Monday, May 28, 2012

Altering 1250

Everybody in the WORLD has made the Vogue 1250 Donna Karan Dress.  At last count, there were 86 reviews of the dress up on

Everybody but me.

See, I have looked at that red silk-jersey looking envelope cover photo, and a goodly number of the photos posted on PR and sort of concluded that this is a dress for slimish young things, at least as drafted. It has very little ease through the hips (although that does greatly depend on the stretch of the fabric), it has a rather revealing drapey cowl.  It doesn't have pockets.

So, well, I decided it wasn't for me.

But I bought it anyway during a sale.  Lemming traits manifesting, perhaps.

It ought to be a good investment, no?  Years later, when it's out of print and this style comes back around, it should be one of those golden goodies.

Um, yeah.  Whatever.

Then, earlier this year, I bought a piece of fabric online  that turned out to be a border print.  I don't know if that was missing from the description or if I just overlooked it, but I have this uber stretchy, uber drapey rayon jersey LOUD border print.

And the only pattern it will agree to play nice with is Vogue 1250.
 So I have spent hours today overhauling the pattern.  I'm sure I've spent more time slashing, pivoting, spreading and taping than it will take me to cut out and construct the dress.

I began by tracing the size 14 dress, using the size 6 lines through the shoulders and neckline (I have absurdly narrow shoulders).  Then I

1) did a 3/8" square shoulder adjustment

2) Shortened the cowl.  Hopefully that will raise the bottom of the v just a bit. (There is a line on the alterd up pattern's self-facing that represents an almost boo-boo...almost cut that off to shorten the cowl before I realized that, duh, that's the FACING and I need that!) To do that I
      -- cut off the self facing and set it aside.
      -- slashed from the new neck edge over to the circle on the sideseam (the armhole match point) in         two different places
      -- clipped from the armhole edge to the circle to create teeny paper hinges.
      -- Overlapped each of the slashes 1" at the neck edge and taped it all down.
      -- Put a piece of paper behind the now zig-zaggy edge, to fill in the gaps
      --  Taped  the facing back on the neck edge, matching at the shoulder seam point.
      --  Cut off the excess facing at the center front and redrew the 'place on fold' line.
(In a nutshell:  I shortened the front neckline edge by pivoting the shoulder back towards the front)

3)  I added length to the facing as recommended by about a bazillion previous reviewers over at PR.

4) Added a Full Bust Adjustment, pivoting the dart up into a second pleat at the shoulder.  I think I remember that Debbie Cook did that; I also added about 3/8" to the bodice sideseams

Flat pattern measuring indicated I was still going to be short on ease in the hips and tummy area, so

5) I copied Kay Y and split the skirt along what would be the side seam, if there had been a sideseam, added about an inch and a half, blending to the already adjust front bodice side seam, then taped it down and  redrew the dart, using the original pattern as a template.

After I had the front/skirt altered, then I started to work on the back.

6) Also copying Kay, I added a little wedge to the bottom of the armsceye in the back, to give it more of a straight bottom, hopefully high enough that I won't worry about flashing bra bands.

7) Added to the bottom edge of the back bodice so that it matched the adjusted back skirt.

Now, the proof will be in the sewing.  I'm rather guessing that I haven't over-eased the amount of stretch in the fabric; but the fabric was on sale and I only got a little bit, so if it ends up not fitting me it should fit someone.

I'm just hoping I don't end up with unfortunate print placement.  Since I only got a little, I don't have a lot of leeway in putting the pattern down.  We'll see. ;-)

POSTSCRIPT: Later that day...turns out there is NOT enough fabric for the Vogue 1250.  So my loud border print is just going to have to accept that it MUST be something else. I'm going to have to send it to The Stash and let it contemplate that for a while...


  1. Your take on this pattern is interesting to me because I'm a bit thicker than you and have made this five times. Although, I have cut my pattern pieces up so that I've got side seams now and added a deeper cowl neckline ala Kay (Sewing Lawyer), I do believe that this pattern can work for many different sizes.

    1. Oh, I didn't mean that it *wouldn't* work for non-slenderish folks; I just knew that it was gonna take some slicin' and dicin' to get it to work for me...I kept hoping I'd lose some weight so it would fit without fussing. I really think it's drafted for a small cup flat tummied lady...and that ain't me. You and Debbie Cook have both worked with the pattern and gotten good results, but you worked with it. There are others whose body types are similar to mine who maintained they made it with no alterations and, well, I'm just going to say they have a different fit standard than I do. Different strokes and all that. It didn't have pockets, so I wasn't sure I'd wear it enough to work it over.

      Now that I *have* 'worked it over', though, I'm gonna look for something to sew it up. I'm curious as to whether the alterations I did really would work.

  2. Hahaha - Lisa I love your comment about "sending it to the stash"! Putting fabric in "timeout" is a great idea. I haven't made too many cowl necklines, but have been contemplating making a few soon. Thanks for the inspiration!!