For the past month, the only outfit I’ve wanted to wear has been leggings and a tunic. For the past year, I’ve wanted to try the color-blocked version of Vogue 8805. The stars finally aligned.
I used a white linen from the stash shop for the top, the rest of my cotton-linen from this project for the bodice, and a bit of tencel purchased from Nancy’s Sewing Basket (in Seattle) for the bottom band.
I also lined it – more on that towards the bottom of this post – which reduced the wrinkle factor of the fabrics quite dramatically. I wore this for a full day without ironing it before taking these photos.
Based on my measurements, I graded from a smaller size through the waist to a larger one in the hips. I took a risk and didn’t make a muslin. Instead, I cut out the top piece first to make sure it fit through the shoulders before committing to cutting out the bodice. I figured I could minimize my fabric waste that way.
I like the final fit – the only additional modification I’d make would be taking 1″ width out of center-front from the neck through the waist (although I’d keep the neckline the same.) I could easily see this pattern working beautifully for a dressier dress – lace for the top and bottom contrasts, perhaps.
Aside from grading and the lining, I made a few modifications to the pattern. The first was keeping the upper back of the white piece open instead of stitching it partway closed. I’d read that some larger-headed sewists found the opening tight, and I didn’t want to take the risk – I’ve had issues finding hats and helmets that fit, and my graduation cap in college threatened to pop off my head throughout the ceremony.
I also shortened the sleeves by 1.75″ at the shoulder seam and 7/8″ at the armpit.
The lining was kind of a hybrid of lining and underlining. For the top piece, I sewed the fabric to the lining at the neckline and back opening, understitched at the seam and then treated it as one piece by sandwiching it with the bodice and bodice lining. I also skipped the top-stitching.
The bodice lining was a tiny chunk of linen-silk blend gifted to me by the textile artist I worked for, for shibori experiments. I thought twice about using it because it’s on the thicker side, but I’m so glad I went for it. It moves like a dream, feels great, and has reduced the wrinkling of the main fabric dramatically. I had so little fabric that I had to make a center-back seam and cut one piece on the cross-grain, but I haven’t noticed any repercussions.
The bottom band is sewn right-sides together on the front to both the fabric and the lining, and then slip-stitched closed on the inside. I also shortened the final length from what the pattern was suggesting.
The last modification I made was hemming the sleeves by hand. Since there isn’t much to this dress, I wanted to make it as luxurious as possible. And, after four years of sewing and reading sewing blogs, I finally had to see what the fuss about hand-sewn hems was. I love how it looks and it was really fun to sew – meditative. I’m finding that I look forward to hand-sewing in my projects – do you? Am I crazy?
Or just a tunic-and-leggings-lovin robot?