Sunday, June 07, 2009

Vogue 8571, a quick knit dress

The DressMe wearing Vogue 8571 (someday I'll learn how to stand straight in front of a camera - looks like I'm lurching to the side)

I said I'd get some sewing done this week!
The Fabric
Staring me in the face, on the front of the lower shelf of my rolls of fabrics, has been this awesome rayon print that I got from Lucy's Fabrics, was it one year ago, or two?
You may recognize it as the same print that BWOF made this top from in 06/2007 issue. Stacy made the top in this fabric and it's darling on her. I've been holding onto it, waiting for the right pattern to show up to make it. The top was just a bit too bare for me to wear.

The Pattern:
From one of the recent pattern sales I'd picked up Vogue 8571, a Very Easy Vogue knit dress pattern.
Description: MISSES' DRESS: Pullover dresses A, B in two lengths have bodice front and back gathers, self-faced neck band and flared skirt. A: length is mid-knee. B: length is mid-calf. FABRICS: †† Two-way Stretch Knits Only: Cotton Lycra*, Nylon Lycra* and Rayon Lycra* (* Dupont Registered Trad-emark). Unsuitable for obvious diagonals.

I made View B. The difference being, on me, View A didn't fall mid knee, but well above it, and View B fell just below the knee.

Construction Notes:
I cut a size 16 in the bodice, tapering out to an 18 in the skirt, and took 5/8" side seams in the bodice then trimmed them, and used a generous 1/4" serged seam allowance through the skirt. Unorthodox way to grade out a pattern, but 5/8" seam allowances in a knit like this are ludicrous.
As far as the print - it's huge, so all I did was check for large motifs and make sure that none were in embarrassing "bullseye" positions, then I just went for it.

As is typical of the Big4, the instructions for constructing the bodice are more appropriate to wovens than to knits. At least they didn't recommend a zipper this time. None is needed.
What they recommend:
  1. Stitch the side and shoulder seams of the bodice Front and Back together, and run gathering stitches along the neck and empire waist edges.
  2. They have you interface the neck bands, then gather the bodice directly to the neck band. Then you stitch the neck band facing to the neckband at the neck edge and then understitch, then hand stitch the facing down to the bodice.
What I did:
Inside Front Bodice

  1. lined up the bodice front pattern piece with the neck band pattern piece and folded out the amount of gathers, then cut a lining piece for the front using tricot from stash. I then gathered the bodice front to the lining, stitching the lining to the fashion fabric wrong sides together.
  2. I interfaced both the neck band and neck band facing pieces with fusible sof-knit, then stitched my shoulder seams, then stitched the facing together with the band at the neck edge, understitched as instructed, then turned the facing to the inside, pressed. At this point I stitched together the lower edge of the band and facing and trimmed off the excess of the facing using the serger. The understitching combined with the turn of the cloth meant that the facing was hanging about 1/8" lower than the band. *It should be noted that the pattern calls for 5/8" seam allowances, and I used 1/4" seam allowances at both neck edge and lower edge, so my band is approx 3/4" wider than the pattern is drafted for.
  3. I then stitched the neck band to the bodice all the way around and then pressed the seam allowance toward the bodice. This is perfectly acceptable in knit construction. The seam allowance need not be enclosed as it should be for a woven. And this rayon presses beautifully.
  4. I then stitched the bodice to the skirt, which I'd already stitched together at side seams, and hemmed on my new coverstitch machine (whew, there is a learning curve there). At this point I put it on, and didn't like how loose the empire seam was. So I went back and serged on a piece of clear elastic stretching the elastic as I stitched. The result is that the lower bodice pulls back nicely to the rib cage. Fortunately I'd stitched my empire seam together on the sewing machine, which allowed me "try on" time without a serged edge to contend with. If I'd attached them with the serger I'd have had to figure out how to stitch the elastic on without adding the bulk of another row of serging.
Clear Elastic serged to Empire seam allowance

Inside back bodice neckline
Note that I did not line the bodice back, which means that I was gathering the neck edge directly to the neck band, which was a bit tricky in a jersey knit that just wants to roll.

Back ViewConclusion:
I like the dress. I love the fabric! Love it. Comfortable rayon knit to wear. Classy looking.
I still like the design of the Maggy London dress from 2 seasons ago better, but I wore that dress to death and decided I needed another, different knit dress.
Will I make this again? Maybe.


Mardel said...

I love that dress on you Marji! And of course the fabric is fabulous too. I had been thinking about a dress with that neckline but had forgotten that pattern. I know it is in my stack of recent pattern acquisitions.

Congratulations on successful sewing for yourself.

cidell said...

I do love that fabric. I should have snatched some up on the first go round.

Erica B. said...

That dress is beautiful! That's a great print!

Lisette M said...

Beautiful dress! I have that same fabric and I intend to make it up this summer.

JoanneM said...

Dress and fabric are lovely!I like how you lined the bodice. Now if only it would get warm enough here to wear sleeveless!!!!!!!

Shannon said...

I love that dress - it's so summery and swishy!

a little sewing on the side said...

I recognized the fabric immediately and I love the pattern you chose for it. It looks great on you.

gwensews said...

Great dress! The style and the fabric are wonderful.

AllisonC said...

Great dress, and I still love that print. Thanks for all the construction tips too.

Sharon said...

I like this dress too! It looks wonderful on you!

Meg said...

Looks fantastic, I love the print!

Lindsay T said...

Marji, this is a wonderful summer dress! Appreciate the tips.

Vivianne said...

Wow!! The patten and fabric of this knit dress is totally amazing!! Thanks for sharing the full information about making this dress!!