Vogue 1252: Tracy Reese Ruched Leopard Print Dress

Tadaa!! It’s finally done, Vogue 1252: the Tracy Reese Ruched Dress. While I still have a little Golden Girls vibe from the animal print, once I added the skirt, I started to like it a lot more. I found myself having to just walk away several times in order not to give up on this pattern.

Issues: As Amanda pointed out, this dress has no negative ease built in to the outer fashion fabric. I had to take a total of six inches out of the bodice to get a ruched look.

And, I still don’t think it’s ruched enough at the front since I only took out two inches from the front bodice vs four inches in the back.

Also, I didn’t make a FBA — which I could use. Paticularly in the drape. Some extra length and width there would make it lay the way I want (all the way across the boobage).

When you sew this dress, you’ll notice that the lining needs to be stable because it must carry the weight of the very full four-panel skirt and support the ruching of the bodice.

I decided to skip the elastic at the skirt waist casing. Well, I didn’t decide. I forgot about it during construction. The dress is snug  enough at the waist without it. But, I’d likely take in the waist another inch or two if I were sewing again. I think this cut (or maybe the gathered skirt) makes my waist look a little thicker. This might be better suited to someone who is not as well defined in the middle.

I also messed up by sewing in the bodice lining before the skirt lining. I had no interest in taking it off to add the skirt lining so I just left it out. I do like the clean finish the lining provides. I never really think about linings on a knit. I will now.

At first I thought I put the pockets in the wrong place. As drafted, they are in the front skirt seam instead of the side seam.

So, why is it impossible to find a non-seperating 20 inch zipper with aluminum teeth that’s not custom? My friend’s roommate makes felted wool bags (available here). He had a roll of aluminum zipper teeth on black tape and he cut one for me to my specs for $4. That’s what it would have cost to order online special – minus the $8.95 shipping. Oh, the zipper was also waaaay shorter than the opening the pattern called for.  Not sure if this is a pattern error or how you sew a vaguely exposed zipper. I confess to not reading the directions on inserting the zipper.

This dress is so far outside of my comfort zone in this animal print. I have many reasons for not loving animal prints, all are nitpicky and solely my issues. But, I’m glad I went with it for this. The fabric was a G Street / Groupon special and I wouldn’t have bought it otherwise. I do think I had this dress in mind when I purchased. And, of all the animal prints, this one seemed not so bad.

My dress was wildly popular in the office Wednesday. The women where I work are snazzy dressers. If totally get extra credit for making my own clothes. If I didn’t, I’d be considered one of the least interesting dressers at my job. My big boss is trying to talk me in to giving this dress to her. She loves an animal print.

As much as I like this dress and as good as I think it looks. I don’t think I can recommend this pattern. I love it. But it needs a lot of tweaking to work. The tweaking is in part based on the amount of stretch your material has. But, maybe the trick is to start by sizing down one or two sizes. If you’re patient, go for it. If you are not patient, leave it alone.

** It was 34 degrees this morning. I’m not ready for winter! So, I’m starting early with the indoor photography. I want to get better at getting the coloring (well… my coloring) right. I really need to check out an external flash and some classes.

Pattern Review: Vogue 1086, Tracy Reese Dress in Ghanaian Wax Print

I have to make a disclaimer here and say that I sew very infrequently from the Big 4 Patterns. I’m so used to the skeletal directions provided by Burda that I find myself almost confused when sewing from Big 4 patterns. So many words! So many markings on the pattern!

I pretty much buy every Tracy Reese pattern from Vogue that comes out. I love that she’s a young African American designer and I think if I want to keep seeing more from her, than I need to financially support her too. Luckily, her designs are worth every penny.

I decided to make a dress for my East Coast to Far East capsule because I have four days of business meetings and two banquets in Xiamen. Plus, I have a nice dinner planned for Saturday night in Shanghai.  A dress is perfect for these situations. There was some talk of business attire. I snorted. I *refuse* to take a business suit with me.

Alterations: I just raised the neckline up by 1.5 to 2 inches. I didn’t do a swayback and I didn’t make a FBA. I do find the top very roomy (I made a size 14) but suspect that’s partly the look of the dress. If I had thought about it, I would have piped the waistband as it gets a bit lost on this dress with my fabric.

For interfacing, I used a woven from Sew Exciting. It adds a wonderful crispness to the wax print. I used straight of grain interfacing on the neckline of the dress to stabilise it.

I planned to line the entire dress, but couldn’t figure out how to do the bodice. Well, I could figure it out, but I didn’t have time so just the skirt was done. I thought for like three seconds about trying to match up my print to cut out. But, I didn’t bother. It’s not a huge scale and I made sure to avoid having big flowers on my bust apex.

As I was sewing this dress, I was a little worried that it would be too ethnic looking. Not that it’s bad. But, I wanted the fabric to stand on its on and not look like I was misappropriating a traditional cultural print. The busy print of the fabric makes the details of dress hard to see. But, there is some lovely gathering in the shoulders and waist.

The fabric was purchased three years ago when I went to Ghana. I bought an OBSCENE amount of material. I salivated at the beautiful colors and tradition. I definitely purchased far more than I should have in retrospect. I have one last piece left and am still waiting for the perfect project.

So, in my last post I said I should rent a Kindle. Well, I went to the bookstore to get a guide book for Shanghai and made a TOTAL impulse purchase and bought the Nook. I loves it. I’m still taking my netbook with a few movies loaded. Thanks for the tips regarding iTunes. It sounds like the rented movies should work since I don’t have to login to the internet to watch them on my netbook.

And, now that I have a remote control for my camera, I take an OBSCENE amount of photos. And, you can think I’m vain, but I’m going to post them because I LOVE THIS DRESS. I feel fun and cute and skinny.

This is my Trena picture. Because I’m wearing my lime glasses, LOL. Totally retro, right?