30 June 2012

Vogue 7365 (or, the other ball dress)

Last year, I indulged my love of velvet when I made V7365. It took me a long time to get hold of good panne velvet, which I had to order online in the end. Here is the version I chose:

Now, I had my doubts when I saw the satin version on Vogue's website:

Aside from the tacky oh-so-shiny pink satin, the dress looks really ill-fitting around the stomach and hips and the shape of the halter is not very flattering. Everything about this look is, let's face it, bad. However, I loved the back of the version I chose enough to go for it: I crossed my fingers that velvet would work better with the design. Luckily, the gamble paid off! I wore this dress last year for a white tie ball (I've never felt so dangerous and sassy as wearing three-quarter length black gloves: I felt like I was the killer in an episode of Poirot!) and this year for a black tie ball, sans gloves and fur stole.

I hemmed the dress for wearing with high heels when I made it but this year I wore flats. I can't bring myself to chop off a couple of inches in case I want to wear it with heels again. When I made up a muslin, that baggy stomach area I noted in the picture on Vogue's website was indeed present. I came up with a simple solution, but I ummed and ahhed about it for ages because I thought that I was committing a cardinal pattern sin. Technically, a bias cut dress, which this is, shouldn't need darts, but a 7" dart from under the bust to an inch above my hip bones seemed to sort the problem out. I was worried that it would affect the drape, but when I made it up in the velvet there was no such problem. Also, the pile of the velvet hides the sewing lines of the darts, but I think they would be too noticeable if I had made this dress in satin. The great thing about panne velvet, which has a slight stretch to it, is that it hugs in the right places. Look at another photo from Vogue's website:

Look at the strange warping of the fabric around that side back area and the way the v of the dress back stands away from the indent of the model's back. It is beyond me why Vogue recommend crepe backed satin when the photo seems to suggest that a stretchless fabric does not quite work with the design of the pattern. My muslin (also a stretchless fabric) gaped at the side and I was worried there might be a lotta boob on view. However, salesman-and-representative-of-all-things-velvet that I am, the slight stretch of the velvet seemed to eliminate the gaping.

In the photo above you can see a little bit of gapey-ness. You can also see evidence of some seriously lazy pressing. There shouldn't be ripples down the centre front of the skirt! You'd think Vogue would do their utmost to show you a picture of something perfect to make sure you want to buy it...

I've never been that aware of the difference in the length of my legs but in this picture it is quite obvious that my right leg is longer. Maybe I should start altering my patterns to accommodate this? I will also tack the halter and underarm straps where they meet so they don't drift to the side, as they have done here.

The dress is lined with silk habutai. I thought that the velvet was quite bulky so the suggested charmeuse lining would be too thick.

I made a little matching bag (or 'ball sack' as my bf has named it - not exactly the height of wit) out of left over velvet and a sheet of flexible plastic that was packaging for some coloured paper I had bought. Thrifty! I put some decorative trim lengthways down the bag and some scalloped lace around the top. Seeing as velvet is self-finishing (i.e. it doesn't fray) all I had to do was cut some small vertical slits around the neck of the bag and thread some ribbon through. And I cheated and used the selvedge as the neck of my bag so I didn't have to turn it over (and handily the selvedge is strong, so it won't distort if there are any heavy things in the bag. Genius! And finally, here is a close-up of the hair, which is actually very easy. Here's how with the lovely Lilith.

So what have I learned from this project? 
1. Just because something is a sewing crime in principle (i.e. darts on bias fitted piece) it doesn't mean it won't work! 
2. Always look beyond the pictures in the pattern catalogue. 
3. Use those pictures as evidence of fit problems before you start, although if the garment is being modelled it has usually been tested. If you don't see the garment made up in the catalogue, it has probably not been tested. 
4. Velvet is great (but I already knew that). 

 Alix xxx


  1. Hi,

    I'm trying to get hold of this pattern to use for my wedding dress and I can't find it anywhere. I wondered if you would consider selling me your patter (if you still have it!) or letting me make a copy of it and I'd send it straight back to you?

    Thanks for your help!


    1. Hi Heather,

      Firstly, what a great pattern you've chosen! If you are still interested, I think I have the pattern somewhere in my stash. It's been cut in a Vogue size 10, if that is of use to you?


    2. Hi,

      I have desperately trying to find this pattern everywhere ASAP!

      I was wondering if you could post it to me ( i am more than happy to pay for return postage) and I could make a copy and send it back to you.?



    3. Hi Lani,

      As mentioned above, the parts for view B have been cut in a size 10 if that's of use to you? Email me at seambyseamblog@gmail.com if you are still interested.