Category Archives: Vogue


This Saturday is the start of my evil plan to take over the world sewing one stitch at a time.  After that I am taking a much deserved break from the secret super surprise and before I start making my kids pj’s for Xmas.  I am going to make something for me, Me, MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!


As I mentioned before, I am jonesing to make something from my small doubleknit collection.  Maybe the grey with some black accents.  Or black and red.  I haven’t had a chance to look through my hefty pattern collection yet, but I perused the selection at ButtMcVogue.  I would have liked to search by fabric type, but that kind of search option is not available on their sites.  Um, ButtMcVogue, it would be great if your search mechanism was a bit more robust please.  I settled, instead to look at all the dress offerings and then looking at what fabrics were suggested for each.  I wanted a slightly fitted dress to take advantage of the stretch of the doubleknit, but nothing too skin tight.  I don’t want to be asked again when my baby is due like I was asked this past weekend.  Can you believe it????  I was so pissed and then so depressed about it.  Where’s a white chocolate bar when you most need it?  Needless to say, I have been back to running.  Let me tell you, there’s nothing like someone saying you look so fat you might be pregnant to motivate you.

There was a sale at ButtMcVogue this past week, so I picked up a few patterns…

Butterick 5559

Remember how I saw someone at work wearing this exact dress???? 

Vogue 8409

Love this dress but may be a little low cut for work. 

Vogue 8666

I love how with this one you can use two different colors.  I wonder how I would color block if I use the view with the sleeves.  Keep the sleeves the main color or the accent color.  What do you think?

I have to look at what I already own too that would work well for double knits.  I’m sure I have at least 5 or 6 patterns from which to choose.

I can’t wait to sew for me!

Do you have any favorite patterns for doubleknits?


My light bulb moment

Or how Carolyn made me come to Jesus.  Carolyn and I were trading emails today about work wardrobes.  I told her that the nude dress she made in recent months was a light bulb moment for me in sewing.  Here I was trying all these patterns with some sort of bling in the details.  Remember my first Burda pattern, the skirt with the drape pleat?  How about my attempt at the Knip Mode skirt (or what Thea called my Crazy Skirt)?  And then Carolyn sews this simple yet elegant and beautiful nude dress.  She looked fantastic, svelte, and so classy.  And oh so perfect for the environment in which we both work, finance.  It was then that I realized I was on the wrong track.  I was being mesmerized by kitschy details when I should be learning how to sew simple and classic things that will work with my real life. 

Then we met up for a fabric lunch at Kashi’s (Metro Textiles) to meet the fabulous Eugenia of Eugenia’s (Fabulous) World of Fashion.  Eugenia is a lovely fellow sewist whose sewing pursuits I have read about for quite a while now.  It was such a treat to meet her since she lives in London, and really, how often does one get to London?  And then a random woman in the store stopped Carolyn (who was wearing her amazing red dress with the racing stripe today!) and it was Opal of Opal’s Passions.  Now I confess, I hadn’t yet come across her blog before, but I am definitely putting it on my google reader list now!  She was wearing that amazing McCalls dress that everyone’s been making lately, M6069.  Now I have to make it too!!!

Here’s one picture, courtesy of Carolyn, documenting our visit (Carolyn is not pictured as she was the one who took the picture.  DUH!).  And yes, apparently I do look that dumpy in person.  Sheesh.  Never wearing that suit again, I can tell you.

The lunch was too short but it was fun.  And productive!  Although I didn’t buy a stitch of fabric (shocking I know!), I left there having been “come to Jesus-ed” by the best of them, Carolyn.  She asked me why I haven’t made any woven dresses and I told her I was scared of fitting them.  And then they all ganged up on me and told me I should get over it and start working on some dresses.  Carolyn and Opal pointed out the obvious that when you make a dress, you have a complete outfit; there’s no need for any other item.  Whereas, if you make a skirt, you have to make a top to go with it. 

Well, I came home all fired up.  I went through all my copious patterns and narrowed it down to three contenders, B5147, B5314, and V8146.

