Well, I suppose that there are a couple of things that I’d better make clear right from the start. This is the garment that I sewed as my DCF Seasonal Challenge* garment for winter. And it’s a summer dress. And tomorrow is the last day of winter. It doesn’t look as though I’m doing a great job of being seasonal, does it! Luckily for me, Emma and I make up our own rules for this little challenge.
So, to the dress. The pattern is Vogue 9186, which I originally passed over before stumbling upon these beautiful versions by Eli Cat of the blog Cat In A Wardrobe. The high collar had been putting me off, but Eli had sewn one with a scoop neckline. Well duh! If there are elements of a design that I don’t like, of course I can change them! After all, I am the one doing the sewing.
(No, I still haven’t addressed that fabric pooling in the centre back issue. Head in the sand on that one). Vogue describe the pattern as follows: Very loose-fitting, pullover dress has mandarin collar, front band, partially elasticized waist with casing, side pocket, and shaped hemline, wrong side shows. Narrow hem. A: Cap sleeves. B: Long sleeves with placket and button cuffs.
I did initially contemplate sewing the long-sleeved version of the dress, particularly because I had chosen denim. But then I read a few reviews that talked about how difficult it had been to set in the sleeves, and I considered the challenges of sewing the cuff plackets in the fabric I’d bought…and changed my mind.
So, to the fabric. It is a “shredded” denim from Darn Cheap Fabrics. It came in a couple of colours; this is the darker one. The photos above are NOT a good representation of the colour – it is actually a normal denim blue twill, woven from indigo threads one way and white threads the others. The square “holes” are in a regular pattern. I did pre-wash the fabric, not only to see if there was any shrinkage or colour leakage, but to see how well those shredded areas would stand up to washing. They did surprisingly well.
That’s a more accurate representation of the colour! The denim is nice and soft, not lightweight but not too heavy either. I hemmed the dress by turning a narrow double hem and top-stitching it in place, and I used self-made bias tape to finish the edges of the armholes and the neckline. The same fabric as was used for the bias tape was used for the shaped elastic casing that is sewn to the inside of the dress.
In order to alter the neckline, I cut out the dress front and back pieces but omitted the neckband and the front placket pieces. I then sewed the back neckline darts as per the pattern instructions, as I know that I can always do with a little more shaping in that area.
I had decided that I like the neckline of the Tessuti Pia dress, so pulled out those pattern pieces and overlaid them on the front dress piece and the back dress piece, lining up the edge of the pattern pieces with the centre front and the top of the shoulder. Then it was a simple matter to recut the neckline, while retaining some of the back neck dart shaping. From there on this was a very quick dress to sew. Shoulder seams, finish the neckline with binding, one side seam, apply the elastic casing, other side seam, finish the armholes with binding, hem the dress. I sewed size Medium (12-14) without any alterations.
You do need WIDE elastic to go in that casing for it to sit nicely. It really needs to fit just inside your lines of stitching. I think that I still need to redistribute the gathers just a little, but I do have to be careful fiddling too much with the fabric. It’s on the delicate side. So overall, I recommend this pattern, and suspect that it might get another outing at some stage. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Emma has sewn with hers. I have a little bit of the denim left too. I wonder what that might become – and whether I’ll have to fight the girls for it.
* Emma and I started the DCF Seasonal Challenge a year or two ago – we buy a couple of metres of the same fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics each season, and each make a garment. We then reveal it on our blogs on the same day. It’s just a fun thing that we started when we realised how often we buy and sew the same fabrics (often from Darn Cheap).