Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Made by Me File: Vogue Couturier 2439. It's a Valentino!

You can pretty much guarantee that if I am silent here AND on Instagram, I probably have been delving deep in sewing, and that was for sure the case this past week and weekend.  (I haven't even used Instagram from Saturday forward, and I blame the oversaturation of sewing for that, as Instagram couldn't be any easier to use.)

Anyhow, there is a Vintage Pattern contest running over at Pattern Review, and though I really (honestly!) don't care about winning, I like to have an excuse to make something, and this contest seemed the perfect kick in the behind to get my sewing mojo on and get a dress done in time for school to start (and with the perfect retro flair, the way I really like it).

I have in my stash of patterns this beautiful Vogue Couturier pattern from Valentino from 1970.  I have a real sickness for these older patterns.  There's also the Vogue Paris Original patterns that are lovely, too (I made this LaRoche pattern a few years back).  If I see that one or a few are for sale and they will suit me and fit me, I'll put in a bid on ebay or purchase them outright from Ebay. 

There is a lot of history on Vogue designer patterns, and this very recent (as in yesterday) article from the New York Times explores it a bit.  They even mention Valentino in the article. 

I knew most of what was in the article, but it always bears repeating, the garment on the cover of these patterns ARE the garment as designed and shown by the original designer, and the pattern makers from Vogue use that as their base for their patterns.  So I was basically recreating the original garment that Valentino crafted even before I was born.  This is still true today, and the Anne Klein dress that I copied was from an original from the Anne Klein line.

Obviously I really dig the style and silhouette of the dress and if a current designer or clothing company made a dress like this, I would want to buy it.  The pockets are integrated into the front dress design, and those belt carriers are part of the dress design, and are NOT added as a waistband feature from a waistband pattern piece.  Instead they are part of the dress front and pocket and dart pattern piece.  (All in one.  When you see the instructions below, you will agree with my hesitation in cutting my dress fabric in the convoluted design they wanted me to...of course it worked out, clearly, but I couldn't believe that design would lead to what you see above.)

The dress, as made up, is very pretty, but practical.  I made it from a double knit, so it is very comfortable and stretchy, but the pockets and belt add a level "I didn't know I needed these features until I had them here."  I now want all my dresses to have these details.  Especially the pockets, which are not your typical inseam pockets, hiding from the world.  These are integrated on the front and help showcase the unique seaming. 

Nearly all my belts fit in these carriers, and the fancier, jeweled belts helped create a more formal look, while this patent leather one suited a more casual outing, like teaching school, or going to church.

The mockneck is very comfortable, and though it could read frumpy, the sleeveless and fitted bodice help keep it from looking too dated.

Though I have few plans to wear the cloche with the dress, I did like the look, and would possibly pair the two for the right occasion.  :-)

The back was far less complicated than the front, but I will say the dart that extended from the back yoke to the hip was one of the longest I have ever encountered.  It also integrated the belt carriers into it, so there was a bit of finagling there, too.  There was also an additional back carrier that had to be created by making a welt insertion for the facing piece, and that terrified me that I would place the welt in the wrong place and ruin all my work.

Because my hips are larger than the pattern called for, I had to bring my seam allowances from waist down from 5/8" to 1/2".  If this had not been an a-line skirt, I would have likely had to add allowances to the pattern itself as no straight skirt from this era would ever fit me in a size 12 (the hips on a size 12 are a 34, I am that plus 5!).

The mockneck called for hook/eye closures that are hidden, but I wanted to use a loop/button closure.  I wish the loop was a bit tighter, but I don't think it totally ruins the look of the dress, either.

I love this fabric.  It was exactly right for the job.  The weight of the double knit means I can wear it in non-summer months, but it also meant I didn't have to try a designer pattern from 1970 in a non-stretch woven.  Plus, it even looks a bit like the original Valentino dress fabric (though I know that was likely a brocade of some sort).

Here's a good closeup of the fabric, the carriers, and the pocket detail.  So glad this all worked out.  :-)

Yeah, those are the (dang) clear directions.  But look at the illustration for #2, that was the shape I had to cut.  I mean, it makes sense how that becomes what you see on me, but it does require a bit of a leap of faith that it will all work out.

If you would like to see my pattern review, it is here.

In other news...before I even started my pretty Valentino dress, I had to complete this ridiculous Piranha costume.  I used Simplicity 2853 for the pattern, and yeah, I recognize it doesn't look a thing like the pattern shows.  That was because I took a lot of liberties with the design.  It all worked out and the swim team LOVED it (or was scared, rightly so).  What a monstrosity.  LOL.  :-)

Okay, that's all for now.  I hope all of you are doing well, and I'll be back soon.