A dress: Vintage Vogue 8974…

Or when everything old is new again… (and a recent make!)

A floral vintage Vogue Patterns 8974

A floral vintage Vogue Patterns 8974

I’m not really a vintage gal. It doesn’t seem to fit with my casual aesthetic and I think it would be a little odd in my workwear wardrobe which tends to be quite modern and fitted.

However that doesn’t mean that I don’t appreciate it on others or have the odd craving for a bit of old-fashioned pretty. And not every interpretation of a vintage pattern needs to be ‘vintage’. Perhaps that is why I have been drawn to a couple of the Vintage Vogue re-issue patterns of late.

I’ve been looking for a dress pattern for three metres of gorgeous black bamboo linen I got at East Coast Fabric with Jen and Lizzie when I was in Brisbane in October.

I’m after a longline, sleek summer dress but with a striking design detail to relieve the severity of a lot of black fabric.

Amid my searching I came across Vogue 8974, a design from 1949. This hasn’t been made much (in Blogland at any rate), I suspect the need for a strapless bra and the a-line skirt (rather than a generous gathered or pleated skirt of the 1950s era) has let it loll in the back of the catalogue, waiting to be discovered.

Vogue 8974 pattern art - courtesy of Vogue Patterns

Vogue 8974 pattern art – courtesy of Vogue Patterns

I really love the jacket as well. I’m not really a matchy-matchy girl so I’ve just made the dress. I think the jacket would be a very cute project in the future!

CONSTRUCTION

It’s a relatively simple make. The pattern construction has a very cool snap closure at the side waist. While I loved the idea of this, I decided to replace it with a zip. I find dresses with side closures that don’t release all the way to the armhole incredibly difficult to pull off over my shoulders. I almost dislocate my shoulders getting them off. I don’t know if my shoulders are weirdly larger in comparison to my rib cage or it’s simply that I’m not the world’s greatest contortionist. Either way, I don’t enjoy clothes that require a can opener to get in and out of.

Vintage Vogue 8974

Vogue 8974 line art, courtesy of Vogue Patterns

I added a lining to the bodice as the linen is slightly sheer on the white areas of the print. I didn’t worry about lining the skirt as it hangs away from my body and I wanted to keep it light and airy as linen is so cool to wear in summer.

I think I could shorten the bust darts a little.

The front bodice neckline is a little fiddly to sew but pinning and patience gets you through. I often add a little length to a bodice, however I left this one as drafted and it seems to be the right length on me.

The bodice has lovely french darts and a marvelous neckline.

The pattern doesn’t direct you to interface the facing pieces for the bodice, which I thought was odd so I added this.

I omitted the buttons as I don’t think this fabric needs embellishment.

FIT

It’s a tricky one. I made the size 6. People talk about the Big 4 having too much ease etc etc. I’ve often seen people make certain sizes based on this theory and then have a disaster make.

Refer to the body measurements on the envelope by all means. I ALWAYS chose my size and grade between sizes based on the FINISHED measurements on the pattern paper. It’s always interesting to compare the envelope body measurements to the finished measurements and see how much ease they are allowing. I would recommend chosing your size based on the ease that you prefer. This may be more or less depending on the style of garment.

Vogue 8974 - side view

Vogue 8974 – side view

I sewed this up and was pretty happy with everything EXCEPT the bodice upper edge sat away from my body from my mid upper bust and around under my armpits. While it looked OK and my family couldn’t see what I thought was so odd… I felt like ‘bewbs in an icecream sundae glass’. That’s the best description I can come up with 🙂 You can still see some of this gaping at the side (see below) and I’m not 100% pleased with the fit above my bust either. Perhaps a firmer fabric would be less likely to crease above my bust. So maybe the bamboo linen is not destined to be a Vogue 8974. We will see.

Vintage Vogue 8974

Vintage Vogue 8974

As the front slopes down to the back, it isn’t just a matter of running in the sides to pull it in and make it fit (no I don’t muslin much… I like to think of myself as an eternal optimist and sew with that attitude). As I was mid-make, taking it in at the sides was my only option and I pulled more in from the back on an angle to make it work. This in turn messed up my lovely neat-as-a-pin facings which was a little disappointing. Yes, very dodgy but only you, me and few other thousand readers know this – and I don’t wear my dresses inside out. So my secret is safe 🙂

I had to take at least 2 inches off the straps. For some reason you attach the straps to the back bodice and then adjust them at the front. The front bodice is quite fiddly and I think it would be simpler to adjust the straps at the back instead if I make this again.

A pretty cross-over back strap detail.

A pretty cross-over back strap detail. The rarely seen tatto- you’re welcome.

I took 3 inches off the length (I am 5 foot 4) and turned the hem up with some blue bias tape from the stash. I hand stitched the hem, I love the finish of a handsewn hem.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Love this design. It feels modern and feminine without being fussy. I’m extremely tempted to make it again… I just need to figure out how to best deal with the gaping at the upper bodice and underarms. Or maybe it’s meant for someone with more curves than me!

It reminds me a lot of the Sewaholic Lonsdale which perhaps I should also revisit.

If you have any suggestions on fitting or another dress pattern I should try along these lines… I’d love to hear it!

Pattern: Vogue 8974
Fabric: Linen from The Fabric Store, Brisbane (purchased a couple of years ago). Blue, khaki, white and splogdes of yellow, I adore this colour combination.
Also see: See Carmen Sew | The Fold Line | Silver Cat Tea Party

 

Photobombed by a pelican

Photobombed by a pelican in my lunchbreak.

It’s quite odd posting my projects out of order. Seeing my hair change lengths and colours. It’s much healthier now than a year or so ago.

This time last year, I cut off my nails as they kept snapping and my hair was thinning and breaking for no apparent reason… actually I think it was mainly two things… too much stress, exhaustion and no rest…  It was the day I put my hair up in the ponytail and a large amount of it simply snapped off around the hairband, I realised something had to give… I changed some things and I feel much better a year on. So all’s well that ends well.