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


Some say that a couple of hours is all it takes to make the Sewaholic Renfrew top, but after buying a first edition of the pattern which unbeknownst to me contained a mistake, I nearly met my nemesis! 

The error applies to View C, the Cowl neck version, which I combined with the full-length sleeves of View A.  It looks like this: 

The correction is in red.  Initially, I followed instinct and sewed the pieces right sides together.  Realizing that what I’d done didn’t match the text, I sliced off the offending seam and stitched as instructed 🙄  The result – no matter in which direction I turned it – didn’t so much resemble a cowl as a Möbius strip…. Luckily I had my family around me, so could freely vent my frustration on them (I think one innocent brought up the topic of it being “lunch”, poor lamb…).  When I turned to Google, hoping, with a remaining iota of self-esteem, that the fault may not be with my uselessness but with the instructions, I uncovered a trail of  warnings (like this one) and found this link to Sewaholic’s Errata page.  “We do our best to make our patterns error-free,” it says, though I wonder why not supply distributors with erratum slips which could be inserted inside pattern envelopes with relative ease (surely?).

The Fit

Very good!  I made size 6 (I’m a UK 12) and the top fits very well over skinny jeans or leggings.  To wear over rugged jeans and with belts, I’d need to grade a size up from the waist down.  The cowl is teacher-friendly in that it won’t compromise your modesty when bending over desks!


Before adding the cuffs and waistband, I tried the top on and thought the hem and the sleeves were an ideal length.  I was tempted to turn under and sew but doubted I’d be able to finish off professionally.  In the end, I shortened the cuffs and waistband by 1.5cm (i.e. I took off 3cm from each pattern piece).  Had I not, I might have ended up with a boy’s pyjamas look.  Tip: If you’re on the short side and comfortable hemming jersey on your machine, cut the waistband and the cuffs only once you know you’ll use them.

 The Fabric

Lovely, warm and rather heavy jersey from A1 Fabrics in Goldhawk Road, W12.  In picking a striped fabric, I’d made life a bit more difficult for two reasons.  Firstly, the obvious stripe matching.  It worked out ok, though not perfect.  Evidence:

The other downside of striped jersey is that the recommended zigzag stitch shows up on the right side in places where the thread doesn’t match the fabric.  Exhibit:

When I realized this was gonna be ugly (- think Frankenstein -) I bypassed all the zigzags with a straight stitch.



I really like my top: it’s warm, practical and quite good looking though it wouldn’t have passed the RTW test: I mean that if I saw it in the shop for the price of the pattern (£12) plus fabric (1.5m at £4.50), I wouldn’t have bought it.  Buy this pattern to make more than once.  Find your fit and make it again and again, combining the variations in the neckline and sleeve length, or like I intend to, making own design changes.  I’m sure that next time, it will only take 2 hours!