Pattern: Vogue 8631, view A
Fabric: 3 yards of rayon poplin, from the Van Gogh collection by Free Spirit. I got my fabric from Phat Fabrics, on sale here.
Notions etc: White Grosgrain ribbon, one hook and eye
Notes: I fell in love with this fabric the moment I saw it. Apparently, the 80s were not enough to kill my love for any and all things spatter painted! I used to have an entire outfit made of spatter painted denim – skirt, shirt, and matching purse. Oh yeah, I was pretty cool. I hadn’t heard about this fabric, but it’s part of an entire collection of rayon prints released by Free Spirit last year. It’s listed as rayon poplin, but it feels like rayon challis to me. It’s lightweight, but not see through. I highly recommend it, if you share my obsession with randomly painted bits of fabric.
The envelope photo for this pattern isn’t exactly wonderful, but after seeing this version, I knew I had to make one. This is a wrap dress, but it’s a slightly unusual one. I like the rounded front hems – it’s very similar to this dress by Diane Von Furstenberg. The dress doesn’t come with a belt pattern, but I knew that in order for it to flatter my body type, I would need some sort of waist cinching! I decided to make the obi belt from Kwik Sew 3758. I’ve made it before, and it’s one of my most worn accessories! This time I folded 1″ out of the center waist before cutting. It was a bit too large for me before. I used muslin as a sew-in interfacing, and the belt is structured without being too stiff. I used fusible interfacing on my last belt, and it’s bubbling terribly!
Since I added a belt, I didn’t have enough fabric to make the required bias binding. The pattern calls for using bias binding around the sleeve hems and the entire outer edge of the dress (technically, the dress tells you to buy readymade bias.) I thought the bias would add too much weight to the fabric. Instead, I serged around all the edges and made a baby hem around the whole outside edge (as in my tutorial here.) It’s unobtrusive, and it doesn’t make the front edges floppy.
Other alterations: I used a ribbon for the inside ties, as I was short on fabric. It’s a perfectly workable solution, and probably easier than turning out the ties. The pattern also calls for a hook/eye closure on the outside of the wrap. Since I’m using a belt over it, that was fine, but if I wanted to wear the dress on its own I would change that – it feels rather unsecure to me!
A comment on sizing: this dress runs big! I cut an 8 on top, 10 on the bottom (my usual Vogue size,) but ended up taking it in by an inch all over. I think it could come in even more, but with the belt it’s fine. It also runs large in the chest and shoulders – I probably needed to do a small bust adjustment, which is unusual for me (I am a B cup, and most patterns are drafted for a B.) The armholes are rather deep, and will expose a bit of whatever you wear underneath. For that reason, I recommend planning to wear a slip or slip dress underneath this dress. I’m wearing a vintage slip, but I’m planning to get a nude colored modern slip to wear under the dress – all my vintage slips are too high cut in the chest. There is a potential for wardrobe malfunction otherwise – the v neck is quite deep!
This dress will be perfect when Spring finally decides to put in an appearance! I recommend the pattern – it’s very easy (only 4 pieces) and gives a nice result. If you are petite you may wish to adjust the blousiness of the bodice and the length. I think mine is actually very similar to the new Vogue Donna Karan dress. I’m planning to make that one as well, out of a solid colored sateen (in emerald green!) I’m a big fan of this silhouette. I fought it at first, but I think I’m rather glad that styles with more volume are making a comeback. As with everything else, it’s all in the proportions!