What better thing to do while you are required to stay home than tackle a more complicated sewing project? Well, fortunately for me, I'd received this Vogue 1671 and this absolutely glorious viscose/rayon poplin as my latest Fabricville blogger project just before this lockdown started. So I had a more difficult project on tap!
This is an "easy" pattern, and when you look at the component steps it is fairly straightforward. But there are SO MANY steps! Only a couple of tricky ones that I noted when reading through the instructions, like attaching the front inset -- but once the pieces are in hand it makes sense and isn't hard at all.
The steps, taken one by one, may not be too difficult, but this dress takes a time commitment. I didn't track my hours, but I did work on it exclusively for at least a week, in my sewing hours I had available. I made as many flat pattern adjustments as I could for my height and so forth, then decided to cut the lining first to use it as my fitting shell; I didn't want to waste this gorgeous rayon poplin.
That worked quite well, but I did discover that my dress form isn't quite the same size as I am after all. Just minor differences but in a fitted bodice like this one that really matters. I will have to try to adjust her a bit. I followed my flat pattern measurements in the end, and I am so pleased I got a good fit. I was concerned that I hadn't taken up anything between bust and shoulder, where I usually do, but the measurements indicated it was fine. I'm glad I left it because it really is well fitting as is. I might drop the vertical dart by 1/2" or so if I make this again, but otherwise, everything seems to lie where it should and the sleeve band covers the underarm bra area -- it didn't completely do so on my form so I am glad it does on me!
The very hardest part of this pattern was sewing on the sleeve bands -- opposing curves are a bear! You can staystitch the curve and then clip into it to allow your fabric to adjust and fit more effectively, or you can "walk" your curves slowly to match them up. I'm generally a lazy sewist so I decided to try walking the curves -- just adjusting the fabric as you go, no pre-clipping etc. and only a few pins to keep matchpoints even.. I only had to pick out one little tuck and redo it so I think it worked well. Just very slow work indeed!
Other than length issues I didn't make too many changes to the pattern pieces themselves (and you'll note that I left this one midi length.) The main change that I made was in order of construction. I didn't like the interior finish when done as the pattern directed. There is so much work to this dress, I couldn't see why I'd rush the last steps and have the interior waist seam and zipper seam showing. Some others who've made this dress have serged their edges, or bound them. Both ways looked nice. But I decided that a little extra work wasn't going to make much difference to this project considering how long it was already taking.
Then I attached the skirt lining (with back seam already stitched and hem made) to the lining only, and hand stitched the prepressed 5/8" seam allowances to the zipper tape. I think that this gives a very nice clean finish to the inside, with no seam allowances showing anywhere. The only thing that didn't turn out perfectly is that the inside seam of the collar piece is uneven - probably due to my manhandling the rayon a bit too much.
But it looks great from the outside and now the inside too, and it fits really well, so I am very pleased with it! I am glad that my decision to try this from a rayon poplin and not the heavier fabrics recommended by the pattern worked out; I thought the lining would give it enough structure, and it has turned out just as I'd imagined.
Just look at this gorgeous fabric and how it ripples and swirls!
So many people have made this, thanks to the #YellowDressChallenge that Vogue began just after it was released (contest was only for the US though, unfortunately!) Check out the hashtag on Instagram if you want to see some more lovely versions.
I now have an idea for another version made of a floral cotton in my stash with some piping in the band seams... we'll see if I want to tackle this one again any time soon! I enjoyed the process though, and I am really enjoying the final product. Now to be able to wear it past the back yard!