Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vogue 8343 Five Easy Pieces Pattern Dress

I've probably had this pattern in the pattern stash for seven years since the copyright date is 2006.  Of course it's now out of print, but the reason I purchased it was because it's one of the Five Easy Pieces patterns. You know the patterns that come with a complete set of wardrobe coordinates.  I bought it because I wanted to make the skirt, top, dress and jacket. It's a great pattern for the corporate type workplace I live in.

I started with the dress. The fabric I'm using has been in the collection for a minute.  How long though I can't tell you because its missing the information tag that I usually place on the fabric.  

Materials List ~
Medium weight brown knit

22" brown invisible zipper
lightweight fusible knit interfacing strips
3.5" black faux leather strips

Pattern Alterations ~  
First, I added an inch to the turtleneck portion of the dress. I wanted to insure that the dress had a true turtleneck not a mock one.

When tissue fitting, I realized that the dress was midi length on me so I cut 3" off the hemline of the dress.

All of the pattern pieces were laid on my TNT front and back dress pieces to insure that there was enough width to the pattern pieces. In various places a half inch or more was added in the waist or hip area so that the V8343 pieces would work on my body.

Construction Techniques ~
The main thing about this dress is that it's a knit dress with a good bit of stretch and I wanted to tame portions of that stretch so that it would play well with the non-stretchy fabric.  To do this I added 1" strips of fusible knit interfacing to the side seams and the center back seams of the knit fabric.  It stabilized the fabric and allowed me to insert the invisible zipper, as well as, add the leather bands without a problem.

My non-stretchy fabric was the 3.5" faux leather bands that I added to the sides of the dress and to the sleeve hems.  I was a little short on fabric after cutting out the main dress pieces. So when I cut the sleeves out, I knew I was going to add something to lengthen the sleeves. 

After stitching the princess seams together, I realized that the dress would fit but it would be really tight. Now I know that tighter fitting garments is the new norm but I'm not comfortable in too tight clothing, not only because I don't believe in sharing my rolls with other people but also because it's not a good look for a corporate office like mine. 

That's when I came up with the idea to add the 3.5" faux leather bands down the sides of the dress, as well as, the sleeves.  Of course when I first pinned and stitched the bands to the sides of the dress, I did a straight 3.5" from top to bottom, which made the top of the dress too loose.  So I went in and took the excess out...as you can see in the picture below...

...this solved my problem with the fit in the top and the bottom of the dress. So you see those side gussets in the Olivia Pope top had its genesis in this dress.

One more thing about the sleeves is that I used the jacket sleeve pattern instead of the dress sleeve because I was to lazy to increase the bicep on the dress sleeve.  The jacket sleeve had enough room in the biceps but of course the sleeve cap was larger than the actual sleeve opening.  To solve this challenge, I added pleats to the sleeve caps. It worked but the shoulders are drooping down my arm.

At this point, I know that I need to take the sleeves out and reinsert them...but I'm about done with this dress especially since it fits like a tent. It's not working out the way that I envisioned so I'm trying to decide whether or not to finish and donate it or trash it.  Also, it's a reminder that winter just won't go away and I'm so ready for it to be gone.

A few pictures of the dress as it is now...

Full view of the dress with the princess seaming and leather bands

Neckline pinned with the elastics I was going to add as loops for buttons

I thought I would show a failure since my last make was such a success. Even I can produce a dog now and then! I think I'm going to let it sit through the summer and see if I want to finish it next winter because it will work with these pieces...

...as always more later!


  1. The Olivia Pope put you on Olympus with the sewing gods and goddesses, so I'm surprised to learn that you have a make you don't like. Thanks for sharing it anyway!

    And I agree with you about winter. I keep thinking I should go out and buy new snow boots just to make the flowers start blooming!

  2. I know that feeling - when a project doesn't work it's a bit miserable, but with this weather it's an utter affront. This happened to me a couple of weekends ago and I've been knitting instead ever since :-)

  3. Thank you for sharing your misses as well as your incredible hits! Though I can't help but notice your perfectly inserted invisible zipper ... No matter what you do with this project (though, I bet you can make it work), it's yet another example of beautiful stitching.

  4. I think you should let it marinate. Tuck it away and then one day you'll look at it with fresh eyes. I love how you incorporate mixed fabrics though. I have yet to venture down the road! I just admire you all from afar :)

  5. I'm sad this isn't working for you because I've been looking forward to seeing it. This wardrobe pattern is a great one. If letting in marinate will stomp on the mojo - then trash it. Otherwise let is sit until the time if right. It could be amazing! g

  6. The leather bands were a great idea - such a shame it's not working out. Not every project is meant to be, eh? I too appreciate that you shared a fail with us - and as makingtheflame said, it is nonetheless a piece of beautiful craftsmanship.

    The last picture is a-ma-zing!

  7. if nothing else, save it and cut a skirt from the fabric

    it is a nice dress

  8. Well, I'd vote for letting it sit, with no shame in tossing it if you feel it starting to weigh on you. I love the color of it, so I'd hate to see it go for that reason alone. Sounds like there are a lot of good ideas going on in this garment.

  9. I like all the pieces... I'm mad that this isn't in mys stash....

  10. I really appreciate seeing the fails as much as the success stories. Tells the whole story of sewing; so often nice details end up in fail work, and those nice details are too sweet to ignore. Thank you!

    I keep meaning to do a search and a post about hair elastics in sewing projects; I had long hair, I had a billion of them, and they just keep leaping into projects. So much so I had to go BUY more of them, as I ran out.

  11. I think it's so important that we sewists share our hits as well as misses. Aside from proving we are human it let's us all learn together. Working thru the issues shows persistence and I admire that in you, Carolyn. It's too easy to declare "wadder" when with a little bit of hard work we can turn things around.

  12. Hi Carolyn, thank you so much for sharing this. I was just at an ASG meeting on Saturday and they were explaining encouraging us to make our designs our own and to be creative. This post reminds me just of that. As a new sewist, my first thought it so make something look just like the pattern envelope. This detailed blog helps me open up my thought process. I would have never thought to add insets, leather ect. Also to go back in and tweak the fit. Thanks again and keep information like this (the good, bad, and ugly) coming. It inspires all of us to keep plugging along and honing our sewing skills!

  13. Fails happen. Wouldn't it be boring if everything was so easy peasy?

  14. I hope that you can make this work next winter. The fabric and style should look great on you. Like others, thanks for sharing your failure. You have so many successes!

  15. I can't see why it is a failure. Especially the skirt - it is gorgeous. Perhaps wearing them separately? Maybe the skirt with your pale lemon twin set (Am I imagining that you have a pale lemon twin set??) Your new project is looking good.

  16. Donate it rather than trash it, if you are really over it (I know that feeling). Someone will love and treasure it, so all's well that ends well.

  17. Fits like a tent is never good but tents tend to have lots of possibilities. I hope the perfect idea comes your way.

  18. How disappointing and hope that you can work out a way to fix it!

  19. It might not be a wearable effort, but I really love your creativity and the idea to add the leather as accents is fabulous.

  20. I just love these multi piece patterns. You can do so much with them. Love the idea of adding leather gussets and trim to the dress. I know the finished product will be spectacular. Can't wait to see it.

  21. Seems to me after reading all these wonderfully supportive comments; it's win/win! You will figure it out, just know that what ever you decide... we stand behind you all the way! I too am envious of your perfect zipper... love the fabric too.


Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment! It is so appreciated!


Related Posts with Thumbnails