Vogue 8813 Marcy Tilton vintage house dress


Before sewing this very popular pattern, Vogue 8813, I did a bit of research on its designer, Marcy Tilton, and her vision for the design. Marcy has a very entertaining and educational website, blog, and newsletter. In her  newsletter of May 2012, she describes a suggestion from a colleague that she design a dress with “…the flavor of a little French vintage house dress…”.  And this pattern is a result of that conversation.

I’ve seen it done many times in a knit fabric, but I really prefer cotton – so much cooler here in south Florida. And I wanted to have some fun with my interpretation. So what would a little French vintage house dress look like? In my closet, ankle length and print fabric!

My main fabric is by Alexander Henry, from the Vie en Rose collection, which is based on Matisse’s muses. The inset is also from this collection, done in Amelie Rose in sage. Both are 100% cotton from Hancocks of Paducah. I have noticed, though, that the Vie en Rose prints are increasing difficult to find, even described as retro! I bought the fabric several years ago.
The hemline drop at the sides as seen on the envelope are not at all evident in the woven version, perhaps because of the lack of stretch in the fabric. While I added 13″ to the pattern, I did not alter the hemline. 
Alterations I did make:
The pattern calls for turning the v-neckline seam allowance in twice to make a narrow hem. I am seldom in favor of this finishing approach – particularly at the neckline which is the focus of attention of most garments! I drafted a facing (2 pieces before stitching) for the back and front neckline. I simply serged the edges before turning.
 That done, I turned my attention to the shirring on the front inset, again a focus element of the pattern. Marcy actually makes a bit of a fuss over this piece, including providing a YouTube tutorial (forgive pls if this link goes away) on how to stitch and iron. Her approach to the shirring is to zigzag over a string of perle cotton fastened at each side of the bodice.

 The string is then pulled to gather, adjustments are made, and 2 additional lines of straight stitching are applied, one on each side of the zigzag stitching. hmmm I went ahead and did this, because I wanted to follow the pattern instructions and to be able to provide a fair review to my friends. So – here is the result of the suggested approach. I really do not like it! It simply does not have the finish that I want for my garments. Call me a snob!

I unpicked the above and redid the shirring my preferred way:
  • Prepared the inset shirring before insertion in the sewn bodice front/back.
  • Hand-basted slightly above the 3 shirring lines using 1/8″ stitches and a doubled colored  thread.
  • Pin-fitted the inset in the dress and adjusted the shirring gathers to fit.
  • Unpinned and stitched the shirring using 1/4″ twill tape to secure.
  • Removed the basted gathering stitches.

 So much nicer. And this finish is not going to give, swing, or sway, not matter the fabric! I can just about bet that the front inset on a knit is going to drop if one is not careful with this detail…

It’s a house dress after all. So here are some pics inside the house.

I have been so unsure of my feelings about this dress! It has been hanging in my view for over a week. Just yesterday I finally took the photos. Today I wore it out for the first time – and enjoyed wearing it. I felt so …je ne sais quoi!  
A bientot! Coco

27 thoughts on “Vogue 8813 Marcy Tilton vintage house dress

  1. I found your blog through pattern review and I'm making this dress for a friend. Scrolling through the other reviews I was getting a little nervous, but I LOVE your version! I'm pinning this for the tips when I actually sew it! Beautiful!


  2. I found your blog through pattern review and I'm making this dress for a friend. Scrolling through the other reviews I was getting a little nervous, but I LOVE your version! I'm pinning this for the tips when I actually sew it! Beautiful!


  3. Hi Ruth! and right back at you, I just finished reading your blog thru July, so enjoyed it and your sewing. Love your V1247 denim scrap skirt – I'm going to do it long as well, yours is so interesting, must be fun to wear! Thinking of you this morning, ripper in hand…


  4. Ohhh just found you! I love your style and your methods of sewing and finishing. I am at the shirring part of this dress and totally agree with you – I followed the instructions too but this morning I'm ripping out and doing it by hand with tape behind. Thank you.


  5. Terri, thank you so much. I have been following you and your journey since I found you a few months ago, bad foot!, and hope for your continued recovery. I grew up in Charlotte! and love the Asheville area.


  6. Coco, you have inspired me with your stylish mix of fabrics and interpretation of this dress. I would never have thought to lenthen it to a maxi but the length balances out the fullness. And I love your blog.


  7. I really like your dress and the fabric combination you used. I paused when I saw this pattern thinking, “How would I make this?” Unsure, I passed it over, but I love what you have done with it. I may have to reconsider! Thanks for stopping by my blog to leave a comment. That is how I found you, and I am so glad I did!


  8. Thank you so much, Andrea! Now I am getting very attached to this little frock! So glad you found my blog, hope you enjoy, I love having company 🙂


  9. Thank you! I wore it again today, I think it has adopted me. Actually I am very attached to it, the fabric has a story behind it based on 4 trips my daughter and I took to Paris together over the last twelve years, our love of the city and people, the art and culture…not to mention Fragonard soaps and perfume! Such wonderful memories. I just got so frustrated that the sewing journey was not equally perfect and lavender scented!


  10. Merci bien! What nice words, Mary, very appreciated. I love doing my blog and thinking of my blog friends as I write. So much gets shared with me, it's a joy to share back.


  11. Tres charmant! I literally was just sitting looking at the pattern pieces of this pattern trying to figure out what I would do with it, and then you appeared on pattern review. I am in love with your artistic vision, and then combined with your excellent explanation of how you handled sewing techniques je suis cracque. If I had a blog, I would want it to be like yours. Thank you.


  12. I do have to say, I'm also glad to have found your blog and your review of this is very thorough. I've been looking for dresses for myself to wear in the summers here in Wa, and I think I have to try this one. And yes, I prefer your way of shirring, Thank you for sharing.


Thank you for stopping by! comments are welcome and appreciated - Coco

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