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V1351: almost there

When I thinking about the party dress I posted about last week two weeks how-did-this-become-three-weeks-ago-when-I-wrote-the-post-already(!), I initially started from V1351. That's this DKNY pattern in case you have no idea what I'm talking about:

Vogue 1351 /

It's a bias cut dress with a cowl. I thought it was perfect for the party dress, but that I needed something other than muslin to try it out, as the drapey-ness requirements are different.

As an aside, I'm not really sure how draping drapey designs works with muslin. I bought this Draping book from amazon to learn, but now I'm blocked by the fact that muslin is 10-francs-a-metre-in-Zurich - this has to be the one item in Switzerland that I find really expensive. Luckily muslin is cheaper in Romania, so I have instructed people coming over by car to buy me a whole bolt.

Back on the subject at hand, I had this polyester Kaufman drapey mystery fabric in my stash for about two years, it was a birthday present from someone at work, and it was perfect for the project.

The dress is bias cut for the fashion fabric, has a grain-cut bodice lining, and a bias-cut skirt lining. The bodice is very smartly done: the lining actually makes the cowl sit in place. I was a bit meh about the whole thing when I finished - this was the picture I took before I hemmed:

I cut a straight size 12, and it was quite easy to put together. I ended up making various tucks and pleats by hand to make the cowl sit as I wanted it to. One of the things this has taught me is that I don't really like cowls. At all. No that I think about it, I quite disliked the cowl on my Vogue 1250s as well, both on the dress, and on the top. The problem is that I just don't know what to do with it! You live and you learn, eh? Maybe they'd be easier to handle if there was less fabric.

One of the cool things about this pattern, however, it that it's really good. No need for a sway back, nothing changed, the dress looks great. Great instructions for a machine narrow hem - I think I'm finally getting the difference between a narrow hem and a rolled hem.

Obviously, this isn't a fitted garment, but I quite like how much movement one gets It looks excellent with a belt as well:

Turns out I like bias cut things. Who-would-have thought!

One word of advice - the skirt is cut quite long, I had to trim a good deal from it. Size 12 as drafted is really more of a midi length for me (163cm / 5'4").

I decided in the end that I didn't want to use this pattern for the party dress (*cowl* ahem), but I did cut the party dress skirt from the skirt pattern, so I had that going for me :) And I got to wear it a few times at work, although the skirt lining just will not stay put - I need to add thread tacks to it - it's only going to happen next year though now that winter is coming in Zurich. Although we are heading to Mallorca for a team offsite soon, so I might just get that done before I go.


  1. Looks snazzy!

    I think Pattern Magic has a whole section on cowls. Depending on the shape of the cowl piece and the lining piece and if the two are different, you can change the shape of the drape and how firmly it'll stay in place. Interesting stuff

    1. Thanks! I got both the Draping book and the Pattern Cutting book - hopefully they'll be good for cowls.

  2. It's pretty! I like the cowl on you but it's no good if it annoys you to actually wear it. The colours are lovely and I like the combination with the blue belt. Thanks for the pattern notes.

    1. Thank you! I agree, it looks pretty, but I find it very fussy to wear. I think it would be better with a smaller cowl though, so maybe it's just a case of keep trying.


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