crafts · finished objects · Sewing

Vogue 1209: Rachel Comey dress

Pattern: Vogue 1209, a Rachel Comey design

Fabric: navy/black flocked matte jersey (available here, also in purple.)

Notes: I bought the pattern for this dress as soon as it came out.  I love Rachel Comey, and I’m so happy to see her designs at Vogue.  This is the first I’ve sewn, but I also have 1161 planned at some point!  You can see the dress I made in her Spring 2010 runway show here.  I believe the garments photographed by Vogue are the originals, not a version made of the pattern, so you can’t blame Vogue for that awful oatmeal color – that’s what they got it in!  I hear that beige is big this spring too, but I will not be wearing it – people who are as radioactively pale as I am do not look good in beige!  I think that photo is what kept me from making the dress until now.  But I’m very glad I did – I love this dress!

The pattern envelope suggests the following fabrics: Lightweight Crepe, Matte Jersey and Silk Jacquard.  The dress this pattern is based off of is made of a silk/linen blend.  I decided to go for matte jersey, because I wanted to really showcase the drape, but I didn’t want anything too lightweight.  Matte jersey is one of the fabrics that confused me when I first started sewing – some places will label any knit that isn’t shiny “matte jersey,” but in the traditional sense it is a 100% rayon or poly knit with a matte finish, a weighty drape, and no stretch to speak of.  That’s what this is – 100% poly (but nice to work with!) and not stretchy.  I treated it like a woven, but since it does not fray I was able to leave my seams raw.  This fabric is flocked with a velvety navy blue paisley pattern.  It’s very pretty, and it is machine washable.

About the pattern: though it looks complicated, it is actually easy to sew – I think an advanced beginner could handle this dress.  The hardest part is getting the front and back gathers even.  The pattern tells you to sew three rows of gathering stitches – one on the seamline, and one 1/4″ on either side.  I recommend doing just that – it is much easier to get the gathers even.  You have to sew the tab on top of that and edgestitch it in place.  A tip: I use my blind hem foot (which came with my machine) as an edge stitching guide.  It works very well!

I did not line this dress – the fabric is weighty, and I prefer to leave out linings whenever possible.  I used the included facing pieces and serged the lower edge of them.  If I made this dress again I would replace them with a bias binding.  I did not like the way the facings made you do the v in the back – there are a ton of layers right there, and it was very hard to get it to look good and lie flat.  I think a bias binding would be much easier (I prefer to clip and spread a v-neck, rather than pivoting at the point (which I am not good at.)  I ended up using a few pieces of fusible web,  and stitched in the ditch at all the seams, to ensure that the  facing will not flip out.

My favorite part of the dress is the peplum – so cute!  It is sewn in at the side seams, and doesn’t visually widen the hips at all.  The skirt is very short – the pattern says “above mid-knee length,” but it’s shorter than that.  I am about 5’8″ for reference.  I do not usually find that I have to add length to skirts, so I was suprised how short this was!  I don’t think I would wear it without tights.  I did not have to put a zipper in this dress – the back is so open that it goes on easily.

The back is low enough that a normal bra will show.  I have a strap that converts a normal bra to low back, which is what I’m doing here.  In addition, the neckline is wide – I might recommend sewing in some lingerie guards to keep straps in place without showing.

I think this is a great pattern – the style is very modern, but the peplum appeals to the vintage lover in me.  The front gathers are flattering.  The wide neckline balances out the peplum, giving a nice shape.  It’s highly recommended!  Here is what I’m actually wearing today – I’m not silly enough to wear no socks and a backless dress when it’s 30 degrees outside!

Jacket: Express, thrifted

Boots: Poetic License