Superstyle me!



1 v1285 cover pattern envelopeWhat kind of a beast* is this?  No, not him – I mean the dress I’m wearing.

Django can be unpredictable (which is why I look a bit wary here).  Once with his claws he accidentally shredded a dress I was wearing.  But this dress is safe.  The denim’s pretty thick.  In fact the dress holds me up when I sit in it.

1-creaseThis pattern, V1285, was a gift from Lesley, a kind of reciprocal pattern exchange we tried.  She’d told me she was going to send me a pattern from her stash that she thought would suit me and when it arrived I was delighted.  I had an immediate vision of the dress I’d make and went straight to trouble, firstly buying this kind of dark blue-grey stretch denim with a surface sheen redolent of what some of you might call “market jeans”….   (I really believed stretch denim would work as well as the recommended “two-way stretch knits only:” Rayon, Spandex, Cotton Spandex….  )Then I did weird stuff, topstitching everything…  No way was I going to  tolerate those perverse ‘external darts’.  I was like Harrison Ford’s character in Mosquito Coast,  blinded by a ruthless determination… I was so driven to recreate the look of a heartbreakingly expensive Hobbs dress I’d seen years ago, it took me right to the end to admit I was painstakingly recreating the kind of look you get on …. market jeans.  Luckily the tension on home-made topstitching it pretty rubbish so all that expensive topstitching thread is really easy to unpick.  The dress now looks darker and subtler, but those flapping darts are not served well by long periods of sitting down.


Target: Hobbs NW3 Denim Dress


Capture: market denim topstitch thang




But the worst part was the mistake in the instructions on what is my favourite part of this pattern, the notched neckline band (step 6).  I’m struggling to understand why no review pointed this out….

This is a close up of the notch, on the right side and inside:

The right side looks fine, the inside is a bit unattractive.  But that’s my second bodice.  If you follow the instructions which suggest you attach the neck band to the inside first, you’ll end up with the mess on the right side of the garment.  Really Vogue?  That is perverse.

I think my finished dress looks better off than on.  The A-line skirt is not flattering to my short shape but the notched neckline is fabulous and it’s a good transition garment (to autumn), with lots of coverage if made in a warm fabric.  There’s the option of making a slip and camisole too which I may attempt if I make this again (I’m on the lookout for some shimmering stretch velvet).

How to style it though?  It’s not good enough to stand alone.

A one-inch wide Belt in tan, the same colour as Django?

Or an Animal-print belt?

Tights and heels?  And maybe a silk scarf.

A more colourful vest underneath (something has to be worn underneath as the neckline is low cut and stands out rigidly?)

It seems neither smart enough for an office, nor soft enough for a fun day out!   In what setting does this belong?  A charity shop?!1 vogue 1285 pattern envelope

Should I just remake it, next time avoiding the self-inflicted wounds of attempt no. 1.?

Please advise.

* The number of the beast: V1285 (pattern envelope description) ‘Lined, mock wrap dress has collar, close-fitting bodice with bands, hook and eye, fitted skirt, overlay with mock band, belt loops, sleeve bands and invisible left side zipper. Darts are stitched on the right side of fabric. Lining forms attached slip with shoulder and lingerie straps.  Purchased belt.)1-django-the-pup

20 thoughts on “Superstyle me!

  1. LjhjljSdhfljsAha, you did it! I love this on you, despite ya market denim. The original woollen knit on the pattern envelope allows the fabric to sit closer to the body, which I guess would mimic a pencil skirt a little more? I really like this as a first try(!!) and could totally see it with a stripey camisole beneath, hinting at more exciting things! Love that notched lapel, but I’m not sure what’s wrong with the instructions? Surely whether you do right side first or wrong side first the only difference is the accuracy of the topstitching to secure?
    Oh do give it another go in a something a bit drapier, I think its very you 😉

    • I love the striped cami idea: I knew I’d get good ideas from you people! Thanks 🙂

      I don’t think there’s a clean finish way of making the neckband if you follow the instructions but I’ll try and be more clever next time because it’s quite likely that the problem is with me. I did do it twice though.

  2. I too think it looks really good on you and think if nothing else, you should remake it in a fabric with more drape. The neckline is so fantastic.

    I think in a softer fabric the A line will be less pronounced. If you have it in you, you could try to take the skirt in at the side seams on this one??

