Vogue 8577 Retro Shirtdress – finished!



And I really like it. This dress has certainly kept me occupied for the last week or so. I did a bunch of modifications, lots of  fitting, and a prodigious amount of ripping! A look at the original design:


I changed the sleeves to be elbow length, and the skirt to an A-line instead of a very full circle. The latter was the biggest change, since I used the skirt from Vogue 9168, and as I discussed in my first post on this dress, I even changed that.  But it’s still very swishy.  I love the way it fits closely through the hips and then blooms.


One of my biggest concerns in laying out this print was the placement of the large white element. I didn’t want it centered over my bum or the girls.


I was also concerned about losing the design basics to the print. The dress has three pieces – bodice, middle band, and skirt – and matching things up would have disguised all those lovely elements. I did the layout in single layers so I could see where things were going, and it took forever. Honestly, this was my least favorite part of this project. I wanted to sew!


Just a few notes:

  • I started with a size 14, and was happy with the fit as a starting place.
  • All the pattern pieces are laid out on the bias in the instructions. However, I cut the bodice pieces on the straight grain – only my skirt is cut on the bias.
  • This dress ended up with 15 buttons! My buttonhole plan:

I-v8577 swap

  • I also practiced the buttonholes on a swatch that was cut, faced and interfaced exactly like the dress – I didn’t want them to skew or stretch on the bias fabric. The pattern calls for horizontal buttonholes, but I don’t like the way buttons slide in horizontal buttonholes. So mine are vertical.
  • Hemming this took a lot of time and patience! I let it hang on Emile for 24 hours, then put it on to mark it. Oh my gosh, what a pain to do alone. That bias…I took up 2 5/8″ at the center front, 2″ at center back, and about 3/4″ at the side seams. But since I have a dropped right shoulder, nothing was symmetrical. Best thing – it’s done!
  • I love the fabric, which is a 5.5 oz linen/rayon blend from Fabric Mart. It has just enough weight and weave to handle the bias cuts and hang nicely without a lining. The suggested fabrics are gingham, washed silk and lightweight linen. I would never, ever, do this in light silk or charmeuse…



When I first started this project, I did quite a bit of reading about sewing bias-cut fabrics. Some nice links:

Next up – I’m going to sew Vogue 9168 as soon as my fabric arrives. I’m in the mood!

Bye for now – Coco


Vogue 8577 – Sewing the retro shirtdress

large bodice
Fabric: linen/rayon blend, 5.5 oz, from Fabric Mart

What a project – I’m four days in and just finished the upper bodice. This has been so much fun, and a challenge on many levels. So much so that I’m thinking that 2 posts will be better than one loong one, and I know that not everyone wants to read the sewing details 🙂

This is an interesting pattern – it has a definitive retro vibe, even though it was released in 2009, and it’s just full of surprises…


I worked on the pattern for 3 days before I cut my fabric. Most of this time was spent on the skirt. Even though the pattern calls for only 3 yards/60″ fabric in my size, it has a huge, voluminous, more-than-a-circle skirt. Many reviewers of the pattern mentioned how heavy the dress is once it’s lined. I think it could be heavy unlined! And when I laid out the pattern pieces, I totally disliked the skirt -the pocket, the volume, the back-gather overkill, the whole thing.

V9168 line artSo I pulled out the skirt from Vogue 9168. It has the same lines, it’s also cut on the bias, and it’s ‘calm’, not fussy.

Even better, it’s a maxi length, so I don’t have to add 11″ at the hem (V8577 is midi-length at it’s longest, and shorter than a midi on me at 5’7″).

I haven’t sewn V9168 yet, so I put a lot of work into the adaptation.

The V9168 skirt is shy of being a full circle, but I took down the volume a little more. My small change actually removes about 10″ from the width at my hip, from 62″ to 52″:


This and the original skirt are both cut on the bias. Long bias seams can be tricky stuff, so I used the layout directions from V9168 (flipping of the pattern is really important, more below)…

Skirt layout

Yes! I got my edges right. I.e., the side seam comes together with opposing vertical grainlines:

Opposing grainlines in bias seam

Note: if bias boggles you, here’s a great link to Bias 101 by Marcy Tilton, Threads magazine.

On to the bodice. No lining! It’s too hot here. I can’t wear linen against my neck, waist, etc., so a simple binding around the neck was out. Instead, I drafted facings for the front neckline and lined the back yoke. To prevent bloom show-through, I used white cotton/poly broadcloth for my innards.

inside bodice front

Small irritant: the pattern uses the same armscye for both the sleeveless and sleeved version. Crazy. I trimmed and reshaped the armscye quite a bit, taking away from the shoulder and putting a little more curve in the front and back. I had to wait until the bodice was sewn together to make these changes, even though the need for them was apparent from the beginning.

inside bodice back

I’m getting jazzed now, and have the waistband ready for attachment this morning.


Bye for now! Coco

Vogue 9224 – done and different…



Yes, I’m on a sewing roll. It’s because I’m feeling well, and life is quiet right now 🙂

I’ve been looking at handkerchief hem tunics for a while, and kept going back to Sandra Betzina’s Vogue 1477. Ruth’s versions at CoreCouture are beautiful, fun, and inspiring. But I’ve already failed with two similar garments and was doubtful about this one. Still, I had to have it. Bought it, checked out the pattern pieces for the twist front, and put it away.

