Friday, 17 January 2014

Looking for that LBD? Vogue 1360 ain't half bad

It's my first official make of 2014 and my latest post for Minerva!

This time around I decided to make a wardrobe staple: the little black dress. January/February is the busiest time of year for my job and I have a lot of meetings as well as our huge annual exhibition in Amsterdam. So, I needed a little number that I could both work and play in. Office in the day, cocktails at night - you know how it goes, Spoolettes!

I chose Vogue 1360 as I liked the idea of making it in a ponte/double knit. Something soft and comfortable yet with some stability and minimal crease factor.

The dress has princess seams on back and front, a godet in the front skirt, and includes concealed zipper, lining and a back facing.

Now, because I chose to make my version in solid black you'll struggle to see the details here. Also, I've been so busy with work I had no time to schedule a photo shoot with Mr S, so we're on automatic and indoors here people. Hopefully you can still see why I love this dress.

Here are the deets:

I made this dress in Minerva's Roma ponte fabric. It's a heavy weight knit in a blend of polyester, rayon and spandex. I pre-washed it as normal and allowed it to dry naturally over my clothes airer. For tips, Carolyn has a short blog post on working with ponte here.

For the pattern, I used the measurements ON THE FLAT PATTERN and not the envelope. Following those, I used a size 12 on my bust and hips tapering into a 10 at the waist. I wanted my version of this dress to fit closer than the picture on the model.

I didn't bother to make a muslin and it was fine. The only correction I made was to the hip line. I shaved off approx 1/4" each side by just sewing a new hip line. I found the original hip line was too...well hippy and made me look wider. Ain't got time for that!

It took me some time to find the best needle for the job. I suffered at the evil witchery of skipped stitches...I swear I heard them laughing at me. In the end, my pack of Organ Super Stretch needles (size 90) did the job perfectly. Later skipped stitches! My tip here is, collect needles! Whenever you're out or making an online order just keep purchasing them packs, all sorts, even if you don't need them. One day, trust me, you will!

I used a 2.8 stitch length and a tension of about 2.5. I didn't change the pressure of the feet but I did use a walking foot with a straight stitch. Insert the concealed zip was easy peasy and left a lovely finish.

Overall, sewing this dress up was pretty straightforward. There are a few pattern pieces to contend with and the tricky godet section, but they weren't as bad as I thought. The pattern cover says this is 'Easy' but I would have to disagree. I think there are some awkward parts that could confuse or get a beginner into trouble - so take your time if you're inexperienced, but do enjoy working with ponte. It's so forgiving and helpful!

The lining is made out of stretch lining, like a tricot. I've never worked with this before and I definitely need practice at it. I had to change my needle again - this time to the super stretch size 70. I still got skipped stitches, but I discovered that slightly stretching the lining really helped prevent them.

One nice feature of this dress is the back facing made out of the ponte. I really like this part as it gives the dress a lovely, professional finish along the back neckline. It's easy to insert and is attached to the lining on a curved seam. I clipped mine to encourage neater turning. It is then hand stitched to the zip tape.

The lining is attached by the neckline and lower armholes first, understitched and then the fabric and lining shoulders are finished in one continuous seam. The lining is then hand stitched to the upper armholes to finish. 

I didn't alter the hem. I found the length was perfect for me as well as being the right length to wear in a professional environment. The hem is hand stitched while the lining is machine stitched and left to hang loose (you can tack it to the seams of the dress). 

The shoulders and armholes are my favourite feature of this dress. I love the shape and angle - it gives what could be a plain LBD a bit more of a chic appeal. The dress feels super comfortable to wear and the lining gives it that extra bit of luxury.

I'll be wearing my new LBD with red lipstick, tights, black heels and statement necklaces. I also tried it on my with my new trench coat and it looks fierce! Excited to pair up that sexy combo for sure.

If you fancy making yourself a little comfy LBD, then don't forget you can buy my kit here!

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