Westwoodesque Stripy DK V1282

So let’s start with the Vivienne Westwoodesque top inspired by blogger Tia Dia’s vavavoom stripy dress version of Donna Karan Vogue Pattern 1282.

The Pattern

Tia Dia's vavavoom V1282

Tia Dia’s vavavoom V1282

Tia Dia’s decision to stick with the pattern’s grainline instruction while working with her stripes was genius. It’s so simple, yet the result is so much more interesting than even the Donna Karan original.

I also liked her idea of swapping the armhole facing/binding for an extended armhole edging/band/sleeve. I wanted mine even more extended, but wasn’t sure it’d be comfortable with extra fabric in the armpit. So I adapted the armhole band style of another designer Vogue Pattern – Vena Cava V1258 (which seems to have totally disappeared from the Vogue Patterns website!?!).

0-inspiration-v1258line

I actually made V1282 before, but I didn’t like how the result looked on me with my short-waisted inverted triangle shape, gravity compliant boobs, & age-compliant spreading middle. I think DK’s design would look better on the small busted or the hour-glass shape (which Tia Dia has). So this time I went back to the original pattern & made different adjustments to it. (So glad I trace pattern nowadays rather than wantonly chopped them up with the very first make!)

Style Shots & Mug Shots

WORN WITH: 1 Self-drafted mock-wrap pencil skirt; 2 Style Arc Antoinette trousers3 Self-drafted princess pencil skirt; 4 Refashioned A-line skirt5 Self-drafted pleated skirt

vs my previous V1282

Size Used

Size 4 again – instead of the recommended size 12 & my current norm of FBA’ed size 8.

Changes Made

It’s rather hard to figure out how to assess & adjust these non-standard patterns that DK is so fond of. So there was a fair bit of making it up as I go along…

Fitting changes
  1. Forward Shoulder & Neck + Small Arm Joints (???): shortened front at cross-front level, made back shoulder more square (move shoulder-armscye point up/forward).
  2. Tweaked Center Back seam to better fit my shape: caved in at the top for rounded upper back, caved in at lower back, add with at hem for larger (than size 4) hip.
  3. Shorter Torso: shortened at the hem.
Design changes
  1. Removed design ease from Center Front & raised cowl neckline in the process. I initially used the waist width as my guideline – I wanted the top to be fitted here – but ended up removing more at the top (neckline) & less at the hem. I was worried the hem would be too tight, but I didn’t mind removing more from the top because there were so much ease to begin with, plus doing so raised the cowl neckline further to minimise the risk of wardrobe malfunctioning! 🙂
  2. Widen shoulder for a cap sleeve rather than sleeveless look. Added strips of double-layered armhole bands except for about 3″ at the underarm, which was finished with facing/binding per V1282 instruction.

I originally wanted to incorporate some sort of asymmetrical side peplum as well by cutting a wedge off the right back below waist & somehow extending the left back below waist to form a peplum on the right hip. But my brain could not compute the pattern needed for this, especially when factoring in how this might affect the stripes. I was going to wing it during cutting out. And of course I totally forgot WHEN cutting out. Oh well, never mind.

Fabric & Notions Used

Construction Notes

  • See previous post about how I dealt with stripe matching in this PITA wiggly stripe fabric.
  • Worried that this viscose will stretch lengthwise over time like other viscose knit I’ve worked with, I stablised the back neckline & the armholes with fusible interfacing.
  • 2-sew-armhole-finishingFor the armhole, after stitching & turning the bands right-side out, the band was sewn right-sides together to the upper portion of the armhole first, then the facing/binding was sewn right-sides together to the underarm portion of the armhole – overlapping the bands slightly, the band is then pressed out while the facing/binding is pressed to the inside, the whole armhole is then top-stitched to secure the band seam allowance & facing/binding.
  • 2-sew-boneStayI replaced the weight at CF cowl tip with a boning stay that gets tucked into the bra to keep the cowl from gaping if I lean forward. This is just a short piece of plastic boning encased by self-fabric & one end sewn to the CF cowl tip. I read about this trick in Claire Shaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques. Some other blogger also used this trick but I can’t remember who it was damnit.

The Verdict

Much MUCH happier with this tweak of V1282! Feel much less dowdy in this version. And I like the mini-wings. Cute top. But still not sold on the B&W stripes as my aesthetic has become much more Crayola with age 🙂

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Psychedelic Leopard 1: V1282 Donna Karan cowl neck top

If you were reading this blog April last year, you’d know I bought this pattern hoping it’d be The One for this leopard print fabric. It only took 10 months for me to finally get around to it. During that time I of course flirted with other ideas. But in the end, true love was meant to be. So voilà, a top that I’ve already worn twice to the Office this week. Score!

