The silhouette of the pattern, as well as, the inserts attracted me to this pattern. I don't think the fabric chosen for the pattern by Vogue was the most stunning or achieved the most dramatic results. I always saw the pattern in black and white, literally. Black and white is on trend for fall and this combo produces the dramatic results I think this pattern needs. So I started with a black double sided wool crepe from Mood.
There was some deliberation over whether to use the scraps of the black 'n white houndstooth wool used in this skirt and this dress...or a black 'n white lacey piece from the collection. Seriously this piece has been in the collection so long that I have no idea where it came from especially since it's not tagged. I was leaning towards the houndstooth, then when I was thinking about how I would wear the dress, I remembered my houndstooth shoes and that settled the matter.
Once all of the pieces were cut out of the black wool double crepe, I cut out the houndstooth pieces. I fused a lightweight black fusible interfacing to the back of the houndstooth scrap prior to cutting the insert pieces out. I wanted to insure that the houndstooth and the wool crepe pieces were the same weight. Also since most of the insert pieces are curved the interfacing will help them hold their shape and assist with stabilizing the seams when sewn to the wool crepe pieces.
I started assembling the back of the dress first. Honestly I did this because the backs are smaller pieces. Putting this dress together is like doing one large jigsaw puzzle and it's important that you not force the pieces together. Each piece has to meet at either end or you throw the center back or side off. This is NOT a pattern for a beginner or an advanced beginner. You definitely need some sewing experience to handle assembling this garment.
Which brings me to a comment that Nancy asked on the V1370 - Pattern Alterations post, "Could you not have taken your TNT pattern, traced it off, and then sketched the insets on it, just like the Vogue 1370?" Actually I never even thought of that. That is a viable alternative. However, I think it would be just as much work as the method I chose. Even if you'd used either method, I still say that this is an intermediate to advanced sewist's pattern.
Left side with insert
Right side with insert
As mentioned in the construction post I did omit the dart in the left back piece. Although I thought I would make a pleat where the dart portion appears in the lower back so that it would match the insert piece. That didn't work. I ended up removing the pleat and had to hand baste the pieces together to make them fit before sewing them together with the sewing machine. I highly recommend basting sections to anyone else attempting to sew this dress. It gives you so much control and allows you to make sure that the pieces work together easily.
My other tip to anyone making this dress would be to use a lot of steam and liberal use of your clapper. Mine got a serious workout to help seams stay open and flat especially in the areas where the inserts merged. This steam/press was integral to making the inserts work in the dress. That and clipping the seams in stressful spots. I added quite a few more clips in the seams than the pattern instructions suggested. Having added interfacing to the inserts, I was less worried about clipping those seams and weakening them than if the pieces hadn't been interfaced.
Finally a shot of the front of the dress with the inserts...
I made one change to the sleeves. I added a 2" band of the houndstooth fabric to the hem of the sleeves. It lengthened the sleeve and made it hit a place on my arm that I like. It also added some more of the houndstooth to the dress...a design feature that I wanted.
The rest of the dress will be assembled as per the instructions. I'm adding a lining. However, since my wool crepe is thick I won't be using the fashion fabric inserts as the pattern instructions suggest, instead I will be using lining fabric to minimize the bulk in the back neckline area that I don't want.
This is a complicated sew. I was wrong to suggest that it wasn't. I've put about 8 hours of pattern alterations and cutting out the fabric into this and now another 8 hours of construction and I don't have the dress together yet. There is at least another 8 hours because I have to cut out the lining and stitch it together. Then assemble the dress and add the lining, finally doing all of the finishing touches. I'm going to clock a good 24/25 hours before I finish this dress...so it's not an easy sew at all.
I'm not sure that I will do another post on this dress prior to it's reveal. I think anything relevant can go in that last post.
...as always more later!