Butterick 5147

Butterick 5314

Vogue 8146


I’d do a poll, but I am already leaning towards B5147 right now.  I think it has all the features I’m looking for: darts for fitting, open collar, but not too daring, and simplicity (the fabric will shine here).  Understated elegance.  And the bonus???  IT’S A LINED PATTERN!!!!  I don’t have to “figure” crap out.  Love. That!

I have some more news, but that will have to wait for another post.  Hahaha!  I’m such a tease.

Happy sewing everyone!  I am about to enter the muslin zone.

A Beginner’s Tutorial to Lengthening a Bodice

As promised here is my tutorial on how to lengthen a bodice for those beginners out there who are just like me (i.e., one who needs a little more direction than a shorten/lengthen here marking).  Oh, I may be the only one who needs this tutorial?  Oh ok.  Well then, here you go Elizabeth… 

Step 1: Determine how much length you want to add to your bodice.  In the case of this Vogue 8379 wrap dress, I want to add 1 inch (in reality, now that I’ve made up this dress, I know I need to add at least 1-3/4 inches and maybe even 2, but I started taking the pictures before I realized that.  So this tutorial will depict a 1 inch lengthening alteration to the pattern).  

Here’s your lovely pattern unadulterated and unmolested.  See how cute it is in its pristine state?  Note the Shorten/Lengthen line in the bottom third of the bodice.  That is the place, dear friends (or dear self since I may be the only one in need of this tutorial), where you will cut your pattern piece apart.  Now go ahead and cut. 

Back bodice

Front Bodice

Ok, now here’s where the fun begins.  Because why should it be all simple and easy?  Noooooo.  Let’s make it hard and complicated.  All right, it’s not that hard and not that complicated.  I don’t want to scare you off, but you should know that it’s definitely not a 1 or 2 step process.  

Step 2: Place tracing paper or equivalent behind your newly cut and separated bodice pattern pieces.  Position the pattern pieces so that they are 1 inch (or whatever your determined measurement is) apart and tape them to your added tracing paper.  Are we done you ask?  Surely you jest! 

Step 2: add your additional length

Step 3:  Now comes the really fun part!  We need to connect the top portion of the pattern to the bottom portion.  If this bodice was just a rectangle, we would just draw a vertical line joining the top to the bottom and we’d be all done.  But this bodice is not just a rectangle.  So we need to join the top and bottom without doglegging the side seams.  Here’s my first attempt at dealing with the dogleg problem.  I folded over the difference in width between the top and bottom on the bottom portion and then drew the lines in.  Sounds simple enough.  Even looks elegant.  Is it right?  NO!  Why?  Because you have just decreased the size of the waist of the bodice and now the bodice won’t be the same size as the skirt portion that attaches to that bodice portion.  

Incorrect method of lengthening the bodice

So what’s the correct method?  We need to break out the ruler or any straight edge and blend the difference between the top and the bottom.  To do this, add another piece of tracing paper vertically from the bottom of the arm hole to the bottom of the pattern piece.  Now place the ruler/straight edge at the top of the side seam at the arm hole and then move the ruler so that it also meets the bottom of the waist.  and draw a straight line from those two points.  Now you’ve preserved the integrity of the waist size while increasing the length of the bodice.   If you would be so kind to notice, my addition to the side seam is almost miniscule. 

back bodice final alteration

closeup of final bodice side seam blending from arm hole to waist

Step 4:  If there are any markings that moved because you lengthened the bodice, now is the time to correct them on the pattern  so that they fall in the same place on the altered pattern as they did on the original pattern.  In this pattern’s case, I needed to transfer the markings for the slit opening on one of the side seams.  So I measured down and inch and marked it the same distance away from the side seam as the original marking (see pictures above). 

Are we done now?  Surely we are, you think.  BUT NO!  We are not done yet.  There is more than one bodice piece.  We just corrected the back bodice piece, and now the front must be altered as well. 

