The lovely people at Michael Levin Fabrics sent me a copy of V1460 along with some fluid rayon jersey to try out. This is a Badgley Mischka design for Vogue that has a fitted skirt, and blouson bodice with 3/4 sleeves and a draped neckline. The front sleeve is dolman, the back is partially set in. There is a draped neck constructed from a pleat at each shoulder, and all kinds of origami in between. The front bodice pattern piece is one of the most unique I've ever cut into, and could possibly be off putting to someone looking for a simple project. Trust me, the hardest part is figuring out which lines to trace for your size, the actual sewing is pretty simple. Mette (@sewbluedresses) advised that I be careful when transferring the marks for the bodice. So glad she gave me a head's up, as this is normally a step that I gloss over at my peril. There is a square corner at the back shoulder, creating a very simple clean finish, assuming you get the dots and triangles all lined up (ahem, I didn't the first time).
My sewing time is short lately and likely to get shorter in the future. I would like to stay home until my kids get accepted to the right old folks home, but given the price tag for a decent urban education that may prove impractical. Even with self imposed pressure, I've been trying to give myself the time, and head space (so hard to find the head space) to tackle more complicated projects, and enjoy the muslining process rather than disdaining it as an obstacle to a new outfit. I'm a shameless process person, and I'd like to learn something through basted stitches, rather than churn out basic woven tops (not giving up my beloved basics, just taking time for more complicated garments!).
So, I dug deep to find my inner perfectionist and made a muslin to test fit the bodice lining and the skirt. I measured a 12 at the bust and 14 at the hip, but ended up sewing a straight 12. I shortened the bodice by about 5/8". These are just my notes, your tweaks will be completely different. The fitted bodice lining keeps the blouson waist at a consistent drape, and is the structural support for the skirt. Therefore, the bodice lining fit is important.
The pattern calls for an invisible back zip. My goal from the beginning was to engineer the zipper out of the design. If I had to zip up the back, I'd be much less likely to wear the dress. If I had to install a zipper at the back, I'd be much less likely to make the dress. The muslin was key in verifying that I could get the waist over my shoulders without a back opening. I serged the waist seam, and added some clear elastic to reinforce it, so it could withstand the stress of dressing. Eliminating the zipper also took a big chunk out of the construction time.
I used a black rayon knit from Michael Levin Fabrics for the dress, chosen for it's fluid drape. I also used it for the lining. The pattern calls for tricot lining, but I forgot to order it, and couldn't find any locally. This fabric is relatively thin, and slippery so it worked just fine. If you're using a thicker knit like a wool jersey, or a ponte knit you'll want to remember the tricot.
The pattern is written for knits, but could easily be made with a woven fabric. The zip back, 5/8" seam allowance, and seam finishes would translate easily to a delicate wool suiting. The skirt could easily be lined. Next time I would line the skirt anyway. I'm wearing a slip and panty hose to keep the fabric from highlighting every nook and cranny.
If you're looking for more inspiration check out Rebecca's Dior Gray version, it's so soft and sophisticated. Erica's blue velvet version makes my heart skip a beat. And of course, Mette's double knit version is the perfect workwear. Different fabric choices really dress this design up or down, and add to its versatility.
It was 23 degrees in the shade in Philadelphia on the day we took these photos (probably why I keep suggesting wool for this design!). Cape-scarf to the rescue. The lightning fast wrap has been the sleeper star of my winter wardrobe. You can get the free tutorial on Petit a Petit + Family.
Pattern: Vogue 1460 from Michael Levin
Fabric: Black Rayon Knit from Michael Levin
Cape-Scarf: Tutorial by SweetKM (me) for Petit a Petit Blog
Earrings: Brass Bar Earrings by Laura Lombardi Jewelry
Shoes: Billie Boots from Madewell