Friday, July 25, 2014

Vogue 1390 - Brown Pleated Shift Dress



While I have been lax on blogging, I have been sewing here and there.  I sew because I like being able to make things to wear, and also because it is a good, constructive, creative way to occupy my mind and body, which makes it fun for me.  Unfortunately, my projects have piled up unblogged because it is difficult to get them photographed.  Even though for the most part I do the photographs myself, it still requires a block of time to take the photos, and another block of time to edit.  I do like to have a record of my projects here, however, so I'm not going to worry about the order and go ahead and blog what I can.

Anyway, my most recent make is this Sandra Betzina dress pattern Vogue 1390.  It looks like I made view B (and I did use the 'v' neckline) but I used view A's directions because my pleats were already on my fabric.  This is because my fabric is a cotton pleated shower curtain that I purchased for $3.99 at the thrift store:
Sorry for the blur
I had purchased the pattern when it was on sale and was keeping my eye out for some kind of panel printed fabric.  When I was trawling the thrift store linens section, I came across this shower curtain with its chocolate brown pleats (I am very, very attracted to texture in fabric), a little light bulb clicked on in my head and I thought it might work instead.  For $3.99 it was worth a try!

One thing I will say about refashioning items from one thing into another:  you never have as much fabric to work with as you think you will.  I had to cut the heading with the grommets off and I had to cut the hem off, which reduced my yardage.  I carefully cut the lining away.  The pleated section was on the edge, so I had to cut off some plain yardage and sew it to one side of the pleats so that the pleats would actually be centered and be wide enough for my center sections. The pleats were pressed down in alternate directions, and because I used the pleated section on the front and back panels of the dress, I couldn't play around with the placement -- my main concern had to be actually getting the yardage I needed.
These pleats are much narrower than the ones given in the pattern directions for view B, but as long as you pleat your fabric before you cut it out, I'm sure you can make your pleats any size you want.  Again, I didn't do any of this because my fabric came already pleated; however, if you are interested in doing these alternate wavy pleats yourself, I found this tutorial that explains the process.

Here's a view of the back.  It's wrinkled but that is because I've worn it all day (and at least three other days now -- one was my day of flying to Tennessee.  It's a great travel dress).
This is a substantial little dress.  The cotton itself was sturdy, the panels are pleated (which adds fabric heft) and the yokes, the bottom bands and the side panels are all doubled (which further explains why I barely had enough fabric -- I had to do a little creative piecing with the side panels).
This is my first time making a Sandra Betzina pattern.  Her sizing is different, but a size C is roughly equivalent to a size 14.  Although I usually add an inch to the side seams at the waist of size 14s, it was a little confusing how to do this with this pattern, and the dress is supposed to be loose-fitting, so I cut a straight size C and hoped for the best.  I did shorten the length by two inches (I'm 5'8"); I was afraid a longer length might look too dowdy.
The most time-consuming part was cutting out the dress, and that was because I had to reconfigure the fabric and sew pieces together just to have enough.  Once I finally got everything cut out, I sewed the whole dress up in a single afternoon (except for ten minutes), which is super fast for me.  It may have been because I was working with a sturdy woven cotton, which is very cooperative.  There is also no hand sewing on this dress, no turning up of a hem, and no zippers or other closures, all of which make it faster to sew.
The construction of the dress was a little different, so I was afraid to deviate from the directions very much.  Sandra advocates finishing all the seams with a serger, but I just stitched and pinked all mine, which worked fine.  I finished the sleeve seams by sewing purchased bias tape to the edge and turning it to the inside and topstitching it down.  The final silhouette has a bit of a bell shape.  I took a little of the hip curve out (the hip curve on dresses and skirts always hits me mid-thigh, I need to make some type of fitting adjustment prior to cutting out), but I left some of the bell shape in.  It's subtle (and hard to see in these photos), but it's another fun element to the dress.

I have to say this is a very useful and comfortable addition to my wardrobe. So far I've worn it for a day of traveling on a plane and through airports, to an outdoor military ceremony, and to church.  It could go to the grocery store just as easily, and to be honest the most needed clothes in my life are things I could wear to the grocery store.  And I love that it's made out of a shower curtain!! But my favorite thing about this dress is that it goes with these shoes:
Crown Vintage Peony Wedge Sandal
I bought these (as well as a brown pair) from the online DSW clearance section with a birthday gift card from my husband:)


18 comments:

  1. You are very clever! Have you been reading Gone With the Wind? I like the pleats and the color very much and the shoes are adorable.

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  2. All I can say is WOW WOW WOW. I never wouldn't have thought . . . . a shower curtain???

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  3. What a beautiful and original dress!

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  4. You are so creative, Angela! The dress is lovely and to think you made it out of a shower curtain! Love the turquoise shoes too - there's just something about turquoise shoes! I've been thinking of you today and wishing you were next door to ask about making the tucks in a fiendish Japanese dress pattern that has eluded me at least four times before getting approximately right. I just ca't figure out the pattern markings and the instructions don't help a whole lot. Have you ever used the "Stylish Dress Book" and if so, have you ever made View E? If so, I may be calling on you!! I made a version last year and I remember getting in a pickle then. A year on and clearly I have learnt nothing! Love and a hug E xx

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  5. What a fabulous dress and great use of recycling thrift store purchase. Great.

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  6. That dress has it all: it looks gorgeous (in an easy, unfussy way) on you, it looks comfortable, it fits beautifully, it has texture, it was fun to make and it is a thrifty refashion. Wow. Love the shoes, too. Big win all the way around!

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  7. I like your pleated dress--and am glad the pleats were already there. It looks comfortable and unusual enough not to be seen everywhere.

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  8. It is great to be so creative and sew. I think the dress is wonderful and I love the shoes. Happy Birthday!!
    Blessings, Catherine

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  9. I am another fan of your dress! I just bought the pattern and seeing yours has moved mine very quickly up my sewing queue. The fit is terrific and the pleats look great. What a success!

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  10. I am totally in love with your dress...and the fact that you made this gorgeous thing from a shower curtain! You, my friend, are a sewing genius!!

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  11. What a fantastic use of a shower curtain! I love the colour combination and the pleats are such a "wow" factor. And yes, they are perfect with the shoes!

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  12. I love the texture that the pleats add to this shift dress. Such a flattering shape for you and those shoes add just the right pop of colour. So clever and creative of you to make this from a shower curtain.

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  13. I NEVER would have guessed that this dress begin life as a shower curtain. It's amazing! I love everything about it. What a cool, unique piece. Also, the whole time I was reading this post I was wondering where you got those shoes... so glad you told!

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  14. Wow! That's wonderful! A shower curtain .. seriously, dear Lady, you are so inspiring! Love the final effect of your dress, it's lovey and elegant.

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  15. That was so clever and the pleats really make it. LOVING the shoes!!! x

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  16. Just beautiful, AND inspiring!!

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  17. I can't resist from saying "who shot the drapes" just to be funny. Dress looks great, but with you modeling it anything would look beautiful!

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