I fell in love with Donna Karan's designer Vogue pattern 1361 as soon as it was released this fall. Although it is designed for two way stretch knits I knew that the Matte Hybrid fabric would have enough stretch to work with this pattern. I chose a dark navy matte hybrid and used the smooth side of the fabric. Navy is the new black! It is the perfect cocktail dress and because it does not wrinkle I took it travelling with me on my recent trip to Europe. I packed the dress with tissue paper in the sleeves and put it inside a dry cleaning bag. It arrived in Paris without a wrinkle. I wore it to a special final farewell dinner for my group held at a very grand London hotel/bar/restaurant. It was very comfortable and not at all hot to wear. I received numerous compliments, and the midnight navy blue color was very classy and perfect for the occasion.
The pattern is rated ‘Advanced' but with a few tips and techniques I think intermediate sewists would also be capable of completing this project successfully.
Please note that there is no lengthen/shorten line provided for this pattern. Plan on keeping the guide sheet and pattern close at hand as the construction techniques for this dress are different. Small circumference adjustments can be made to the fit through the vertical seams of the skirt. I used a rotary cutter and weights to cut out this garment. I basted the entire garment together by hand first to do a trial fitting and make any fitting adjustments. The shoulders were quite wide so I brought them in 5/8". The notch at the top of the sleeve does not correspond with the armhole notch. The sleeve notch needs to sit further forward. I have been in touch with Vogue and they will remedy the error on their next printing.
I omitted the lining. Instead I understitched the upper bodice and the skirt to the under layer of the skirt and bodice. To understitch I went inside the dress and opened out the facing. Using an edge stitching foot with the needle off set 3 positions to the left I stitched through the seam allowances, the facing and underlap. I couldn't stitch all the way to the corner but came within an inch of it on either side. I preferred this to topstitching the skirt into position. It gave a cleaner, neater line and looks a bit dressier.
I like the cuffs of this garment. They are constructed and finished separately. They are then attached to the garment with tacks. I understitched portions of the cuffs to help them lay flat.
Lightweight tricot knit interfacing was used in the upper collar, facings and both layers of the cuffs to prevent seam allowances from showing through. I sewed the collar and cuffs in the traditional method of right sides together with a 5/8" seam allowance rather than the raw edge finish called for in the guide sheet.
The tucks are the trickiest part of this garment. It is difficult to get them to lay properly without rippling. I finally came up with the following solution, which would work well for any knit or woven fabric. I thread traced by hand the outline of the tuck using cotton basting thread. I interfaced the tuck with bias knit interfacing which was cut 1/2" wider than the tuck, pinked along the outer edges and then fused to the garment.
I then basted the tuck together to make sure that it sat correctly without rippling.
After machine stitching the tuck I continued with the pattern instructions by pressing the tuck flat and then to one side. I am very pleased with the finished results. It is definitely a statement dress!