3/30/13: Finished – Vogue 9668 Dress

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I casually mentioned this dress in a couple posts ago, (this one precisely). This dress has a very long history and took me forever to sew up, but it was a labor of love for sure. So here is Vogue 9668:

As you can tell from the long, wavy locks, this isn’t me modeling. ;) I sewed this dress up for my sister Catherine. She’s been waiting a very long time to see this dress made, three years in all! Let me explain.

Do you remember this?

You don’t? I wouldn’t blame you. Haven’t mentioned this pattern (Vogue 9668) since March of 2010. My original post talked about how I would take Vogue 9668 and make the dress on the far right for my sister using a beautiful jacquard cotton in a dark blue. The fabric has an all-over, subtle flower design. I don’t know if the photos really capture it because you can only catch glimpses of the flowers depending upon the light.

So back in the spring of that year I took on this dress project. At the time I knew this was a big undertaking for me (especially when I didn’t have much knowledge of pattern alteration then), but I dove right in. I altered the pattern to my best ability, sewed up a muslin, and had sis try it on. Oh boy. That’s when the trouble began. There was some big problems, things like the armscye not positioned correctly, excess material under the arm, wrinkles radiating from the neckline, and on and on. I tried assessing the trouble areas for days and asked people on forums and such, but it amounted to nothing. I just didn’t know where to begin. So the muslin was put away and sadly, the dress, too.

Then after finishing up my pair of jeans this past February, I got into the mindset of completing something I put down long ago. Of course my sister was the first to point out the Vogue dress, so I got to work.

OK, you got the background story, now for some details.

The Dress’s Features: Vogue 9668 is a fully lined dress that has a separate midriff piece, waist and side bust darts, a uniquely shaped neckline, and a bias cut skirt.

The Fabric: The fashion fabric–which I bought from denverfabrics.com in 2009–is a medium weight, 100% cotton jacquard that has an all-over flower design that resembles hibiscus blooms. I used a black, polyester lining from fabric.com for the skirt and lightweight, black cotton for the bodice’s lining.

The Pattern: Vogue 9668, a very popular pattern according to a lot of sewing blogs, was given to me by a kind member on a Ravelry.com group. The pattern I was given was one size too small for my sister so there was need for some changes. I followed Casey’s tutorial on how to grade up one size (I added 2″), and it was a lot easier than I thought it would be. Never ever graded before, been scared of doing it to be frank, so you can well imagine the one happy camper that resulted from this smooth grading venture! I then added 2″ to the length of the bodice, 3 inches or so to the length of the skirt, and minuscule amounts to the waist area, i.e. midriff, bodice, etc. I also added inseam pockets to the side seams of the skirt.

Construction Process: After making changes to the tissue pattern, I made up a bodice muslin. Sis tried it on and there was only small problems to solve–nothing catastrophic like before. I guess the tissue alterations paid off. I only had to lower the side dart, take it in a little bit at the side seams, and re-sew the shape of the neckline because the original was too low. I noted that the bust darts that start from the midriff looked fine. I found out later that they were to reek havoc!

After cutting and sewing the bodice together I had Catherine try it on. It was then when we noticed that the bust darts–the ones that I just mentioned–looked wrong. They were positioned correctly but their points were not smooth in the least. I tried a number of recommendations I gathered from the net and sewing books; things like shortening the dart, narrowing the dart, etc., but nothing made a smooth point. Actually, these endeavors made things worse. In the end, Catherine pushed me into trying a technique she found on BurdaStyle.com. It is redrawing the straight-legged dart into a dart with curved legs. See the tutorial here. I gave it a go and it worked! Was elated. I’m so glad she made me try it out, it saved the day.

So let’s take a looksy at the dress’s interior.

[ bodice front ]
[ bodice back. I used an invisible zipper instead of the centered zipper ]
[ dress front ]
[ dress back ]
[ the top of the invisible zipper ]
[ the inside of the inseam pocket. I used the same lining that I used for the skirt's ]

What was my hem of choice this time? This dress’s skirt is cut on the bias so I had to give the hem some extra attention. I first made sure that it had time to drape and relax. I then had Catherine put the dress on and I asked her to point to the place where she wanted the hem to fall. I took a yardstick and found that her chosen hem level was 16-1/2″ from the floor. Using pins, I pinned every couple inches to mark this 16-1/2″ level all the way around the dress.

I had her take off the dress carefully, (didn’t want to lose a single pin!). I turned up the hem following the pins and basted the hem in place using long hand stitching. I wanted a 2″ wide hem so I measured 2″ from the hem’s fold and chalk marked all the way around. I cut along the marks I left. After searching out for three yards of some navy, stretch lace hemming tape, I sewed that to the raw edge of the hem I had just cut. 1/4″ seam was used. Then, using a long basting stitch on my sewing machine, I basted along the edge of the entire length of stretch lace. I did this to allow me to pull up the bobbin thread and ease the hem into place. After easing and steam pressing the hem in place, I hand stitched the hem down using a loose catchstitch.

[ the skirt's hem. I used stretch lace hemming tape ]

For the lining I did something simpler. A half inch narrow hem this time around. I cut the lining on the bias as well so a narrow hem such as this is really the best option. 

[ I used a narrow hem for the lining ]

I trimmed the lining so it would be 2″ above the hem of the dress.

Whew! Lots to talk about this dress. I do hope I covered everything! It has been a lot of fun sewing up dresses these last two months. Not many chances arrive to do this sort of thing so I fully enjoyed the opportunity I had. Next up on my list of things to craft would be more along the lines of farm clothes. Like jeans and t-shirts. It’s getting to be that time of year again so a little more practical sewing needs to happen, and happen soon. Thankfully, I have a tried and true jeans pattern and a t-shirt rub off. Everything should come together smoothly–I hope!

4 Comments

  1. Well it came out beautifully… and looks great!

  2. You did a fantastic job and you look beautiful in the finished dress. How I love those retro styles. :<)

  3. What a lovely dress, Rebekah! So beautifully constructed, and it looks lovely on Catherine! Well done :-)

  4. Aw, thanks everyone! She really enjoys wearing this dress and I’m one happy sewer, too.

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