Step 5: Since Vogue 8379 is a wrap dress, the changes to the bodice are treated slightly differently.  We no longer need to preserve the width of the dress, so blending the neckline to waist is not necessary.  I just added to the width of the waist to maintain the sweep of the neckline/wrap.  

final altered front bodice/wrap

close up of the altered bodice front pattern

Step 6: Since I added approximately a 3/4 inch to the front bodice/wrap, I need to add that same amount to the front skirt wrap.  You could take it out of the front facing which is 2 inches wide, but that wouldn’t be totally kosher.  My teacher Thea pointed out that the facing is 2 inches wide for a reason, to weight the front of the wrap and keep it from flipping outward.  Since I am 100% against facing flippage, I heeded her advice and widened the front skirt/wrap by 3/4 an inch, adjusting the facing marking as well. 

final altered front skirt/wrap pattern

Close up of altered skirt front

Note the tracing wheel marks where I marked the 2 inch facing correction.  The red line to the left of the tracing wheel marks is the original placement of the facing line.  

If this dress was not a wrap dress, I would not just add width to the bodice willy nilly.  I would need to employ the same method I used on the back bodice of blending from the arm hole down to the waist (or bottom) of the bodice pattern to maintain the original waist length.  Most likely the neckline would be unaltered by the bodice length change on a non wrap bodice.  And then I would not need to alter the front skirt pattern at all.  

So there you have it (or at least I do since I am the only one needing this tutorial), how to lengthen a bodice.  Since this is my first tutorial, if any of the more experienced sewists have differing opinions or flat out think I’m wrong, please speak up.  I used to be an opera singer and know how to take constructive criticism (well maybe not on my love life, but for other things, sure!).  If any of the beginners have questions, please let me know in the comments. 

Happy lengthening and sewing to you all!

ETA:  Ms. Choize reminded me that I completely forgot to include in my tutorial that you need to lengthen the facings as well.  Major OOPS!  Thanks, Ms. Choize!  Here is how you alter the facing to match the lengthened bodice:

Step 7: Now we must alter the facing to match the lengthened bodice.  Cut the facing apart somewhere in the bottom third of the pattern.  Add the additional length you’re adding to the bodice, in this case, it’s 1 inch and tape it all together.  If there are any markings that need transferring lower to match the original pattern, mark the altered pattern appropriately. 

Altered front facing

Close up of altered front facing

Et voilá!  You are done lengthening your bodice!  Phew!

Pattern Review – Vogue 8379

I should warn you right off that I only have crappy pictures of my finished dress — my usual photographer, my sister, has been sick for several days — so I used the self timer in crappy rainy day lighting.  IRL I think the dress is more flattering than these pictures seem to suggest.  Really!

I just posted my review on Pattern Review, but here goes…

Vogue 8379

Pattern Description:  Wrap front dress has soft pleats, side tie, and sleeve variations. Dress B has collar.

Pattern Sizing:  BB (8-14) I made a size 12.  I probably should have made a size 14, but I am in the process of losing weight (yeah, I know you should sew for the body you have, but I am really determined to lose this baby weight!)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?  Yes, except my ties weren’t as long.

Were the instructions easy to follow?  Yes, very easy to understand.  I can’t believe I am finally able to say that. For the longest time sewing pattern instructions were written in Greek to me.  Yeah!!!

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Likes: close fitting bodice, adequate girl coverage, cute silhouette, great directions, pretty easy pattern, and loved the swishy skirt.

Dislikes: interfacing not necessary, facings are stupid, ties could be longer, bodice is too short, skirt length could be short for tall people and sleeves are made for twig arms.

