fuck. Each seam is essentially sewn five times: once to put the fabric pieces together, once on each side of the seam allowance to attach the seam binding, and then a second time on each side of the seam allowance to enclose the edges. And that second time is AFTER a round of pressing.
Oi. It took foreeeeeever. Laura Mae has a superhelpful post on the most efficient process. But even following her method, it takes a long time.
On that: I’m very reluctant to get a serger. I just don’t want the extra machine in my house (apartment, let’s be serious). But I’m not quiiite settled on my preferred seam finish. I really like french seams, but they aren’t entirely appropriate if the fabric you’re working with is a bit heavier. Sometimes I zigzag, but that can look a little messy. I actually think sewing a full lining and attaching it at the neck and armholes might hit the sweet spot for time cost versus aesthetic benefit. [Doesn’t work for a wrap dress, though.]
For the sergerless of you: what’s your preferred way to finish seams?