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 ย 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. ย 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.


  1. That is a nice dress. I don’t like animal prints either but this one looks great on you.

  2. I’m sorry it was a pig to work on, but you look very, very, VERY pretty in it! I love that section that cuts diagonally across your bodice. There’s something very flattering about the neckline it gives. I also think the sleeve length makes your arms look pretty! (Can one have ‘pretty arms’? Clearly!) So I’m not surprised the women at work want to take that off your hands…

  3. you know, I have this pattern and now that you and Amanda have worked out the kinks, I would consider sewing it. It’s just so interesting and a little different from all the other ruched and wrapped styles. It really looks great on you!

  4. This dress looks so pretty on you! I have loved this pattern since it came out and it is in my stash. Since I now know what to watch out for I will be making it too.

  5. It looks great! I bought that pattern on sale last year, and look at it now and then. I like the design of it. Thanks for the review. I won’t be making this at the last minute, if I ever make it.

  6. Love it! I like some animal prints, but you chose a really nice one! It looks good and you did a great job!

    • I searched high and low for this! I really wanted one of the older ones, but couldn’t find it completed. This came from a surplus supply for schools. I have wine in the cabinets, liqour on top and glasses below. Total keeper.

  7. I love that so much. That dress has been on my list to make for awhile,. When you say you took out 6 inches in the bodice, did you take it out at the bottom of the bodice on on the sides?

  8. Totally a closet animal print fan (as in, no courage to actually wear them) here, and I love the dress. And I have to give you kudos, a lot of times when I don’t like a project I don’t finish it–you stuck it out and got a great dress out of the deal. You may not think you’re ready for winter, but you look stylish and ready at the same time to me! (I’m not ready at all–stylish or otherwise, LOL!)

  9. I’m so glad you worked it out. It looks great on you! I think I have this pattern but haven’t worked up the fortitude to try it. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. You look amazing in this dress. It is incredibly flattering. I think it makes your waist look SO TINY. I’m glad you finished it. With so many alterations, I would have probably moved in and given myself heartburn with guilt. I also love the print. And I loved your posts about Linus.

    • Thank you! I think, what I would do (if there was a next time) is extend the waist down a bit and take it in some. I think it’s more the full skirt than the ruching adding (visually) some width.

      • I was going to add a remark about how fabulous this silhouette looks on your figure and thought I’d contradict your remark about bringing the waist down. I think the waist hitting you a tad high is what makes this so successful.

        I recommend experimenting with this look in other patterns: fitted bodice, the waist sitting a bit above your natural waist (but not under your bust) and then a skirt that falls in an a-line. I’m wondering if this formula is what makes this dress so wonderful on you!

        • I do agree with Remnant in that I also like the waist slightly above the natural waist. That line is so popular at the moment and so it looks very stylish. I think you should only change it next time, if it *feels* uncomfortable. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Despite all your construction issues, the finished dress looks great and super duper flattering on you! I love that animal print – the colors make it look a little more neutral (although I know a lot of people would argue with me that all animal prints are neutral; ahaha). And yeah, I feel ya on the runched waistline adding bulk – but you look tiny from where I’m sittin’!

  12. I understand your hesitancy with animal prints, I don’t gravitate to them either. But that looks awesome. I don’t get a GG vibe at all, live it with your boots.

  13. While you might have some reservations about this dress, I love it! I think it looks fabulous! Amazingly fabulous! Though, I hear you on the ruching. I made a maxi dress last summer that was ruched through the middle, and it looked like a saggy baggy mess when I first made it up. I ended up taking quite a bit out in order to get it to truly ruche. I have no idea how the patternmakers got theirs to work…

  14. The dress looks wonderful on you — it’s very flattering. Glad you stuck with it. I wouldn’t have had the courage to finish (would have ended up as a UFO). So kuddos to you!

  15. You look great in this dress. Shirring like that is really a pita to do, and you are right it needs negative ease to work or it just droops.
    I love black and white animal print, alright we already know I love animal prints, but black and white in a nice knit are hard to find. It’s a flattering color combo for you.

  16. looks fantastic, great shape on you but I sympathise with the pattern difficulties. Some of those complicated Vogue designer patterns which are for knits are really tricky with some errors and weird constructions choices. But as Tim Gunn would say, you made it work. Fun dress for winter.

  17. I love that dress! And I think you look fantastic in it. I do love animal print, so if I worked in your office I would probably be trying to broker a trade with you as well. ๐Ÿ™‚ Bummer about all of the construction issues, but I think the finished product turned out great!

  18. I don’t get Golden Girls, I get chic and modern. You look very sophisticated, yet laid back with the pairing of the boots.

  19. I think it looks great too and hope you get lots of wear out of it. Trust me, there is no granny in Florida look there.

    BUT, if the uber boss loves it that much I’d be tempted to wrap it up and give it to her for some future goodwill…then you can happily buy some cashmere and make a warm winter coat with a happy mind.

  20. Well, it may have been a pain to make, but the finished result looks awesome! I’m with you – not generally a fan of animal prints (at least not on me), but this one works. You should be glad you stuck with it, because it really does look amazing on. Huh – the Boss is hitting you up for you clothing. One of these days we’re going to see one of your creations during a press conference! ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. I love this dress on you more than anything else I’ve seen you make, but holy crap! That’s a card catalog! Holding booze! Damn, that is fantastic.

  22. Oh, and I have a Golden Girls fears with nearly every print I look at. I’ll love it, then immediately worry that it looks about 40 years to old for me, and then I become paralyzed and can’t decide how I feel. But that animal print you used is just perfect. Perfect!!

  23. I think this dress is an example of daring to step outside of one’s usual fashion norms and finding that assumptions have been incorrect. You look fabulous! It may not be a dress you will wear as much as others, but it really is very attractive and flattering. It does not scream Jersey shore, and the pattern is actually very feminine, so win/win for you!

  24. Love the dress. You look fabulous in it!. Photography hints: Turn up your ISO to 1600 (or more if your camera goes higher for inside photography) then set your White Balance for inside lights (look for the light bulb icon). Most point and shoots will do this. If you have a DSLR you can also widen your aperture (set it at the lowest number) to allow more light into the lens – all this will help you avoid flash. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Good luck!

  25. I think the dress looks fantastic. I like the asymmetric draping across the neckline, and it looks chic yet cozy with tights and boots for winter.

  26. Your dress looks great and your hard work has paid off. To be honest, I’ve not been impressed with the drafting of Tracy Reese patterns.

  27. Beautiful dress and you look fabulous in it. Interesting that I wouldn’t have been drawn to the dress from the flat drawing, but the realization is fabulous!

  28. You may not be comfortable with the animal print, but it is soooo comfortable with you! You look gorgeous in this. And, thank you for the review. I plan on never making this dress.

  29. OMG! Love it! Thanks for the great review of your construction of this dress. I have a copy of this pattern and had plan to make it this year. The combination of the ruching and needed adjustments helped move this one to the bottom of the pile. Now I may move it up ten projects. Lol All in all great dress and Kudos to you.

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