  3. I love the bodice but agree the skirt isn’t quite the right shape on you. Can you try slimming it down a little?

    All your styling options sound good. I think it’s a day out with your girl friends sort of dress. Sometimes you want to be a little smarter than usual without being too smart.

  4. Youve got a really good fit and the pattern is very lovely but I’m always wary when someone says they need to put a camisole under something to make it wearable, so if you’re like me you might end up donating it, but I would be making it again in a heartbeat. I thought chambray but you need stretch, but drapey too. Maybe make it in the Spring now, but the pattern is a keeper.

  5. Having done lots of research on denim fabric recently as I’ve treated myself to an online workshop for a shirt/shirt dress – I know, I know, but if I’ve paid for it it’ll make me slow down and be pernickety and maybe learn a couple of new skills etc. Anyway, I was very tempted by the range by Robert Kaufman – lovely chambray (as suggested by thesewingmiserabilist) and some with stretch. Here’s a link to the range – sorry it’s a U.S. one but you can get it in the U.K. No market denim there!
    Otherwise, I’d go for a knit to get that lovely neckline laying right.
    I am 5’3″ (just) and have an A line denim skirt on today – I stood on a stool just now to look in the mirror and pulled the side seams in from the back and, like magic, I looked taller and slimmer. It’s comfy for mooching around in at home though.
    (That is a gorgeous beast btw – is he a Hungarian Vizsla?)

  6. This pattern does look perfect for you but I think you should stick with the recommended knit. It would be stunning. Love the market jeans description!

  7. Denim! I love the idea, but I can see why you are disappointed. Not by the dress itself, which I think you are too hard on, but your expectations. You seem to be confused on whether this is a casual or formal dress, since the interesting neckline hints of blazers and high heels and the denim behaviour and colour pulls towards cowboy boots and a bandana scarf. I always get stuck with denim dresses, even rtw ones. I really don’t think what has let you down here is the execution or fabric choice as such, but that it is really difficult to style a denim dress!

    I think that to make it more formal you can shave the A-line shape into a more figure hugging pencil skirt, which should be feasible? Also, office wear can change a lot from place to place, in some offices this will be even too stylish.

    Otherwise I would say go for the accessories! I like the idea of the belt. Tan to go country or red to go va-voom. I love the neckline and wouldn’t cover it with a scarf, but yes to a more cheerful top underneath. Looking forward to see the styling options in action!

  8. I’m seconding Giorgia on this. Denim wears very well, but it’s got that ‘stiff as suiting, casual as a picnic’ contrast thing going on. I do have some really sharp denim twill suit jackets from the 80s, but they’re Miyakes and not very denim looking. It is a damn handsome dress though.
    Crappy finishing in the Vogue designer patterns is sadly nothing new. I’ve finished up an old Miyake top from 1984 that has a attached sash for a cowl, and no facing on the back neck where it is sewn. Everything else is finished except for this one raw edge sawing on the back of my neck.

    • Thanks so much Stephanie. I’d love to see the Miyakes… I have nothing from the 80s; I just wore goth tents!
      I love your comment in the quotes; another educate, entertain gem from Ernie K!

  9. I truly think this style of dress will suit you Marianna. Don’t give up. Chose a soft denim tending more towards chambray perhaps.
    You’re always super stylish anyway, no matter what you wear.

  10. I’m with the herd. The dress is is a good’un but maybe a softer (but not too soft) fabric. I hope you try it again.
    The Management wants to know what sort of dog Django is. He wasn’t satisfied with big.

    • Tell the Management he’s a big, scary dog. What makes him scary is that he doesn’t like food or eating all that much (who, I ask you, doesn’t like food?!?) and he’s always on the move. He’s therefore a bit thin and my poor friend sometimes gets told off by complete strangers for not feeding him. The Hungarian Viszlas have very thin coats. They’re very sleek and that lovely ginger/tan colour.

  11. Hmm. I am suprised by this post. Never expected you to have a big scary dog!! But his chestnut pelt looks mighty fine next to denim.

    I agree the pattern is really a nice one, despite its flaws. I don’t know what the ideal fabric is, but when I first saw it I thought it might be chamois leather. Which would be amazing on you! I think it needs to be a bit clingy and your fabric is a bit stiff. I love the external darts and the neckline and the fake wrap – please try again. I think you have a fairly straight figure so a waisted A line might not be your very best look.

  12. I think it is rather casually elegant and you look lovely as always! But if you don’t like it all that much, do not remake it, I would say. Life is just too short. So many sews. so little time….

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