Made by Me!

Monday, 13 March 2017

Rachel Comey - Vogue 1501 and Pattern Giveaway

A few weeks ago I was asked by Lucy at Sew Essential whether I wanted to choose a pattern and fabric of my choice from their lovely online store to make a little something for myself. Like a hyped up kid in a candy store I was very happy to accept the offer and spent the next few days perusing their site, flitting between one idea and another. I have to say it was harder to choose than I thought, you get a kind of pattern blindness after a while and I found it really hard to pin point what I should make. I don't tend to gravitate towards the designs from the big four pattern companies but I wanted to choose something out of my normal comfort zone and to use this as an opportunity to try something new.

In the end I was drawn to a couple of  interesting Vogue dress patterns which surprised me as I have always thought of Vogue patterns as potentially tricky; they present themselves both as fashion forward and stylish but there are also tonnes of quirky designs in the mix. In my mind that shouts 'its going to be a headache to sew' so I went into this with a little apprehension! The thing that swung my decision is the designer of the pattern, Rachel Comey. I have crushed on a few of her ready to wear clothes and also tried to replicate a skirt from her last summer season, and whilst looking through her site I realised the pattern I chose is actually a variation of her Klein dress, for sale on her site for over $500 and a direct copy of her Delaney dress now sold out. So game on Vogue 1501! Lets make this my own!!

Sew Essential have a tonne of beautiful fabrics. I ruminated for a while on a plain medium weight crepe fabric in gun metal grey and whilst I think it would be lovely in this colour I could feel myself wanting to move away from winter colours and embrace a little lightness in my life! Cue this amazingly vibrant John Kaldor fabric called Olivia. It has a base of brilliant royal purple and is covered in beautiful pink flowers. It is so colourful and joyful! Now I have largely avoided patterns in the last few months, trying hard to embrace a more basic, go with anything type attitude when choosing fabrics for my wardrobe but as this was for a dress and something a little special I just thought why not bring some pattern back. I am so glad I chose it.

On to the pattern and construction; Vogue 1501 is a mock tuck pleat dress, made up of a top with a loose unfitted back and a pleated lower front connected to the skirt at the very front of the waistband. The skirt has some lovely pleats at the front and darts at the back to shape and most importantly the dress has pockets. Got to love a dress with pockets! Now in my book this dress is only just a dress with a mere three inches of fabric connecting top and bottom together and actually when you wear it I think it looks more like separates. You could definitely enhance that idea by using two different fabrics on this pattern and I think that would look so nice.

It took much longer to sew this up than I thought. I would say about 4 days in all spread across about 3-4 weeks. I am not really sure why it took me this long as none of the steps felt overly difficult, however it could have been my stinking cold that scuppered my progress. Sewing when ill is never that productive! However I only used my seam ripper on this once so that's not too bad is it?! If you make this dress ust make sure you pay attention to how to secure the top to the waistband...If I am honest my machine is also showing signs of needing a service or being replaced and it has been a little temperamental throughout this project. It has made me think about getting an upgrade. I have been coveting the Janome Atelier machines on the sew essential site for a while and with a birthday coming up soon I am hoping the sewing fairies will help me buy this beautiful Atelier 5 sewing machine!!

I took each step of this pattern pretty slowly. When I took the pattern pieces off the fabric I had a tonne of tailors tacks to contend with and I didn't want to make a mistake so I took my time. The top came together nicely, I especially like the all in one facing that this dress uses as it is so clean looking inside as well as out. The dress is meant to have shoulder pads inserted and you are supposed to sew in a gusset along the sleeve line to accommodate the extra bulk. Interestingly her Klein dress, an updated RTW version of the Delaney, doesn't have this feature and I don't really think it is fitting for a modern dress. I can't look at shoulder pads without thinking Princess Diana and the eighties so I hastily omitted this feature and sewed the sleeves down straight. To be honest I did not have a clue how to sew this little bit of fabric in neatly anyway so that helped to aid my decision making.

The skirt seemed relatively simple in construction with a few pleats at the front, the central ones hiding a join in the fabric at the front of the skirt. Everything sewed together easily, it wasn't until the end I realised I had sewn the pleats the wrong way on the sides of the dress though I doubt anyone would notice. The only thing that bamboozled me somewhat was the instructions to French seam the pockets. After puzzling over this for a while I decided to just sew the pockets as I normally do and finish them with my overlocker. Originally I wanted to use French seams throughout the construction of this dress to up the quality of the finish but it wasn't to be. I only used a French seam on the top and front of the skirt and the rest was all finished with my overlocker. This was in part due to my lack of knowledge about how to do a French seam on seams where there are pockets and zips involved. I felt any attempt to do them would look messy so I opted for something that would look equally neat and professional.

It was whilst finishing the skirt that I noticed my biggest error, the pattern piece for the waistband was way too short in relation to the skirt. I still cant work out what I did wrong here, the pattern pieces were all the correct size and I had added the right amount of pleats to the skirt but however I looked at it the skirt was way too big. I rectified it by adding two more pleats and taking about 3 inches from the waist measurement. It worked well and hopefully you cannot tell I made a mistake here.

I finished off the skirt with a hand sewn waistband. The pattern suggests you sew through from the front of the skirt on the seam line to attach the facing piece down but that sounded like it had potential to look naff and go wrong so again I reverted to a tried and tested method. I also hand sewed the hem and then gave everything a good press. I was quite surprised at how well this fabric worked under a hot iron and whilst not all the pleats are as sharp as I would like I still felt this fabric allowed for definition which is important in this garment.

All in all I love this dress. Its a little different from my normal going out wear, in fact I think this would be wedding appropriate, if only I knew someone getting married!! But it is so fun, has a modern twist to it and I think it will get a lot of use. In fact I have a girlie weekend in Budapest this weekend so I think it may find itself out on the town one night! I also think a plain version in a more day to day fabric would work well for more frequent wear and this dress, as mentioned earlier, has huge potential for colour blocking. And the good news if you fancy trying this pattern out check out my Instagram @sewing_beautifully in the next week for a pattern giveaway all thanks to Sew Essential. Unfortunatley  the giveaway is only open to UK residents though.

Thanks again to Sew Essential and the lovely Lucy for the fabric and dress pattern used for this post.


  1. Yay Spring! Gorgeous fabric, and a great dress!

    1. Thanks Jessica. I know so happy it's warmer now. This fabric totally got me in the mood for sewing up some more spring/ summery dresses. Lovely fabric isn't it? I just can't get enough of the colour. If you fancy nabbing the pattern for this dress check out my instagram later this week.

    2. Thanks, but I'm in Canada....funny how by the end of winter I am SO sick of my black and grey clothes, but I have to take baby steps into bright clothes. I'll be inspired by you and will go brighter and bolder with my next project!

  2. Beautiful dress. You look beautiful in it. Thanks very much for the inspiration. For some time, I was looking for something like that! Thanks for the inspiration and I look forward to more amazing work!


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