When Vogue 1694, was being developed, it was the end of a long hot summer and my goal was to design a versatile warm weather dress. Named for a friend, the Felicity can be made either with sleeves or sleeveless, and features flattering lines that can be adapted to different fabrics in a style to dress up or down.
Lightly fitted in the bust, skims the waist and hips in a flared silhouette with faced asymmetrical hem and faced asymmetrical shallow v neck. V1694 also features bust darts, (a plus for those who need to make the full bust adjustment), and two pockets - a drop pocket in the diagonal front seam and a stitched down pocket in the side seam. Armholes in the sleeveless version are finished with self bias used as a facing, and the hem of the sleeve is faced for a finished look when rolled up.
The pattern envelope features a sleeveless mid calf version in 3 different blue and white striped shirting fabrics and a fingertip length tunic with sleeves in a double gauze Japanese cotton.
Suggested fabrics include: cotton, striped men’s shirting fabrics, linen, lightweight denim, rayon, mid weight silk, stable firm knits such as ponte or 2 way stretch knits. I have not tried this (yet), in a 4 way stretch fabric, think these more stretchy knits would be a better choice for the tunic which is shorter. The longer dress could cause a stretchy light weight knit to droop.
The line drawings show the details:
- Tissue fit the bodice to double check the fit.
- If using different fabrics, like different stripes, pin a scrap of fabric on the pattern pieces so you are clear on what goes where.
- Place the pattern pieces on the cutting table - fronts and backs to see how the pieces and markings connect and relate to each other.
I made several versions to test this pattern, see the photos below.
Version #1 combines a digitally printed linen and striped shirting fabrics, with the facings sewn to the outside using hand stitching details.
The result is fine, but complicated to sew, making facings to the outside is fussy, and I wanted to keep things simple for the final pattern knowing that some sewists will change and adapt to their own ideas.
I cut the upper back on the bias, and ended up discovering that this was a mistake. After I finished the second version, realized that I had broken one of the laws of working with bias which is that you should not hang a straight of grain section from a bias section as it can cause the bias to distort, which it did - not too badly in either fabric, but it was a big aha for me that this is not something to build into a pattern. On the pattern, the back is cut on the straight of grain and on the fold. Again - keeping things simple.
Version #2 uses 4 different gray and white shirting stripes. Let me say how much I love working with and wearing men’s shirting fabrics, they feel wonderful and are a pleasure to sew with.
I decided to work with the asymmetrical front and change the round neck to a shallow V. This worked well, and is incorporated into the final pattern.
I bound the neck and armholes with bias which worked well on the stripes and is another option to consider - the versions on the pattern use a facing at the neck and bias facings on the sleeveless version.
Version #3 By this time I was getting the feel for this garment and decided that one version would have a sleeve, ( ¾ or elbow length and not too snug to be more comfortable in warm weather), also thought the style would work in a shorter tunic version to wear with leggings or capris. For this prototype I used black and white ikat cottons, faced the sleeve cuff with contrast and used a bias stripe at the neckline. The hem keeps the same shaping as the longer version,so the width is pared down slightly. It will work well sleeveless too. (I love this version).
Carol works with us in the ArtBarn and been so excited about this pattern that she made two versions in one weekend!
Trained in England as a garden designer, she loves to sew, wields a mean chain saw, wears dresses for everyday life, has a beautiful hand made home, rustic farm girl life, and always looks great. She adapted and simplified the design Of V1694 to wear everyday for work and in the garden.
Carol used a washed green linen and clay pink light/shirting weight linen, making these pattern changes:
- Cut the upper front bodice in one piece
- Used a round front neckline instead of the V.
- Pared down the width at the hem
- Eliminated the right front vent
- Cut the sleeves in the green version on the bias. ‘For comfort’!