The Pattern

Style Shots & Mug Shots

Fabric & Notions Used

Size Used

I went for size 4, down from a recommended size 12 and my current norm of FBA’ed size 8!

This is partly on the advice of the Pattern Reviewers (with their complaints of how big and low cut the pattern is). I compared the sizes against the adjusted pattern for the M6078 cowl neck top I made last summer and 4 come out the closest (I went down to XS or 4-6 for that top as well).

I also roughly compared the pattern’s B-W-H measurements with my B-W-H to ensure the negative ease won’t too much for my fabric to handle. Eg if pattern hip = 30-3/4″ and my hip = 35″, then 30-3/4″ − 35″ = -4.25″ (negative ease) ÷ 30-3/4″ (pattern hip) = -0.138 OR 13.8% that the fabric cut at 30-3/4″ would need to stretch to fit my hip of 35″.

I checked all three measurements and took the largest % number, then compare this to how much my fabric would stretch. In this case, 10″ of fabric stretched to 12-1/2″ OR 25% (12-1/2″ − 10″ = 2-1/2″ ÷ 10″ = 0.25 = 25%). So the fabric stretches more than required by the pattern size I chose and I’m fine to go with the 4 – for widths at least.

Changes Made

v1282-2

  • Wide Shoulder Adjustment: 1/2″
  • Rounded Upper Back Adjustment: additional 3/8″ on back shoulder, eased during sewing
  • Narrowed upper back by removing 1-1/8″ per side (2-1/4″ total) from CB at neck level tapering to nothing at bust level.  This was on advice of Pattern Reviewers as well, but the precise amount was based on a comparison of this pattern with my  adjusted M6078 which now fits relatively well. Also raised CB neck 3/4″ so the CB neck angle is closer to original pattern.
  • Widened 3/8″ per side (3/4″ total) at hip level to avoid hip being too small and riding up.
  • Short-Waist Adjustment: shortened at waist 1-1/4″. The way I did this also narrowed the upper front 1/4″ per side (1/2″ total).
  • Shortened hem 1″ – I’m taking the Pocket Stylist‘s advice that a top length closer to the high hip is more flattering than one ending right at the hip.
  • Raised armhole 1″ and reshaped it to scoop a bit out at the back. My arm joints seem shorter and wider than standard. So the shallow curve of the original looked uncomfortable. In the end though I should have scooped out more or not bother raising the armhole as the result feels a bit tight.
  • Reduced CF stitching line (step 6) by 1″ after basting the seam and trying on the top. The smaller size and my short-waist adjustment resulted in a higher cowl neck opening – unlike for most Pattern Reviewers.  I decided I can show slightly more skin and avoid what to my eye is a strange contrast between the drapeless CF seam and the drapy cowl below the bust line.
v1282-1

Compared with the original before short-waist alteration.

v1282-3

Final pattern compared with altered M6078 which fits well.

Verdict on the Instruction

The instruction is pretty straight-forward. And having step-by-step illustrations is helpful for beginners. So as long as you have a Walking Foot and stretch stitch of some sort (zig-zag would do) then any beginner can whip up this stylish top. Picking the right size is probably the trickiest part.

Having said that, I did deviate from a few steps.

  • I ignored the layout instruction that called for a bias layout and just used the standard lengthwise layout (with the stretchiest crosswise grain running around the body). First of all I didn’t have enough fabric because I wanted to squeeze 3 projects out of just over 2 yards. And while I love bias results in wovens I loathe the fabric wastage. Plus this is a lycra knit. So I see no point as the knit bias doesn’t seem to have the same obvious advantages as woven bias.
  • I also interfaced the back neck area with So Sheer tricot interfacing. The stable direction of the interfacing runs across the back neck to prevent it from stretching out of shape during sewing or wearing. Shoulder seams were stabilized with clear elastic and armhole with Vilene Bias Tape – which I had to remove later because I shortened the armhole too much.
    v1282-4
  • For step 8, I used 3 pennies for weight. And while the weight did enhanced the CF drape, it didn’t prevent the drape from flipping out like it did for one of the Pattern Reviewers. So I tacked the tip of the weight pocket to a fold in the underbust drapes. With so much drapes there, plus the busy print, the stitch is hardly visible.
    v1282-5
  • I skipped steps 14-16 for adding hanging straps. I don’t know who would want to hang up knits. Isn’t that asking Gravity for trouble?

Would I sew it again / Would I recommend it to others

Hell Yeah! I want a shiny one like Clio & Phineas’ or SewEllen’s. I also really like Merche of Aventuras de Costuras’ partly because she modeled the combination of this top and Burdastyle 2012-05-113 draped skirt for me – saves me from having to use my unreliable imagination! 🙂

I just hope I have enough pennies left for a few more tops!