Vogue 1477 Line Art

More looking, and I found Vogue 9224. It’s described as a handkerchief hem tunic, but everything else requires some creative thinking. The envelope pics don’t seem to match one another, no measurements are provided for the finished garment, and I couldn’t find a single review of the pattern on the web. Perfect!

Vogue 9224

But it really does have that hem!


Pretty cute. And very long – the center back on the pattern piece comes in at over 35″.



Sewing notes:

  • I used a lightweight (5.9 oz) rayon/lycra jersey from Fabric Mart, with the recommended 2-way stretch (60%/40%).
  • I love the color, which is described as deep grape.
  • I sewed a straight size Medium, and I did not lengthen it!
  • To break up the sea of fabric in the front, I drafted a v-neck. I based it on View C, which has a cowl neck and gave me a good starting place. If I sew this again, I might raise the CF a bit more. That cowl neck must be very low…
  • And I finished the neckline with self-fabric binding instead of a neck band.
  • Caution: I used over 3 yards of 59″ wide fabric, versus the 2 3/8 yards indicated on the pattern. Perhaps because I laid out all the pattern pieces in one direction. I also had to work around some flaws in the fabric. This is another pre-cut (Craftsy has them as well), and I’ve found color variations in the solid rayon/lycra knits. Still, I picked it up for $6.40 total for 4 yards. Not bad and a great option for a muslin.


Once again I’ve styled this with white leggings, so that the details are easier to see. But I did take a couple pics with dark grey bottoms – I like the combo.



This was an easy project and a fun foray into this hemline.

Bye for now! Coco

Valentines dress and a peek…


There’s just something irresistible about Valentines Day…

Every year I’m inspired to make something pink or red, definitely a bit flirty. In January I found this Fiesta Fabrics Petunia Garden rayon/spandex jersey knit at Fabric Mart and fell in love. It’s sold out on Fabric Mart, but Craftsy has it in stock in two colorways. It’s a nice weight for a dress at 8.8 oz and 60% x 60% stretch.

I used ‘my’ version of V1297, a cute dress by Sandra Betzina. The difference between hers and mine is that I did away with the piecing in the front and back. Such a quick sew!


Of course I wore it on Valentines Day – and got compliments!

Here’s a peek at my current project, Vogue 9224, a long tunic with handkerchief hems.

In these two pics, I’m wearing it inside out, the hems are unfinished, and the exposure is lightened so I can see the details better. I find it really helpful to stop and take a couple pics to get an idea of where a new pattern is going…


I’m liking it!!


I’m pumped to finish it today and get some nice photos so I can share.

Bye for now! Coco

Bits, bobs, and busts…


A little catch-up on things I’ve been making, but haven’t blogged. Some are repeats and some are just the normal flow of muslins and messes!

The first one, above, is a second version of Vogue 1297, the Sandra Betzina Lagenlook knit dress (first one here). I love this. The fabric is from Girl Charlee – it’s a lightweight (7 oz) cotton/rayon/lycra blend. And it has all my favorite places to visit! The ladies at JoAnn’s were very complimentary and put my ‘business card’ on their bulletin board. I was so surprised – that really felt good.

Another repeat, this time of the StyleArc Toni Designer Dress. As with my first version, I used rayon crepe from Fabric Mart. The only change is a slight extension of the sleeve, to hide a bit more of my ancient upper arms… Great pattern.


Turning to follow-ups on recent adventures, the Weird Science pants (Vogue 1453) really did make nice PJ bottoms, once I removed the ankle pleats. I added a topper based on the Wiksten tank. Both are in a very lightweight rayon/spandex French terry from Fabric.com – perfect for cool weather.


I continued to work on my Lagenlook cardigan, my attempt to copy McCalls 6168. Here’s my first version…


And I think I ruined it! I raised the center front and back a couple inches, which deepened the side detail. But I like my original much better, and plan to make another in ponte di roma (have you seen the beautiful and affordable new pontes at Cali Fabrics?).


Not everything is a repeat. I also tried out a new pattern, the Frankie Dress from Tessuti Fabrics. It looks so cute in their version – fresh and easy to wear. It’s also very similar to about 4 other patterns I already have, but it’s fun to sew something new. This time I knew I would get a hand-drawn pattern, because it’s my 3rd Tessuti acquisition. Yes, the clumsy line art below is a precursor of the pattern.


I used a grey and brown cotton/rayon/poly jersey from Girl Charlee, a nice weight at 7 oz. I don’t like the color combo very much, so it was a good choice for a muslin. The only change I made (kind of major, really) was redraft the entire bodice and sleeve using a pattern that fits me well. Tessuti’s armscyes are small, and the sleeves are narrow. And I don’t care for the high boat neck in the pattern. So I guess I used the skirt!

Scary pic follows. Well, it scares me. This is the ‘long’ length from the pattern.


Just awful. Out of curiosity I pinned the front up to the knee, and it’s much much better. But I wasn’t in love.


So I cut it! It was a great opportunity to further my Lagenlook-drafting skills. I have absolutely no bottoms that match this top, so black it is. I was actually a little happier than I look in this pic.


Parting shot: Ms. Crab Spider has been busy in the guava tree again, this time after some very strong storms that really cleaned out the trees. Her web was so pretty with the late afternoon sun shining through her home.


It’s almost the weekend – I hope it’s safe and peaceful for all. I’ll be finishing a quilt project, I’ve been cold in this chilly Florida weather. Such a wuss…

Bye for now! Coco