Pattern Description: Fitted dress, lined bodice, back zipper closing with front flange. A, B, E, F: back slit opening. C, D: pleated lower section. Armhole and sleeve variations. A: sash with hook and eye closing.
Pattern Sizing: 6-22. I made my standard Vogue size 12.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes, pretty much. I really wanted to make the version with the sleeves, but alas, it was not to be - unless maybe the Philadelphia Eagles needed a new linebacker.
Were the instructions easy to follow? As I think all other reviewers have noted, this was one of those hopscotch patterns that has you running back and forth between View A, View B, View E and the back side of the front page on the left corner. I did actually make my way, rat-like, through the maze, but it would have been easier if I'd remembered to take the instructions to work, copy them and play cut and paste. Much easier. Highly recommended that you do that, as a matter of fact. There were a few places where I got a little confused, and I think it was the illustrations more than the instructions. Sometimes an extreme closeup isn't all that helpful when you can't see how it fits into the larger picture. But staring and/or walking away and thinking about it worked, and all came out well in the end.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love this dress. When Roland Mouret's Galaxy dress first came out, I snagged every picture of it I could find online, and I was thrilled when Vogue came out with this more-or-less knockoff. I love the shape of the bodice.
Fabric Used: Well, I'm not exactly sure. I got it last year at Jomar in Philadelphia, and it was on the wool shelf. Since it was only $4, it's a wool blend (besides which, it doesn't make me itch), and it has some lycra in it because there's just enough stretch that this fitted dress doesn't keep me from breathing. Gray with a shadowy aqua plaid, yet another part of the slow-moving gray wardrobe.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made: Nothing major. I did start out making Version E, the straight neckline with sleeves, but after I constructed the sleeves and basted them in, I hated how they looked on me. They were huge 1980s puffy sleeves, I don't care how interesting the pleating/folding construction was. Off they came, and the dress looked much better. Of course since the dress was already constructed, I had to then bring the armholes and lining together without visible mess. That was accomplished with some strategic ironing, iron-on bias tape, and finally topstitching the neckline, flanges and armholes. The topstitching didn't happen beacuse of the lack-of-sleeve issue, but because the flanges kept wiggling around and I wanted them to stay PUT. I really hadn't wanted to topstitch this dress, but it's subtle and I don't think it detracts from the look.
I used an invisible zipper in the back instead of the regular zipper Vogue recommended. I was pleased that the plaid lined up perfectly on the first try. I didn't do the sash with hook and eye recommended by the pattern. I wanted a proper belt, and on my original NY shopping list for last Saturday was belting. Which I forgot to buy in G&H, though I did get some webbing for tote bag straps. Since it was 1" wide, when I realized I didn't have the belting I reached for that and it actually worked out well - the thickness of the webbing keeps the belt from shifting in the buckle. The oval mother-of-pearl buckle, by the way, did come from the PR shopping day - Pacific Trims is a wonderful place, and if you get to New York I highly recommend them. It's like a candy store for trim, buttons, zippers, buckles, you name it.
One difficulty with this dress - thus far, I haven't found a bra that doesn't show in the corners of the neckline, and I don't really want to go out and invest in a strapless. Today I tried it on without a bra, and surprisingly the dress is snug enough - and structured enough, especially with those topstitched flanges - that it can be worn without risk of spillage. Actually, nothing moved at all, and I can't think of the last time THAT happened.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I don't know if I'll sew it again, but that's only because it's such a recognizable look. On the other hand, I am planning to make a jacket or capelet to wear over this, so maybe I could work up to doing another one for summer, and attach a fuller skirt.
Conclusion: Gorgeous, feminine, sexy dress that is much more comfortable to wear than expected. Not a difficult pattern so long as you're paying attention and willing to tweak the fit on those flanges.