The three sins. Or the dress with the hole

posted in: Finished projects | 7

The story of the hole and the three sins

Pink cotton jersey with a big hole cut out of it
Nice fabric – shame about the hole!

Why did I go into Misan Fabrics in Berwick Street on Thursday evening and buy a piece of cloth that had a large hole in it?

Well, I liked the fabric colour and design – a sort of damask effect on a quality cotton-mix jersey. Very soft, a vibrant shade of pink, and a bargain. That was what swung it. £12 for the piece, and certainly enough, said Margarida, holding it up against her skinny body, to make a dress. Just ignore the hole! It was hard to ignore the hole. It was quite a big hole. Easily big enough to put your head through. But, she wheedled, that is why it is so cheap! And it’s so lovely!  And the colour suits you so well! This from a girl who had accidentally  booked a flight to Portugal from Birmingham rather than London. So it came home with me.

I can’t really imagine why anyone would cut out a hole in the middle of a piece of fabric. Maybe something nasty happened here and rather than have a big stain the manufacturer got the shears and cut the stain out. It wasn’t even symmetrical so was even more wasteful. Making holes in fabric – the first big sin. But I suppose selling the butchered remant to an adventurous sewist with a penchant for pink was some sort of absolution.

The second sin was mine. In order to make a lovely Diane Von Furstenberg dress with sleeves a number of crimes against the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing would have to be committed. Can you count the errors on my layout?

Pattern pieces for Vogue 1547 layed out
Arranging the pattern layout to squeeze out the dress

Novice sewists look away now! Qualified sewing teachers- please don’t report me to the authorities! Here is the full shameful list

  • shortened the dress by two inches
  • jettisoned the belt and scarf
  • decreased the width of the dress front and back by about 1″ (as a b36 pattern this should have been OK)
  • (not measured carefully)
  • compromised the seam allowance at back shoulder and CF hem
  • not one single pattern piece was pinned on the correct grain
    • neck binding and sleeve on the cross grain
    • dress front and backs slightly off grain to accommodate the pieces
  • by putting the pieces top to toe the pattern goes down the front, and up the back
  • cut two neck bindings by mistake
  • the crude folding on the sleeve pattern isn’t very impressive
  • all these changes should have been done correctly, measured and trued on pattern paper. The neck and shoulder alterations are reckless
  • complete disregard for pattern matching across the front or back of the dress

Pattern Review for Vogue 1547

The third sin was Diane’s but I will get that.

I am a complete sucker for DVF dresses. I have a few patterns and I love them. The all have the fit and flare shape that I like,”closely fitted” on the bodice like a T-shirt, with a swingy, slightly exaggerated skirt. They are often designed for jersey fabrics. The Vogue Designer Original series has the dresses made up or illustrated in DVF fabrics in vibrant, colourful patterns. I really like wearing 1970s designs like these which I find feminine and elegant and easy to wear. I love the long-sleeved version and the self belt too (next time). It’s a “below mid knee” number. Even with two inches off the hem I put a three-inch hem on it, and this was my only hand sewing. I started the dress with a hole before work on Friday and finished it before we went to friends for dinner on Friday evening. The joy of the overlocker is that making a jersey dress in a few hours becomes an easy pleasure. I didn’t baste a thing.

My verdict on the pattern? It’s a close fit, but it’s a nice fit, The shaping in the CF and CB seams – common to many DVF patterns – make the dress. I don’t love the neckline finish. It stands a little proud and its my fault for cutting the band (twice!) on the cross grain. It  should be stretched to fit so that it contracts a little. It also requires a hook and eye, for goodness sake. It didn’t really work for me. So this is my penance for my sin of layout compromise.

pattern instructions for neckline finish for Vogue 1547
V 1547 DVF neckline finish

The only issue I have with Diane, and her sin is this – she specifies a back zip. I wanted to leave it out. But I worried about the close fit, and putting it on with sleeves. I needn’t have worried. I pulled it off without unzipping when I got home. Drat! Next time….And there will be a next time, because this has all the makings of a perfect dress. in Diane Von Furstenberg Vogue 1547
Vogue 1547 DVF





7 Responses

  1. Galina

    The fabric was definitely worth it! Love the pattern and colour. It does look like a perfect dress in spite of all the sins. For the next reincarnation of the dress, however, I would consider changing the neckline and perhaps using cap sleeves?

  2. foamofdays

    I do it all the time! I mean trying to sqeeze pattern pieces into clearly too small amount of fabric (as I am stingy and always buy minimum amont of fabric.. ) by changing pattern lines and doing all sorts of crime..
    I like the fabric and the shape of your dress, really suits you!

  3. Gjeometry

    Love your version, very pretty fabric! I left off the zip completely. Didn’t even think about it too much, since both fabrics I used were rather stretchy and since the skirt was so wide, I didn’t see the need for a zip. I can see the want for it, i.e., you wouldn’t constantly be stretching out the neckhole and bodice, but in terms of being able to get it off and on easily…yes, no problem. Following your blog now too!

  4. VeraVenus

    A lovely dress… glad you went back and ditched the zip and redid the neck too. Worth the time for a great dress and I know how hard it is to go back and redo stuff. I’m also guilty of similar cutting out crimes many times over as a habitual buyer of not-quite-enough fabric. But hey, if it works…!

  5. Fadanista

    Thank you for your comprehensive review. I am about to make this dress and had been wondering about the zip, so will start by leaving it out. My fabric is not as lovely as yours though…

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