So if you follow me on Instagram you’ll have seen lots of photos posted last week of this stunning Vogue 1542 dress designed by Patricia Jeanne Keay, it really is a beautifully designed dress and the detailing around the neckline is just gorgeous with the leaves and bias tubes. As soon as I saw this pattern I was smitten, I loved everything about this dress and it was in my basket without giving further thought as to whether I could actually make it!
I was on Minerva Crafts website buying some espadrille yarn and clicked on the Pattern of the Week and this Vogue 1542 dress popped up, I just fell in love with the design immediately, and with a black tie Casino party on the calendar, I thought it would be just perfect. The pattern recommends crepe back satin or medium weight linen and Minerva had some crepe back satin in this gorgeous aubergine colour half price and it is one of my favourite colours so that was an easy choice for me. I probably would have gone for black or a silvery grey otherwise, possibly a navy, but my colour palette doesn’t really get more adventurous than that, not for a dress like this anyway.
The dress is fully lined with facings, an invisible zipper, front and back princess seams and an assymetrical flounce, along with the leaves and tendril tubes that really give this dress it’s wow factor. I did wonder whether I had the skills to do this design justice as the neckline detail looks so complicated and does involve hand sewing which isn’t something I have much patience for, however the instructions are really clear and I’m happy with how my detailing worked out.
I didn’t have time to toile this pattern first but thought if I made the lining as it uses the same pattern pieces I would get a fair idea of fit from that. I went for a size 8 and the lining fitted fine, plenty of wiggle room, so I cut the dress at the same size.
What I would say is that the lining is very short and I had read a blog post on this by Julia Bobbin mentioning this so I lengthened the lining pieces by 10 inches, if you don’t it will just clear the bottom of the zip so barely covering your bottom, which is a strange length, a pattern mistake maybe? Her version in a light blue wool crepe is just gorgeous and she looks stunning in her dress!
Also because I lengthened the lining the markings for the zip placement and triple notches need to be raised up by the amount that you lengthened it by, the pattern doesn’t mention doing this and it may be obvious to the more experienced seamstress but I didn’t think to do it until I realised something was not matching up!
This dress has lots of princess seams and the instructions are detailed for doing them, it recommends a combination of ease stitching and stay stitching and I didn’t have a problem sewing these but just at the bust it was too big. I’m not sure how to do a small bust adjustment for princess seams, but I unpicked this section and pulled the centre front over the side sections and this seemed to work fine, it removed the excess at the bust and after a good press over a tailor’s ham and they were fine. I wondered whether I could have made a size 6 but the dress fitted fine across my shoulders and back so I think it was just a case of not having enough bust to fill out the dress!
The dress is fully lined with neckline and armhole facings attached to the lining, there was lots of basting involved at this stage which was time consuming but I wanted to get it perfect so I wasn’t too tempted to skip these stages, I probably would next time.
I had real issues with trying to understitch the facings and apart from the bust princess seams this is where my seam ripper had the most use, I was almost tempted to try to hand sew this stage as everytime I sewed a section I ended up unpicking it! In the end I just managed to get the middle section of the neckline and a small area under the arm understitched, the rest was inaccessible due to the shaping of the facings into the straps. The pattern suggests slipstitching the lining to the zipper tape (I didn’t..unecessary hand sewing!), I just attached a zipper foot and did it on the machine, it’s neater than my hand sewing would have been.
The sleeves are just lovely, they sit just on the shoulders and have a twisted design that is just so elegant. Again there is lots of basting involved to get the effect and lots of marking of circles but the instructions make it very clear, the same with the leaves, note the circle markings need to be on the RS of the fabric, unless you use tailor’s tacks I guess. I had chalked all mine on the WS then had to remark them all….
I used to make jewellery so found this little crystal flower in my stash and thought it would be a perfect embellishment, I also added some glass beads to the other side just to add a bit of extra wow!
I would recommend cutting your bias strips wider than the pattern suggests. I sewed one as a tester and because they are fairly narrow and it suggests a 6mm seam, I missed some areas where my stitching went wonky (due to my lack of being able to sew perfectly straight and the slippery fabric…), so when turned the right way out it wasn’t a perfect tube with several gaps where I hadn’t caught the fabric. I recut them about 1cm wider and this gave me extra fabric under the presser foot and I didn’t have any problems after that. I loved the way they formed these little tubes but I only used 5 in the end, there was supposed to be another one wrapped around the leaves but I had already half decided I might not use it and then it got sucked up in the hoover and the decision was made for me! I also got a bit lazy finishing the ends of the tubes and pushed the ends into the tube by a few inches rather than hand sewing them closed.
The only final observation I would make is regarding the petite markings on the pattern, I’m 5ft 4′ and I didn’t take much notice of these markings, I was happy with the finished length of the dress acording to the pattern details, but it ended up being a little too long for me. I wanted the flounce to fall just above the knee so I ended up losing 5cm from the flounce and it probably would have looked better to keep the flounce at it’s original length and shorten the torso by this amount. I don’t think it made a huge difference but I would do that adjustment next time.
I felt very elegant in this dress, and had several compliments, did of little bit of boasting too as you do “I made this you know, it’s a Vogue design!”.
Overall though this pattern is great, the instructions are clear and detailed, although there is lots of fiddly work with the leaves, straps and tubes, it was all good fun and I had never made anything this delicate before. I think the dress is just beautiful, perfect for that special occasion and I hope that it gets more than a once a year outing….or perhaps I’ll just have to pop to the shops in it, see if I can turn a few heads……