In Progress: Vogue 1252, Tracy Reese Ruched Dress

I’ve been toying around with the idea of sewing Tracy Reese’s Vogue 1252 dress for a while now. I love all the draping, ruching and the fitted bodice. But, I was scared to make the FBA to about four different pattern pieces. And, I detest gathering. Like really really detest it. Yet, I still wanted to make this dress.

You ever have a project that you start to regret as soon as you start cutting it? Yeah. That’s me and this dress.

I decided to sew this in the ONLY animal print I have every purchased and will likely ever own. I so do not care for animal prints on me. Even now, it still has a Golden Girls vibe to me. But, it was on the sale table at G Street, I had a Groupon and I thought I would try to sex up my look a bit.


The first problem, I barely had enough material. This is my second Vogue pattern this year where I seemed to not have enough material. And this is despite meticulously following the layout and cutting directions.

Problem #2: I was a wuss and decided not to make an FBA. See, I figured I was sewing a 14 (one size larger than I need) and it was stretch fabric. So, between being a size too big and a knit, I thought it would work. I just couldn’t bring myself to alter the myriad of pattern pieces. Heck. I didn’t even make a swayback adjustment! It’s like I’m setting myself up for failure here.


Problem #3: There are 18 pattern pieces. Holy. Cow. They were spread everywhere in my sewing basement. I couldn’t let Linus in the basement because he always manages to sleep, step or scratch himself on any and every pattern piece laying about. So, while cutting, I got to listen to him whining at the top of stairs, outside the door begging to come in.


Problem #4: I hate marking patterns. It’s true. I find Big 4 patterns so fidly with their ‘little circle, big circle, triangle, square etc. I just want you to tell me to stop sewing before the seamline. Sigh.


Problem #5: As other reviewers have noted, this is the kind of dress you can’t get a sense of until it’s done.


So, what’s really wrong now? Well, I have to take most of the dress apart. As you can see, there is no ruching in the midsection and barely any ruching in the drape. I need to take it apart and cut about two inches off the sides.

You can also see it hangs super low at center front. When I tried the the bodice on, it’s about 1.5 inches longer in this section.

I think the pattern is good. But, without knowing how much stretch and drape is needed, it’s impossible to know how your knit will react. I suspect I should have sewn a 12 in a super stable knit, instead of the this lycra.

Ugh. So, that’s my week. Unpicking four seams of stretch stitch. Hopefully my next post is a completed dress 🙂



  1. I’ve had my eye on this pattern as well, but like you was leery of all the gathering. Your experience thus far does sound like a PITA, but I love it do far and suspect the final result will be fantastic!

  2. Thank goodness I’m not the only one who can’t stand all those stupid markings that they put on big 4 (though Vogue is by far the worst) patterns!!! They make me crazy, and some of them don’t end up even being used, they just seem to point out the seam lines, but you put them in there anyway, “just in case”. Sorry, I’ll step off the soapbox now… 😳

    Anyway, I can’t wait to see the finished dress, because I love the look of both the fabric and design. 🙂

  3. Have you read Communing with Fabric’s blog posts on fbas? She doesn’t make a conventional fba in knits which I think you’d like. I’ve started using her method with success. You do have to start with how much negative ease you want and use the pattern measurement that corresponds. You do have to know how much your fabric stretches and the ease you like, but once you figure that out it’s a lot easier, especially on a pattern like this.
    I think that most of Vogues marks are unnecessary. I think that they use them in the multi size patterns to tell you where the seam line is. Except for seam matching marks, most of them are irrelevant.

  4. Despite the problems you’ve been having, I think it’s going to be a great dress. I’m not a fan of animal prints but that one draped looks very cool.

    I couldn’t find an email address for you, so I’m posting this here. I am suggesting a VA/DC/MD sewing blogger meetup. Five other blogs are interested and I hope you can make it too. Preliminary details are on my blog here.

  5. I feel your frustration, but I do think it is going to be a great dress on you. Why do we ignore lessons we have already learned? Maybe because we are human? By the way, I really like animal prints on other people, but I think they look ridiculous on me. I think you will be one of those folks that looks great in them.

  6. You are scaring me! I was contemplating buying this pattern but now I’m not so sure… I bet it’s going to look amazing, your FOs always do 🙂

  7. I am going to be following your progress. That dress is coming up for me to make. It looks like A LOT of gathering.

  8. I must confess to a love of animal prints- both whimsical and realistic- I think this is a great print for your dress and you will look fab. I on the other hand would look like I am smuggling with all that ruching going on up front?!

  9. It’s looking pretty great on the dressform so far and while I know what you mean about animal prints=golden girls, I think this one is really nice.

  10. I’m a sewing newb ( there, said it) just did my first Vogue skirt and found I also couldn’t lay out the pattern pieces the way they recommend. Luckily had bought extra fabric to fit it all in.
    Animal print is a guilty pleasure of mine — can’t wait to see your fabulous dress!!

  11. Hey I feel your pain! I unpicked three machine buttonholes and ended up with a pretty great cardigan so I know that you can do this!

  12. First, I do not think you are on the road to rocking the Golden Girl look.

    Second, picking out the stitching is worth the pain. Take a deep breath and tuck in!

  13. Oh man! I am often guilty of #2 and #4. And unpicking knits really bites. That said, this dress could be immensely fun when you are finished.

  14. oh dear, hope your eyesight is still ok after unpicking all those stitches in a knit fabric – makes me feel cross eyed just thinking about it. Animal print is pretty wild, but I’ve seen plenty of women wearing it during the day and it looks really great – it’s such a classic it’s *almost* a neutral! I hope you finish this, I can’t wait to see it

  15. I am so living the “gah, am I sure I want to make this” feeling at the moment. I wish you luck- 18 pieces is a heck of a lot to fiddle around with. If worse comes to worst, you could make Linus a tiny puppy cape?! Good luck with your unpicking!

  16. Um, yeah, that dress isn’t the most fun to make. I really don’t think a stable knit would give you a good gathered look, so your fabric choice looks like a smart one. The problem with that pattern is there was no negative ease put into the outer layer, and all it does is hang there unless you cut it smaller. And ug, the gathering… HOWEVER, my dress from this pattern is one of my favorites in my closet, so even though it was a pita, it was worth the effort. Don’t give up!

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