Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Vogue 8995 - The Start of the Journey

I knew I wanted to sew this pattern as soon as it appeared online.

Especially since it reminded me of Vogue 8799 which I made in August 2012...though I was never thrilled with my interpretation. I mean I finished the dress and wore it then and again last summer, but it really wasn't the silhouette I wanted.  The line drawing above is the silhouette I was attempting to create.

So for this version, I couldn't decide if I wanted a black and white combo or a single color with some type of embellishment.  I finally decided that I wanted my dress to say spring! So I chose a lt. spring green linen that had been in the collection for awhile and some white piping to embellish the seams.

Pattern Alterations ~
I know making a muslin is very popular in the home sewing community but I hate making muslins.  Hey, just my point of view.  So I made pattern alterations by using my TNT dress pattern as a basis for checking the pattern pieces.

Back Pattern Pieces:
I started with the back pieces first.  I'm presently using a 4 piece back on my TNT dresses for a better fit. So I used my TNT back pieces to check the Vogue back pattern pieces. I ended up making a few small changes to the Vogue pieces.

1.  I decreased the shoulder seam pattern on each piece by 1/2".
2.  I added an inch from the waistline to the hemline of the back side seam.
3.  This was done to match my TNT pattern and to insure it would fit.

Those were the only changes I made.

Front Pattern Pieces:
This is where it got interesting. How to enlarge the pieces without losing the design silhouette?  Of course I started by laying the pattern pieces on top of my TNT dress pattern.
  • There are four pattern pieces that make up the front of the dress and after laying them on my TNT dress front I had to decide how to alter each piece to make them work.
  • My first thought was not to add any inches to the center insert. On the pattern envelope those center front seams curve, however, if you look at the line drawer above, those seams are straight. I decided to go with the straight version because it gave me some space and was a simple space addition to the pattern. 
  • The second piece I worked with was the top bodice piece because I only had to change the shoulder shape to match the change I made to the back piece.
  • The bottom skirt piece was next because it only needed width added at the center front seam.
  • The piece that presented the most challenge was the waist insert. Of course it was because besides my bustline that's where I carry the most weight. I made several alterations to the pattern and just couldn't decide if the changes would work. So since I have five yards of fabric, I cut the pattern piece both ways...extra large and medium large.

Smaller version of the waist insert

Larger version of the waist insert

I decided I would baste the dress front pieces together and the piece that worked best would be the one that I'd use. Fine piece of pattern altering that was - NOT! But I was getting beyond my spacial abilities. I just couldn't see how the pieces would work together and I'd rather have cut out two versions of the piece and switch out whichever one worked best.

After working with the pattern I decided that I wanted to make the short sleeve version of the dress, so the sleeve pattern also had to be altered to work with my bodacious biceps.
  • That was accomplished by making a pattern sandwich ~ my TNT sleeve pattern, then the Vogue 8995 sleeve pattern piece which I sliced and spread then a piece of tracing paper to make the new sleeve.  
  • This way I didn't alter the sleeve cap on the original pattern piece and the sleeve would still fit into the armhole.  
  • I just gave the sleeve width and additional length so that it would work for my body.

Pattern Sandwich

Sleeve traced

Finished sleeve

After all of this ~ which btw took most of the day, I moved onto cutting the fabric.  Cutting and construction will be in the next post. always more later!


  1. Hi Carolyn, I really love the silhouette of this pattern! Looking forward to seeing how it turns out and looks on you as I think it's going to look great especially after the amount of work you've put into making sure it fits just right on you :)

  2. I'm new to altering. Really appreciate the step by step pics and explanations.
    Great pattern!

  3. Hi! I am a new swedish follower. Also hate making muslims so I read your blog with interest. What is a TNT pattern? Made of yourself from your own measurement? Or what?
    Regards from early morning in Stockholm and Marianne

    1. A TNT pattern is a pattern that you've successfully sewn over and over again. I've been working with my dress pattern for over a decade so over time have adjusted it to fit my body the way I want a dress to fit.

