Pattern: Vogue 8825, view B
Fabric: Jersey ITY from Metro Textiles, NYC
Size: 10 graded into a 12
I'm sure I'm not the only sewer that's bought fabric intending to use it for another purpose. Take this knit jersey, for example, that I bought back in May - I saw it and instantly thought, "long maxi dress for a wedding this summer." Instead, this is the dress I wore to that wedding, and the jersey ended up sitting on a shelf in my closet. Sometimes the original design intention is just not meant to be, which was definitely the case when I flipped through a pattern book at Joann Fabrics and discovered Vogue 8825. I needed a "festive" dress for my coworker's Christmas party, I loved the retro feel of the pattern, and I had this funky red and black fabric begging to be made into something fun. Presto!
Plus, it's not like I'd get much wear out of a maxi dress in New England...the summers are way too short.
Even though Vogue calls this a "Very Easy Very Vogue" pattern, I believe I've sewn patterns other than this one that deserve that title. Yes, it's not complicated, but I wouldn't recommend this pattern to someone sewing a knit dress for the first time, which is how I view "Very Easy Very Vogue" patterns to be classified.
It was also the line drawing, not the photo of the dress, that caught my eye in the pattern book - I think that really speaks for something...
After cutting out the pattern, which consists of eight pieces, it went together fairly quickly. The neck facing is built in to the bodice pattern piece and connects to a back neck band - pretty great pattern drafting, if you ask me. I think I only referred to the directions when I attached the sleeves to the bodice.
The raglan sleeve is actually a two-piece sleeve, which gives the sleeve the fullness necessary to create the gathered puffiness at the cuff. The barrel cuff could have been a little smaller in circumference, I found that while wearing the dress the sleeves kept slipping down over my hands. If the barrel was tighter, it would stay up better and create a more poofy sleeve - my biggest disappointment of the pattern. Don't get me wrong, I love how it turned out, but I really wanted that dramatic sleeve flounce shown in the pattern illustration. I definitely want to make the tunic version of this pattern and will draft my own barrel cuff for the next go-round - probably out of a solid colored jersey.
There's also some shaping to the dress as well, it's not just a dress shaped by a sash like some other simple knit dresses - the back bodice and skirt pieces have waist darts. The sash is super duper long so it can be wrapped around obi-style and tie either in the front or back, depending on your preference, which I love. It keeps the surplice style of the bodice in check as well and prevents it from gaping open, something I was very concerned about with this style of dress.
Also, I took the hem of the dress up about four inches so the proportions of the dress would work well with the boots I intended to wear.
I'll be honest - it's the fabric that's doing all the work and really makes this dress. I love that the giant paisley paired with the dramatic sleeve give it a retro-cool vibe, hence my cheesy pose above! I was a little worried that with so many pattern pieces, the print would be broken up and not work well, hence the reason I originally thought of using this fabric for a maxi dress. But really, this print is so crazy that it didn't even matter. I'm really glad that I bought the three yards of fabric that I thought I needed for that maxi dress, otherwise this dress would never have happened. I'll be getting more wear out of this dress for sure this winter, even though it's quite bold and loud.