When I found out that I was going to San Francisco for a Christmas Party this year, I knew a new dress was definitely going to be needed. I’ve been focussing more on practical makes and, with the exception of my lovely summer party dress, my closet is rather lacking in dress up attire. Step one was a look through my pattern stash and I was thrilled to find I already had the perfect pattern – Vogue 1537.
Next step, fabric. I wanted fabric that would hold it’s shape and not be clingy but would also be soft and have some sparkle or other festive element. It took me quite a while to find what I was looking for… until I saw 50% Chinese brocades at Gala Fabrics. I chose a silk and rayon brocade with gold butterflies on a black base. I briefly considered the impracticality of owning a garment made out of silk brocade but then I thought, how often do I get to fly to San Francisco just for a Christmas party? Not the most logical of arguments but it was 50% off and I went for it.
I AM SO GLAD that I made a toile for this dress. This is my first Vogue pattern since I was a teenager but thankfully I knew that Vogue patterns tend to have ridiculous amounts of ease. I sized down for the toile and that was still a size too big. I finally cut into my silk brocade two sizes below my measurements. Luckily I didn’t have to make any other changes except to shorten it by a couple of inches. Many of the reviews I read online said that this dress is quite short but I’m not even close to tall and it was actually a bit long on me.
Aside from the beautiful fabric, the back of this dress is the best part.
This was a fun make. It had some challenging parts but it was all manageable and the instructions, I thought, were quite good. The only thing that I think they got wrong is pressing the bust darts downward. I don’t trim my darts and when I pressed them down in the toile, they only partially reach into the side seam and end up pulling oddly when the dress was sewn together. I pressed them up in my final version and they look much better and don’t pull at all.
I decided to serge every edge of the brocade as soon as I had cut it out and I’m glad I did. This job would have been a mess if I’d tried to finish the seams as I sewed. For the lining I used rayon Bemberg and did french seams throughout. I think it looks pretty good inside out!
This make took a little longer than most of my recent ones but it was worth it. I can’t wait to wear this dress to the party in December. I really hope someone asks me where I got it :)
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