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V1159 Donna Karan twist front dress

This one was a tortoise. I made the first muslin like a year ago. Maldives was what it took to push through with a proper make. Or sort of proper. You see, part of the delay was due to my attempt to alter this no-alteration pattern. There was a fair bit of “I feel lucky” going on.

The Pattern

It’s a lovely feminine pattern. All of the makes on Pattern Review have been gorgeous, even if many complained about the low cut armhole and front gap-ahoy.

Style Shots & Mug Shots

v1159_4s2_2v1159_4s2_4v1159_3_0Fv1159_3_2SLv1159_4s2_6v1159_3_3B

Fabric & Notions Used

Size Used

My first muslin was a 10 based on high bust measurement. For this one I used am 8 with alterations.

First Muslin

For my first I followed the instruction closely. Or so I thought.

Like others, I noticed that front drape crisscrossed in the opposite direction to the pattern photo and tech drawing.

It wasn’t until I took apart the muslin and tried to trace my alteration guidelines that I noticed I didn’t pay enough attention to the cutting layout instruction: I had the wrong side facing up instead of the right side when I cut my fabric. It’s an easy mistake to make since most of the time you’re cutting folded fabric with wrong sides on the outside, facing up.

I thought it turned out alright though. The drape plus the stretchy fabric make it a rather forgiving pattern. It does have the minor flaws noted by others, though non-matching notches wasn’t a problem in size 10 and 8.

Heeding their warnings I had raised the armholes by about 1-1/2”, but they were still a bit low and gappy. The front was fine if I stand up straight, but immodest if I lean forward – like to get up from a chair. So I decided that I’d attempt alteration for my next make.

BTW, the profile looks horrible, especially the skirt, only because the fabric I chose wasn’t really appropriate. It felt more like sweatshirt material. So too stiff to drape gracefully. I learnt my lesson and chose a more drapy fabric for this make.

Changes Made

v1159_1Palt_3_fv1159_1Palt_3_b

  • Narrowed lower back.
  • Sway-back adjustment.
  • Full-bust adjustment and pivoted FBA dart to shoulder pleats and waist / skirt drapes. Interestingly, I think this might have made the shoulder more like the slight cap sleeve in the pattern photo.
  • Shorten front fold to get rid of gaps.
  • Lower left shoulder adjustment.
  • Raised armhole. I think I might have overdone this a bit. Together with the FBA, the armhole has become a bit too small / binding. The Vilene Bias Tape I use to stabilize the armhole probably doesn’t help either. When I get home I might unpick this, get rid of the bias tape, re-stitch with stretch stitch, and pray that the natural give of the fabric will remedy the over-zealous armhole reduction!
  • Changed skirt seam to CB seam (to make it easier to diagnose skirt fitting problems).
  • Omit skirt lining. Extended bottom edge of the “Upper Back” pattern to meet at CF. Added interfaced facing to make this extension sturdy enough to support the weight of the front draped skirt.
    v1159_2D_3v1159_2D_4

Verdict on the Instruction

It is convoluted. This is one pattern where I had to follow the instruction faithfully. At least for the first muslin. The illustrations helped tremendously because the verbal instruction is a jumble due to the poor pattern area naming. How are you suppose to make sense of “shoulder pleats in FRONT AND BACK (1)”??? In fact, when I mapped it out, all pattern pieces cover the front and the back, just different parts of them. This is because they all warp around your body.

To help others who want to make this dress, here’s my rough mapping of pattern areas and numbered matching seams in a somewhat Burda style. Who knows, maybe some of you may also be brave enough to attempt alteration! 🙂

And here are some details of my muslin, especially the inside, to help you figure out what’s going on with the pattern areas.

v1159_0m_0-F-Iv1159_0m_0-SL-Iv1159_0m_0-B-Iv1159_0m_0-SR-Iv1159_0m_1D-I1-av1159_0m_1D-I2-av1159_0m_1D-I3-a

For this make, I tried to stabilize edges that I thought might stretch out of shape:

  • Vilene Bias Tape on back neckline, armholes, and front drape crossing hems. I might omit it from the front armholes in future make or enlarge my altered armholes slightly.
    v1159_2D_2v1159_2D_1
  • Clear elastic on shoulder seams, waist seams, under-bust seams in the front.

v1159_2D_5I also tacked the folds of the top front drape in place. That’s the only way the folds will stay gracefully small and Grecian. Otherwise it’d morph into an unflatteringly wide Beauty Pageant Sash look.

Would I sew it again

Probably. Once I work out the kinks. I think it’s a wardrobe classic. I might even alter the armhole area to take sleeves. It’d be a lovely LBD with 3/4 sleeves!

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