Fabric Used:  some gorgeous knit from Metro Textiles in NYC.  I loved working with it.  It was easy to cut, didn’t curl, and was a dream to sew.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I lengthened the bodice by 1 inch which caused me to widen the front skirt pieces a titch, and I would need at least another 3/4 inch if I made it again.  I would lengthen the skirt by an inch also so that I have an adequate hem — I was forced to hem at 1 inch and it seemed a little skimpy.  On the plus side, having such a short hem meant I didn’t need to gather it first to do the hem since there was not much difference in size from the bottom of the hem to the top.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?  I probably will not sew it again.  I was hoping this would be a TNT (Tried & True Pattern, one that you use over and over again as a wardrobe staple for those of you not familiar with this acronym) for me, but I think the bodice needs at least another 3/4 inches in length for me.  And while I like the swishy skirt, I think I would prefer more of an A-line skirt for my TNT.  The sleeves were really snug on me and I prefer the sleeve of Simplicity 3678 to this one as you don’t need to hem it but don’t know that I trust my skill set to interchange the two.  Note that if you lengthen the bodice you might want to sew down the pleats down a little higher (longer) so you don’t get saggy boob syndrome. Ask me how I know.   😉   Now that I think of it, I may sew mine up a little higher before I wear it to work tomorrow (ETA: did not do this, but probably should have.  I am just so over this dress now though).  The interfacing of the facings is NOT necessary and only serves to make them flip out more because they are stiffer.  I hate the facings and had to topstitch them 3/8ths in so that they would stay put.  I don’t mind the top stitching, but I much prefer the facing/binding method of Simplicity 3678 for the neck edges.  Basically they have you do a self fabric bias tape treatment.  Note: the sleeves while being skinny had a huge sleeve cap and could not be eased in by stretching as you sew.  You definitely need to follow the instructions to easestitch, baste and then sew them in.  It gives you perfect sleeve insertion, but why do you have to go to all that trouble when you could just use a smaller sleevecap to begin with?????  Annoying!  Also, I would make the ties at least a good 5-6 inches longer.  I tie them around my waist from the back to front and they are too short.  I can’t see tying them any other way and having the wrap work.  So, make them longer.

Conclusion:  So while I most likely won’t be making this ever again, I see that many people on PatternReview love this pattern.  For me there were too many alterations I had to make to make it work and I was still not entirely satisfied.  I think a different pattern will work for me better.  I am not saying that I should fit a pattern right out of the envelope, but rather that this pattern was not to my liking because the changes I would make had to do with the design and not just my body.  

This was a comedy of errors project for me from day one.  From cutting out the bodice with the stretch going the wrong way first, to cutting a v-shaped hole in my bodice front…

To attaching the ties to the side seams instead of the bodice fronts…

resewn on tie interior

resewn on tie exterior

tie stubs cut as close to seam as possible

And ending with finishing the hem incorrectly because I “remembered” the directions incorrectly.

That being said, the pattern goes together well when user errors don’t occur, is well marked, is drafted well and the directions are impeccable.  The only serious flaw is that the neck facings are just wrong, wrong, wrong!!!

And without further ado, the craptastic pictures.  Hopefully my sister will be up for more pictures later which will show that this dress is nicer than I’ve made it out to be in this review.

Next on the dockets is a muslin of the Knip Mode skirt that Cidell made a while back.  Also, I want to do a little tutorial on how to lengthen a bodice, because while it seems simple enough once you do one, to the innocent beginner it can be baffling!  Ask me how I know.  😉 

Happy sewing everyone!

PS: Sorry for the crappy pictures today.  I feel compelled to say something again about it.  I was rushed trying to upload them before I left for work, so there was no time to futz around with them.

Sneak Peek – Vogue 8379


So I didn’t make it to finish line last night.  I was able to correct my massively idiotic error of attaching the ties to the side seams rather than the front edges of the bodice wraps.  I set in my sleeves very successfully (but I have more detail on that in the pattern review post later).  BUT, I was too tired to push ahead and hem the dress.  I hope to finish it tonight and take some pictures this weekend.  I will write up the review this weekend as well.

Here’s a sneak peek at the dress in it’s almost completed state, but just a peek of my perfect sleeve.  I am emphasizing the perfection of the sleeves because they are the only thing about this dress that went smoothly. 

