Hooray for the Vogue 1280 DKNY sheath dress pattern!

Even though I live in London, I grew up in America, and my family all still live there. A week or two ago, my mom saw there was a pattern sale coming up and very kindly offered to buy me a few if I wanted! There were two Vogue patterns on my Wish List – one was a Michael Kors knit dress that’s now OOP (and her Hancock’s didn’t still have it), but she was able to buy me one of the new DKNY Vogue patterns I was after, plus ship it to me, all for less than half the price we pay for Vogues in the UK on sale!

(Ever wonder what sad souls pay the full list price printed on envelope patterns? Yeah, that’s us. Little wonder I mostly sew with pattern magazines!)

So Vogue 1280 arrived in the post yesterday, and I immediately set about devouring the instructions and construction details of this.

It’s a really interesting, asymmetrical knit sheath dress with a characteristic (for DKNY) lack of side seams, so there’s a lot going on here!

Here’s a better shot of the tech drawing from the envelope. On Vogue’s site, the tech drawing is really too small to see that nearly all the seams are lapped, with a raw-edged piece of trim inserted, and then double-stitched (hello, coverstitch!) on top.

I’m thinking of making this in my cherry red bamboo jersey, so I needed to buy more red thread for my coverstitch, to avoid having to swap threads throughout the whole process. Normally, if the coverstitch is just needed at the end for hems, I’ll just unthread the overlocker and re-use the threads on my coverstitch, but here the coverstitch will be used throughout.

I’m also wondering whether I should attempt to use my binder attachment for some of the edges, but I’m thinking I’ll probably just saw the trim as directed the first time around and see how it goes.

Remember last summer when I made my last Vogue pattern, the DKNY gathered skirt set (Vogue 1259)? Well, I totally love this set and I wear it all the time, together and as separates, but the construction of it was a massive PITA, and Vogue certainly didn’t make it any easier with their instructions and woefully inadequate marking.

If you recall, last time I specifically complained about the symbols and lack of numbering:

One thing I really hated during the construction is that Vogue used a million circles and notches which can easily get confused, especially when there are multiple small circles on one piece. Manequim, KnipMode, and Burda, in contrast, number their seam intersections which makes it much easier to piece together a pattern without any instructions.

OMG they listened to me!!

The instructions on this new DKNY Vogue pattern have numbered notches and the instructions advise you to label each one with painter’s tape, which is a great idea!!

Hurrah for Vogue!

Not that they’ve got everything 100% sensible here – a quick glance through the instructions shows they instruct you to trim away the seam allowances on a good 80% of the pattern pieces. Umm, then why did you bother including them at all, Vogue? Just put the seam allowances on the pieces that need them!

Or do what I’m planning: after you trace your pattern pieces, mark and trim away the seam allowances on the pattern paper before cutting your fabric! Ooh – I just realised that my seam allowance guide will be great for this, I’ll just attach it to my paper scissors to trim off the unwanted SAs!

And because I just love these crazy puzzle-type patterns, I like to first work out in my head how everything fits together and corresponds with the tech drawing. For me, this mental geometry exercise is half the fun in these weird patterns, I totally love working out how they fit together! In this case, I started by labelling all the piece numbers on the tech drawing itself:

I’m only uncertain of a few, but it should sort itself out as I construct it, or if not, I’ll make a paper model first. I’m so happy about the numbered notches, though – this should make this dress considerably easier to sew!

So well done Vogue! I don’t know whether this change was a direct result of my comments on the last DKNY pattern, or whether you decided this was a good idea independently, but THANK YOU! This just means I will buy heaps more of your crazy designer patterns in future!

Attention Londoners: The moorings I live on are open to the public this weekend as part of Open Garden Squares, Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Say hi if you pop down or leave a comment if you want me to email you more info!

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