Lay you down on a bed of roses


A couple weeks back I was surprised to find an email from the Lillestoff company in my mailbox. My first thought was, "Has someone stolen my identity and bought a lot of luxurious fabric that I will not get to pet? I demand petting privileges!"  But no, instead it was Lillestoff asking if I'd like to receive some of their recent fabric range and host a giveaway.  After falling off my chair, I had to wait 10 minutes before replying yes so that my email wasn't all capital letters and emojis, like some highly caffeinated teenager.

Lillestoff has been my "screw it I'm going to splurge" fabric of choice since about 2011. At first my purchases were small, only getting a yard at a time to make things for Desmond.  Eventually the "kid yardage" started to migrate into the "fabric for myself" pile and I now have my own Lillestoff PJ pants, bodysuits, and T-shirts. Hey moms should have nice things too....and I'm a greedy fabric hog.

Lillestoff was very generous and sent me a GIANT box of fabric.  Des and I might have opened it and then flung fabric around while manically laughing.  "We're high on cotton and we didn't even know it was possible!" Once we stopped sniffing the new fabric fumes, things calmed down a bit and I started to brainstorm what fabrics to sew up first.  Out of all the prints the "Black Rose" jersey was screaming my name the loudest so it got the thumbs up.  (Bright colored roses on black = Heather bait....if you're ever looking to trap me for your own personal baking slave.) Selecting a pattern took a little longer because I was looking for a knit dress that I hadn't blogged about a million times already. (Those would be all of Kitshycoo's patterns which are always my go to dresses.) The pattern winner turned out to be Vogue 1027, a dress I've made before but never blogged.
I attempted this pattern back in 2009 without making a muslin or consulting PR for reviews on the pattern.  What I ended up with was a nice dress that was almost 2 sizes too big.  At that point I pulled up a couple of PR reviews and discovered that everyone found their usual size to be too big.  Most reviewers went down at least one size, sometimes 2 to get the pattern to fit their measurements. Curses, you dirty graders or maybe block makers!!! A knit dress should have a bit of negative ease, not be inches too large.  Well at that time I didn't feel like trying to salvage the dress. Instead it got put away in one of those dirty secret UFO boxes....the ones way in the back of the closet. We all have those right? I always hope some sewing fairy will show up and magically take care of those garments.
Here in 2015 I've done a couple of me-made culls but still have that first version of Vogue 1027. The fabric print is really wonderful so I'm gonna cut it down "someday." (Confession - Someday probably means never.) I figured, why not just use that as muslin #1 and do all my normal fitting changes.  Sounds good, yes? Spoiler, I didn't wait for your feedback and tried the dress on. At my current weight the entire bodice needed to be sized down and a large amount of ease needed to be removed from the waist. I pinned out something in the 1 3/4 to 2" range....on each side. Yes that means I needed to take almost 4" out of the pattern.  There was also some gaping in the wrap bodice neckline that needed to be removed.  OK then, I knew what my problems were, it was time to fix them in the pattern.

I would have loved to simply trace a smaller size of the bodice, but in 2009 I'd made the smallest size in the 14-22 size nest. Never fear though because it easy to do a little DIY grading using the nested sizes. (I blogged about this technique here. To grade down you reverse the process.)  I graded down the width of the bodice, but left the length at the size 14 measurements.  This removed about an 1" of ease at the side seams and about 1/2" around the armholes. At this point I mocked up a new bodice and decided to remove an additional 1/2"(on the quarter) at the waistline. The skirt and belt pieces were adjusted to fit the new waist measurement, details in the review portion, and the length of the skirt was shortened two inches.
In my previous version I used a knit lining to finish the edges of the bodice. This worked well for the armholes, but I had problems with the lining rolling out along the neck edge.  This time I decided to use the provided facing for the armholes and draft one for the neckline.  I traced off the neckline area of the front and back bodice patterns to create the facing.  To reduce the gaping on the bodice I reduced the length of the front neckline facing about 1.25." When the facing was serged on, I stretched it to fit, making it pull towards the body a bit.   To finish all the edges, I covered stitched on the right side and then trimmed any excess facing fabric on the wrong side.

Vogue 1027 - DKNY faux wrap dress (Might be OOP by now)

Fabrics used
Lillestoff cotton/spandex jersey in the "Black Rose" print.

Pattern changes/alterations
1. The size 14 bodice was graded down one size in width, but the length was left alone.

2. An additional 1/2" was removed at the waist area on the bodice.  Finished dress had 4" of ease removed from the waist area.

3. On the skirt I removed 1" from the side seams and reduced the length by 2".

4. The two belt pieces were reduced by 1" so that they would match the new waist circumference.

5. The front belt edges were serged together to eliminate the white back from showing through.

6. The pockets were omitted because there was not enough yardage.  (Confession - I wouldn't use knit pockets either)

- That waist seam has a lot of layers thanks to the sewn in belt.  On my version I basted each layer with a large zig zag stitch to keep all 4 layers aligned. Then the seam was finished with the overlocker and the basting removed.

- Since Lillestoff cotton is less drapy than rayon, the facing trick did get rid of most of the gaping. If I were to do it again in rayon, I'd reduce the length of the bodice fronts as well.

- I'm not completely sold on the sewn on belt.  At some angles it looks good, in others it looks bulky.

Husband Comment
"It has sharp angles, which I like. That rope thing coming off the waist is like a karate uniform. Cool." (I "think" sharp angles means wrap bodice, but I didn't seek clarification from the source.)

My Final Thoughts
After all the pattern edits were done, sewing up this dress was easy peasy. None of the construction steps are difficult and Lillestoff cotton doesn't fight you as it goes through the serger.  Instead it wants to be sewn, and worn, and maybe I should stop there. *Goes and sniffs fabric in a corner.*

This was a bit more fitting work than I'd usually want to put into a knit pattern, but for some reason that didn't bother me too much this time. It helped that I'd purchased the pattern so long ago that it just felt like being thrifty at this point. Now that I have a version that actually fits, I'm very pleased with the pattern. The style lines are classy and work well with my body type. I also think it pairs every elegantly with the black rose pattern making me look dressed up when really I'm thinking, "Ahhhh secret pajamas."
The Lillestoff fabric giveaway will be next post, hopefully later in the week.  I need to take photos and do a video for Mrs. Crafting a Rainbow. As long as tomorrow goes according to plan then everything should be on schedule.  *Famous Last Words*

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