Completing Vogue 1556

posted in: Finished projects, SWAP | 15

The pattern and alterations

I admit I paid quite a lot of money for this iconic 1963 Yves St Laurent Vogue Paris Original pattern from a specialist supplier in Canada, but I don’t regret it. I have now made three dresses with this pattern – in linen, wool and now in pink silk – and I love them all. The pattern is an elegantly shaped shift dress from one of my favourite designers. It is very stylish while also being very simple, just the right length, with a perfect neckline. It is not difficult dress to make up. And because I had used the pattern twice before, I felt sure that I not need to adjust or alter for fit.

The pink dress is my first version with sleeves, and sequins are proposed by the pattern with drawings and instructions. So, this time, for my SWAP 2016 sweet pea collection, I just made it up, as designed, without incorporating any changes of my own.


I used a remnant of thick pink silk with a sheen, plus sequin fabric. I did not underline the silk as it was heavy and stable enough. I lined it with a good quality, blouse-weight pink silk. I used big cream coloured press studs to fasten the top yoke at the back, and an invisible zip (although a lapped zip was specified). I used an iron-on interfacing for the cuffs and hem band.


I have already outlined how to sew with sequins if you ever want to spend a long time flicking bits of plastic into your carpet. I found one stuck to the baby’s back and one jammed into my Kindle. We will be finding them for weeks.


Despite lots of anticipation and hard work, I am not happy with this dress. In fact I finished it for the 50th birthday party, but I didn’t wear it in the end. You remember how unsure I was of the pink and white colour scheme – thinking it would look too sugary? Well I think it does. Like a big pink blancmange with piped, whipped cream around the base and on the top. Also, and this is because the fabric is rather stiff, it looks too much like a column. Sarah’s sequin dress is made from wool, and my two previous V 1556 dresses were made of softer cloth – French linen and 100 per cent wool, and I think this fabric is less suitable for the dress. It doesn’t flow around the body in the same way.

I am therefore planning some alterations. I think I will remove the sequin hem (thereby shortening the dress), take a little bit of the side seam in around the waist line, consider a back dart. I may change the cuffs as well to reduce the sequins.



15 Responses

  1. Jay

    I’m sorry you don’t like the dress as it is. Is it worth putting it aside for a short while to see if you like it better when the doubts have faded a bit? I think it’s quite hard to really ‘see’ our own creations when they first come off the machine. I have a couple of other ideas to throw into the mix if you do decide to make changes. If you can find a darker shade of pink sequins how about stitching them in a broken line between the paler sequins and the rose fabric? Also, how about a narrow belt with the two kinds of sequin on them to give some waist definition – would that work?

  2. Annie B

    I’m assuming the challenge of reversing to the pale side is not an option? I was silent on that vote but LOVE that combo. … *steps back from gauntlet*

  3. Sue

    They are all lovely dresses but I agree with you about the sugary effect of the pink and sequins. Can I make another suggestion, I think I would take all the sequin sections off the pink, remake the pink with another colour silk you are happy with and remake the sequins with another colour, I’d favour a more monochrome colour scheme but that’s me.

  4. Kim Hood

    It’s sad that you don’t feel happy with this dress. Shown alongside the other two incarnations I admit I think it looks less brilliant. Could it be the sleeves?
    I agree with Jay that it may be worth stepping back from it for a little while to enable a clearer view to be made.

  5. Ruth

    I’m feeling a little sad that your pink dress wasn’t as you thought it would be, but we all know that feeling. What about replacing the pink sequins with sequins of a different colour – green?
    I would be very tempted to add a couple of front darts to emphasise the waist and add some shaping

  6. Susan

    I’m with Barbara and Kim and wonder whether the sleeves maybe the problem. How would the dress look if they were 3/4 length, or not there at all? Currently on my monitor they are taking what should be a great dress, into nightie territory….

  7. Bunny

    So sorry you’re not happy with your final look. For me the biggest difference between the other two and the pink dress is the sleekness of the two you like. I think that can be achieved here as well. For me, what I would change would be the gathered sleeves and the sequin hem. Cut them off, make them 3/4 and I think you will be a bit closer. I also agree that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to let this marinate a bit before cutting. It’s amazing how time and some sleep can show the way to the solution, far better than any of us here could. Good luck.

  8. Jane

    This is one of those creations that should have worked 100% – but just sadly just falls short of expectations. So disappointing for you after all that thought and work. What about silk chiffon sleeves with the cuffs and cut off the sequin hem?

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