Sunday 8 November 2015

Vogue 9023 - sung to a Gershwin tune....

You know the one?

"...they're writing songs of love, but not for me".

I'll sew this dress once again, all the while singing "I'm sewing Vogue 9023 , but not for me".

Will I wear it again? Almost certainly not.

So, what's going on? Well, my mum rang me and announced that she required a dress for a formal dinner party and she had decided that I should make it for her.

I protested as best I could that I wasn't up to the task, but she wasn't believing it. I tried to convince her that fitting fancy dresses to adult women was a vastly different ball game to sewing for my flat, plank shaped children. She still wasn't buying it. Out of kindness I stopped short of using frightening phrases like "round shoulders" and "thick waists" to highlight the fitting issues....

Instead I insisted it would be a knit dress. Bear in mind she lives out in the country and there would be no chance for fitting. I think i was justified and I'm comfortable sewing with stretchy stuff. It might just work...

So I trawled the internet for a suitable pattern. Mum's requirements were that the dress should have sleeves, preferably just above elbow length, an empire waist and a full front skirt to hide her tummy.

Vogue 9023 seemed to fit the bill perfectly.

We are pretty much the same size in the shoulders, so I thought I'd sew up a version in a suitable size, with no alterations that might be wearable for me and would work as a muslin to see any fit changes required for her version. I picked fabrics from the stash, and started to get quite excited about the dress. It came together easily and I was thoroughly enjoying myself, and then I put it on....

Not too dreadful from the front. The bodice is definitely too short for me and I think my choice of using the skirt fabric for the waistband has visually shortened it even more. If i tug it down it looks a bit better, but then the neck facing wants to roll out even more than it's already inclined to do.

The pattern suggested a fabric with four way stretch and my thick knit stripe has plenty of 2 way stretch but nothing vertically. With the weight of the skirt it may not have needed extra length if the bodice would stretch downwards... 

The back is probably passable also. In this view the choice of a denim jegging type knit for the skirt is looking like a wise choice. Not too lumpy or clingy. I've found only two other reviews of this dress online, and neither are positive - both perhaps due to fabric choice and having too lightweight a jersey. The review on Idle Fancy is worth a read as it's quite amusing in the way that a well blogged dress fail can be. If you can read French then L'Atelier de Sybelle seems to have picked a jersey that was too light as well.

The pattern suggested hook and eye closures for the back facing, but since mine was a more casual dress I used some navy buttons and hair tie elastic loops.

Where my jegging, front pleated, empire waist skirt comes a massive cropper is in the side view:

The combination of high waist, pleated front and the sticky out jegging fabric is not working for me at all. Hello maternity wear!

A little while ago, Jennifer of ParrishPlatz posted a lovely top on her blog with a final photo that showed her looking "like" she was pregnant and had a sore back. I missed reading that one important word and set about congratulating her in a comment. Of course she set me straight and I was suitably embarrassed.

Anyway, here's the photo that was needed for this blog post!

I'm pretty certain that there will be leggings for the girl made out of that skirt come next winter. the top part was only a small amount of fabric and so no great sacrifice.

Now, I need to get cracking and start over with the required changes to try and make this work for my mum.

By this weekend...

Pattern: Vogue 9023 view A
Size: 16
Modifications: None.
For mum I will 1. Lengthen the bodice, 2 lengthen the sleeve to elbow, 3. Pinch out about 1 inch from the centre back below shoulders down to her flat bum.
Fabric: stripe ponte knit from Stylish fabrics. Stretch denim knit remnant from Rathdowne fabrics


  1. A longer waistband would help, especially in the same colour as the bodice. A bit of visual distraction like stripes going in the opposite direction, or a different colour would make the waist seem smaller. Instead of a tulip or straight skirt, maybe a slight flair would help balance the pleats?

    It is beautifully sewn, impressive seam matching and very neat all round.

    1. I appreciate the technical compliments, thanks! I think a drapier skirt fabric will eliminate the preggy belly room. We'll see.....

  2. If you are a bit uncertain about proceeding with the pattern, take a look at Greenstyle Creations Laurel Dress (without the cowl). It's a great base pattern that I have used on all shapes and sizes and is flattering on everyone. I haven't had a bad make from this pattern yet!

    1. Thanks, but I'm cutting right this minute. I think it WILL suit my mum. Always happy to see another pattern though, so, cheers!

  3. It does look nice from the back, but I guess the front part would work better with a drapier fabric, as you say. I hope we get to see the version you make for your mum, and the details of whatever changes you make. Very kind of you to sew for her - you good daughter, you!

    1. I have to confess that while I enjoyed the fabric selection and concept part, now that the sewing has come around I'm a little bit over it. My treat will be to sew for me next, and hopefully something that looks alright from all angles!

  4. Oh wow that side on view is not one anyone wants, unless they are pregnant. As long as our Mum likes it you will be fine and something for yourself is long overdue.

    1. You're absolutely right there Sharon! I think there may be a thirty year window in one's life where empire waist lines do NOT work! :)
      I am overflowing with sewing ideas for myself.Almost too many things I want to make...


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