Saturday, August 27, 2016

Vogue 9108 - now that's a project...

Oh, let's open with a picture of the only crepe paper flower I've managed to make this summer. It's so pretty!

And on to one of the most interesting projects I've undertaken lately - Marcy Tilton's French Apron Dress. I bought the pattern when it came out and have kind of ignored it ever since - because I knew in my heart that any attempt would require a lot of tweaking and fitting.

So right. I've put about 20 hours into this, it's finished, and I mean it's finished!! But it has some good parts. As we go forward, please know that this is a muslin. I used scrap fabrics (but all are poly ITY jersey), and tried to keep the color and print palette within reason.

The front. Great inserts and pockets.

The drafting on this is really nice, better, IMHO, than on Tilton's French House Dress (my version here, and another use of the over-sized drooped pocket).  I think the pockets are fun, and they drape really nicely in the ITY knit. Also, the upper front insert (dots fabric) is very believable, not cutesy.

I was a little concerned about how well the upper front would support the weight of the attached middle front (striped fabric). I didn't want a big dip! So I stabilized it with a strip of knit fusible. In fact, I did the same for many areas that might otherwise sag: top edges of pocket pieces, necklines, and the pivot corner that supports the pocket and middle front.

I also underlined the upper front and upper back to add stability. Not wanting to add weight, I used a very light burnout jersey. An added benefit - it has only 2-way stretch (horizontal), which counteracts the 4-way stretch of the dotted ITY.

The back - way easier than the front!

I love the placement of the upper back insert - it's very graceful.

A few sewing notes:
  • I sewed the size Large, but should have used the Medium. I bought the pattern before my breast surgery last year, and I'm lots smaller now - went from a C cup to an A. The pattern sizing is XS-M and L-XXL - I had to pick one. 
  • The pattern has a shoulder tab, from which the front and back are suspended. It's kind of like an epaulet, and I left it off completely. Thank you, Fabric Princess, for this idea, which lifts the armhole and makes it work for a sleeveless dress.
  • It also has huge facings for the armholes and back neckline. Not. I just used binding on the neckline and armholes. 
  • Sort of true to the 'apron' name, the front and back middle pieces are pleated into the upper pieces. A totally lost design element. I just gathered mine.
  • This dress is crazy voluminous below the waistline. I removed quite a bit from the lower back side seam:
  • My view of the multi-piece/contrast lower front is that it's just too much going on...I drafted it as one piece.
  • I also evened out the back hem, so it doesn't look like a mistake.
  • I made my dress to be midi-length, because I wanted to be able to play around with it. I'm not fond of my midi length, but a maxi might look good. In fact, I  like the look on the envelope, with leggings and a tee (both patterns are included, a nice touch). It would be cute with high-shaft boots, a turtleneck, a scarf. But this is Florida!!
OK, one pic on me...

I'll probably leverage this project and borrow my favorite elements for a tunic to wear over leggings this winter. Eventually. It really was fun to sew - the fabric and seam management were challenging, and it sure kept me out of trouble.

Ciao! Coco


  1. Thanks for such a useful post,Coco. And for the record the dress looks great!

  2. Thanks so much for the details of this project. I will definitely refer to your helpful hints. And it looks quite chic on you, not cutesy at all.

  3. I like this dress on you! I appreciate the in depth review of the pattern changes.

  4. Well, very nice make of this! I must admit, I'm just not a Tilton fan. I made the french house dress, it was cute, the pockets kind of silly , they catch on everything and I find the sizing just plain strange. This one works beautifully for you though. I like the fabric combo!

  5. Love the combination of fabrics and looks perfect on you!

  6. This is a "muslin" ??!! Too cool to be a muslin.

  7. Wow, that's lovely. I think that you are right about fabric choice - and you have definitely made sure that you have stayed away from the cutesy. It looks great, and even more so as a muslin!

  8. I too bought this pattern ages ago and have sort of ignored it. I'm glad you rediscovered yours and showed us what it looks like and the changes you made, which I think make the dress better. Never a muslin Coco, a very wearable garment.

  9. I love your version of this pattern. This dress looks great on you! I like your ITY knit combinations and they worked well together.

  10. A very good muslin indeed! Enjoyed reading this post (and all your posts) because you let us know all you did to get the results you do. Like this very much.

  11. I think this is a super dress with some lovely design features. It looks great on.

  12. You have been sewing alot of cool pieces lately and they all look great on you.

  13. You did a great job combining fabrics, the dress turned out really cute with a designer look. And I love your dolls. :)

  14. I like to make paper flowers. It has come out good. Your hands have done magic and the output is a good design dress.

  15. Love this dress on you! You did a fantastic job!

  16. Your make looks great on you. I've this pattern too, but never made it. I like the changes you've made, especially the strap removal! And such a great combination of fabric colors and prints. I think you've inspired me to give it a go, Coco.

  17. Coco, this is really cute! I could image it was challenging putting those pieces together...almost like a puzzle! The end result is so worth the effort though!

  18. Wow - I'm overwhelmed by all the nice comments! Thank you all so much :-)

  19. I really like your interpretation of this pattern. I am getting ready to start my own and you have given me permission to stray from the design. Thanks! Your version is awesome and I like it far better than the original. That long column of print in the back has really got me thinking........


I love it that you came by...and thank you for your comments! Coco