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I am a mother, a grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge was published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Vogue 8961

You are probably a little relieved, as I am, that we are back to regular programming around here and that means sewing. I have been doing some pre New Year's Thinking About My Life which I will summarize some other time, but suffice it to say here and now it will involve more sewing.

I am also continuing in my quest to introduce more colour into my wardrobe and exit the black, because I feel that is more consistent with who I am, but it occurred to me over the holidays the black fabric I have would work very well for pattern testing and experiments. At worst I would only wreck fabric I have not a huge interest in wearing, at best I would fine tune a new pattern and have something to wear in my more subdued dressing environments, like work for example.

On that theme I decided to make a New Year's Eve outfit from some silk twill I had lying around in a pattern I have yet to try. That would be Vogue 8961.

Listen I knew going in that I would not look like this picture when I was done and that waisted dresses are not my best look as I am both long waisted and at this stage of the game sort of waist absent. However this looked like an easy pattern, very comfortable, and it reminded me very much of a favourite dress I had in the '80s. So in the interest of nostalgia and optimism I went for it. 

Here are the results:

A couple of things about this pattern:

  • The top is really wide (cut-on dolman sleeves) and the neckline is wide. I used one of my old tricks and cut and sewed the facing together and tried that on before I actually cut out the dress and figured I would get away with it and I more or less did.
  • I cut this out in a 14 and I am a 16 top and 18 bottom so that tells you something.
  • Crazy comfortable so if you want to go out in an outfit you can easily make in a day and feel like you are wearing jammies this may be the pattern you are looking for.
The pattern suggested a technique I think is nutso for the ruching for the sleeves and the elastic casing in the waist. Both involve sewing the seam allowance together (with something more complicated for the sleeves that does not bear discussion on this valuable space.)

Having done this once, the elastic in the seam allowance treatment just twists and is annoyingly difficult for threading through the elastic.

So whenever I see this method in the instructions I do this instead which is IMO better and with less nerve wracking results.

  • Press open the seam allowances
  • Sew some seam binding (the kind you add to a hem not the fold over kind) over the seam stitching each side of the tape to one seam allowance.
  • Thread through your elastic and you are in business.
This is what it looks like:

Finally, I think this dress needs to be accessorized so it doesn't look too much like a quick and easy elastic waist pattern.

I added a link belt I had and a statement necklace. I am afraid I didn't actually have one of those in stock as my necklaces run more to the statement that every woman-should-own-pearls, so the one in the picture was provided by those fine jewellers at Target.

Since we are going out to dinner I also decided I needed a little bag, a sort of set it on the table beside the bread and butter plate bag, that holds the lipstick, the debit card, and the driver's license for the designated driver. Since New Year's is classy I figured the on the floor under the table, slung over the back of the chair, or sitting on the table like a library book bag wouldn't do so I decided to make a fold over clutch for which there are 900 instructions on the internet for free and another 900 for sale on Craftsy and Etsy. I did the free version of course and really didn't need instructions because this is just an envelope with a slanted top underlined with fleece (wouldn't use that again for such a small bag, maybe some heavy duty interfacing.) The size was determined by the available zipper which was 7". Too bad the garment district is so far away.

Here we go with that project (BTW top stitch the lining away from the zipper so it won't catch, had to go back and do that):

There is more zipper tape showing in this picture than in real life I think, maybe not.
And of course I am not a crafty person, that has been established. However if anyone has any cool clutch patterns to pass on I would be interested.

So that's what I made over the last day.

Let's see what else I can fit in before the end of the year.


Nancy D said...

It looks great on you - very classy and ready for an evening out. Love your tip about using the facings to check the fit of the neckline! I'm adding that to my bag of tricks.

Angela said...

I truly appreciate your comments - this pattern is next on my sewing list - knowing how big it runs is very helpful! Also, I will use your tip for the elastic casing.

Patty said...

Such a cute and stylish dress that looks great on you...and a bag to match! I've added this dress pattern to my queue, since this is the style that I like to wear to work most often. Happy New Year!

Unknown said...

That fabric is pretty! The dress looks lovely on you...perfect for New Year's!! Have a great time!!!

carolinascallin said...

Love your dress! That fabric is really nice - and it has a bit of color, too, to help you with your New Year's resolutions ;)

Great advice on the neck facing for fit idea -thanks! Also, the using binding for elastic casing idea is great! Why don't I ever think of things like that...? LOL...must think outside the box more!

Thanks for your great posts!

SEWN said...

Love the print. Great way to add color to your wardrobe. Great dress!

Faye Lewis said...

Wonderful results!!!

Carolyn (Diary of a Sewing Fanatic) said...

I really love this on you too! And the clutch is just awesome!

LLBB said...

Awesome fabric! Love the cut of the dress too.

Anonymous said...

Have just found your blog Barbara and I am so enjoying reading through it. I love this dress pattern and the finished result looks great on you. Thank you for the tips on sizing.


Lyrique said...

What great ideas regarding using the neck facings to check the neckline first and the hem tape to encase the elastic! You look wonderful in the dress, Creative Lady. You'll have such a nice time at the party. :-)

prttynpnk said...

Matching clutch wonderfulness! I like this pattern more and more. Nicely done!

Evelyn aka Starfishy said...

I like your version much better than the pattern envelope! Looks great on you and us sewists know that it is comfy from the lines! Something you can go out and really enjoy yourself in - great job! Cheers! Evelyn

Gail said...

I like your dress very much. Have you thought about adding a plain black belt in patent or suede? Maybe I'm too conservative but my instinct is to play down the accessories with a bright print.