    2. Thank you. Will try that.

  4. When I purchased this pattern I immediately thought of you and how you would interpret this one. I am eager to see it made up in your lovely spring fabric.

    1. BeaJay - this pattern is a lot of work but so worth it! You should definitely try it!

  5. Wow, I am in awe. This dress will be beautiful. Can't wait to see it sewn up. xx

  6. Sounds lovely. Can't wait to see it made up in that lovely green fabric.

  7. I like the suggestion of using a tnt pattern to determine changes. Makes so much sense. Can't wait to see the next steps

  8. I hate making muslins too, and try to do them only very occasionally. I think when you've been sewing for a while and especially if you have a TNT that you know what changes you need and the rest you just hope for the best! Usually works.....

  9. I hate making muslins, too, until I try them on and go "eek! It doesn't fit!" (Although I work with vintage patterns made for girdles and bullet bras, so the fit is always weird.) I found that having a "fitting shell" (like your TNT dress pattern) makes my life easier. Can't wait to see how that dress turns out!

  10. Can I say I feel vindicated? Since I've started sewing I have been told over and over that you "have" to muslin every pattern...But I don't wanna. AND there are many tales of woe over multiple muslins and then a final garment that doesn't fit. Meh.

    Anyway...can't wait to see yet ANOTHER fabulous dress.

    1. Nakisha - I think you are or you aren't a muslin sewist. I learned to sew using the flat pattern measuring technique and just have never ventured far from it. Also, I have limited time to sew...I'd never have anything finished if I made multiple muslins. But that's just me...I say do what works for you. If making a muslin works do it, if not then that's okay too!

    2. That happened to must recently. I should sew a dress in expensive silk and made a muslin in white cotton as the rules says. But the cotton did not behave the same way as the silk so it was useless. Think it is better to make so many adjustment you can find out on the pattern and then test the rest and change on the dress before you machinstitch it together. In any way this will be my new melody. I hate muslins.
      Marianne from Sweden

  11. Thanks for showing the process. It's very helpful to see how you do it. I'm not a musliner, either. I tissue-fit to get the general idea and then work from there. I know up front I'm going to have to add to the waist and probably to the biceps too. I look forward to seeing the next installment of this construction series:)

  12. I really appreciate all the info you shared here! I had a "duh" moment when I saw your sleeve alteration, that is something I should probably be doing on most of my patterns, but i hadn't realized I could increase the sleeve width without increasing the sleeve cap too. I guess I'm pretty new to sewing and alterations, but i feel like i should have been able to figure that one out on my own! thanks!

  13. Don't you just love days where you spend a good 10 hours pattern making? Good luck on the dress!

  14. Double check the hem on your sleeve, as it looks like it's going to rise up at the outside edge (just looking at the outside length difference between your top pattern and the split original piece underneath.

    I do half bodice muslins for totally new things (or I make little ones by just enlarging the layout pieces from the instructions) to see how it fits together/fits on me/how the devil does that work?

  15. I am also anti-muslin... i just don't have the patience. That and I just don't fully understand how to transfer the changes. Once I start studying more tailored garments I think I will be more willing to try a muslin.

    I was waiting for the Fall to make this pattern. Can't wait to see how yours turns out :-)

  16. Pattern sandwich! I love that! I'm actually doing a similar (same?) technique now to fix a make in progress, but she who names it claims it -- thanks for sharing your process, this was really helpful. :)

    As for muslins ... I muslined a pencil skirt, to make sure it would fit my giant caboose, and I'm muslining pants for the same reason. Otherwise, I'm a wearable muslin sort of lady, using fabrics I'm not in love with but like well enough. So if the 'muslin' works, I have a garment I like, and if it doesn't, I don't feel bad about trashing it.

  17. Nice pattern, makes me wish I had more time for personal sewing but may just have to add it to my line up. A word in support of muslins. I usually make my standard pattern alterations and then muslin in a similar weight fabric especially on garments that have unusual seaming or details that could cause fitting, or proportion concerns. Fitting is not the only issue you address in a muslin, where the seaming falls and the scale of details, like collars and pockets can be assessed in your muslin.


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