I will give you a little taste of my review ahead of time though just to keep you wanting more: Vogue 8379 will NOT be a TNT pattern for me going forward.  I am going to look at different options.  Robin suggested Kwik Sew 3408.  Check out her post and her review for her comparison of the two patterns.  Sounds like a winner to me.

May your sewing be free of idiotic mistakes.

Is there a cure for stupidity?

I hope so.  Can you tell me what wrong with these pictures?

Yep, that’s right.  Yours truly, idiot extraordinaire, put the ties of the dress on the side seams, not at the front edges of the bodice.  How am I supposed to wrap this wrap dress?   I don’t know because it ain’t gonna wrap without those ties in the right place. 

I made great progress last night and thought I only had to attach the sleeves and hem the dress tonight.  But when I tried on the dress last night I was at a complete loss as to how to wrap the dress.  It took me 10 minutes and a lot of staring at the instructions before I finally saw my glaring error.  DOH!!!

I’m sure I can fix this hot mess too, but I was too tired to do it last night.  I hope you’ll all still be my friends after this comedy of errors.  😉  

On the good news front, I was able to patch my cutting error and solve the facing problem.  Instead of removing the facing, I just topstitched it down.  And I used fusible knit interfacing to patch the cut.  Here’s a blurry picture of the patch and topstitching for your viewing headache.

Anyway, tonight is another night.  Let’s see what miracles I can pull out of my butt tonight.

Happy idiot-free sewing to you all.

Disaster averted, hopefully

Last night I was happily making progress on Vogue 8379 and not one, but two disasters struck. 

First, I was clipping the seam allowance 0n the neck facing and cut a v-shaped hole in the front of my bodice.  *sniff sniff* 

Then to rub salt on the gaping wound, the stupid #$%$^*^%$# facings wouldn’t stay put when I tried on the bodice.  I had heard tales on PatternReview many times before of the faceless facings flopping in mute mutiny.  Did I listen to these tales of woe from more experienced sewists than me?  Did I give in to my misgivings regarding these $#*&$#*&% facings? 

No, as a true 4 (sorry to interject numerology here, but my friend Cayce has determined that I am the epitome of a 4, doomed to face a lifetime of having process beaten into me — sounds like fun doesn’t it?), I stolidly carried on, faithful to the Vogue instructions, stubbornly disbelieving all those who have walked before me.  They must have sewed the facings on wrong somehow.  Why else would Vogue have you put facings on these dresses?  Right?


And to make matters even worse, Vogue tells you to interface the facings.  In my heart of hearts, I knew this to be wrong.  But did I heed my heart’s warnings?  Did I listen to the reviewers on PatternReview?  No, because Vogue is God.  OMG!!!!!!  Those facings were stiff as a board (note: I did use a fusible knit facing).  And my facings didn’t want to be hidden inside the bodice of my dress.  They wanted to “face” the world dammit.  Whether I wanted them to or not.  Even despite my meticulous understitching. 

So I thought I could take off the offensive facings and finish the bodice edges differently.  I sat on my couch with my friendly neighborhood seam ripper and commenced to unpluck stitches.  After an hour of studious and hard work, I had managed to undo less than one inch of the understitching.  The UNDERSTITCHING mind you!  Not even the actually seam stitching. 

I was ready to run out and throw myself under a bus to Kashi’s at Metro Textile today and buy more fabric and start all over.  And then Thea, my teacher, talked me off the roof told me how I could bring this project back from the dead the UFO pile.  She said to cut the facing off as close to the seam line as possible and attach a binding instead, possibly in a contrasting color as a design element.  And if I compromised the size of the front bodice, I could add some width with the binding.  GENIUS!!!!  This is why Thea gets paid the big bucks!  😉  

Needless to say, I did not run out to Kashi’s and I will attempt this fix tonight.  Oh and I will use fusible interfacing to fix the snip in the front as invisibly as possible.  Phew!!!

Despite these major setbacks, I am loving this dress and this fabric.  It’s a dream to work with (when you don’t deal with #$(*#%&*%^ interfaced facings).

Happy non-disastrous sewing to you all.