The making of this garment did not go smoothly because the pattern has a major issue. When I discovered it, I was pretty upset, because I was excited about both the pattern and the fabric.
The fabric really is something special. It is a Carolina Herrera wool/silk blend that has a cool textured weave. When I saw it on Mood’s website, I knew that I just couldn’t pass it up. When I bought it, I did not have a pattern in mind. I wanted something fairly simple to showcase the fabric, but not so simple as to be boring.
That’s where Vogue 9126 came in. My favorite decade for day dresses is the 1940’s, and this is a re-issue of a 1940’s pattern. I thought that the cool gathering detail would add a bit of interest without detracting from the fabric. It seemed like the perfect match.
After making my usual pattern adjustments for Vogue, I cut into my fabric. “Big 4” patterns actually fit me fairly well even without adjustments, and at this point, I feel that there is no need for a muslin. Everything went really well until it came time to attach the bodice to the skirt. I had figured out the collar and the gathering; this should have been the easy part. This pattern does not have any side seams. Instead, there are darts at the side, one of which is partly cut open to allow for the side zipper. The construction is a bit different, because, due to the curved yoke, the instructions direct you to press the bodice seam allowance and then topstitch it to the skirt. As I pinned my bodice to my skirt, everything was matching up perfectly. The back bodice darts matched the back skirt seams, and the side seams matched to the side darts. That is until I got the the space between the side and the front yoke. The length of the bodice and the length of the skirt was clearly different. And not just a small amount that could be eased in; there was a difference of approximately 1 1/2 inches.
My first thought was that I had messed up in my cutting out. Or maybe I had forgotten to mark a dart on the bodice? I went back to my pattern piece and checked it against my fabric. Nope, it was accurate. I always trace my patterns, so maybe I had messed up the tracing somehow? Nope, tracing was spot on. My next potential fix was just to add a tuck, dart, or possibly gathering to the bodice to make it match the skirt. With the bodice pinned to the skirt, I tried it on. This immediately ruled out any of those fixes. The bodice was clearly the correct size. With a total of 3″ removed from the skirt, it was too small. At this point, it was getting late, and I was getting tired, so I decided to leave it for the night. However, I couldn’t sleep because it wanted to understand what had happened.
|Top piece is the bodice, bottom piece is the skirt. The seamlines are marked in red.|
This is when I proved once and for all that it was the pattern that was wrong and not me. I marked the seamlines on the relevant pattern pieces and measured them. Sure enough, the two sections that should match are almost 1 1/2 inches different. When I tried to find out if anyone else had had problems with this pattern, I didn’t really find anything. The closest hint I got was this comment on a pattern review forum. Apparently, patterns that go quickly out of print sometimes have drafting problems. As best as I can tell, it looks like there was some mix-up among the sizes when it was graded.
|My new side seam.|
I was not about to give up, however. This fabric was too nice to not be worn. Here is the solution I came up with: I added a side seam and side front panel to the skirt. To create the side seam, I just extended the point of the dart parallel to the grain. I made pattern piece with the seam allowance added so that I could cut the skirt to match. I them did the same to the front. To make the side front piece, I copied the other half of the side dart, and then added 1 1/2 inches to the existing area of the skirt. Luckily I had enough fabric left to cut these new panels. If I had known about the problem before cutting my fabric, the issue could have been fixed by adjusting the skirt pattern piece without adding new pieces. My fix seems to have worked, and I don’t think the side front seams look out of place.
|The pattern piece for the new side front section.|
Despite the drama in the middle, I am quite happy with the final dress. It is just how I pictured it. I am glad that I am at the point in my sewing journey where I have enough knowhow to fix a major pattern error, even in the middle of a project.