While we love making our own patterns here at Jane White Couture Tuition we also use commercial patterns. Vintage Vogue and Retro Butterick are popular.

Personally I like something a bit qwerky and Vogue V1410 caught my eye. The silhouette is one that suits my ‘inverted triangle’ figure. The fullness at the hip balances me out and gives the illusion that I do actually have a waist. Understanding your own body shape and what styles suit is so important to a successful project and a key area we look at in all classes and on the City & Guilds Fashion courses.

A bit of a (polite) luke-warm response from the ladies didn’t put me off! I quick look at www.patternreview.com showed a positive response with some caveats. The feedback is that it is very generously sized and the shoulder placement isn’t quite right for everyone.

My measurements on the envelope came out as a 14 (bear in mind that some pattern sizing is smaller than commercial garment sizing) but referring to the actual garment measurements marked with the circular/cross symbol at the bust, waist and hip lines is helpful if you are not sure which size to go for. I chose size 8 but used 1.5cm instead of 2cm side seam allowances. I also folded out the armhole curve and the neckline to help them sit into the body better.

The dress is very long if you are petite, remembering petite is 5’4″ in the fashion industry.

I drew lines at regular intervals across the front and back and turned the pattern up on these lines. You need to understand your body proportions to do this successfully and fitting is a core activity at all workshops. Turning up the pattern knocked out the shape of the side seams. This is not a problem, I used a French curve to re-draw them in a smooth line. For the very petite ladies I also reduce the width of the pattern.

I thought the design was crying out for a pocket in a side seam so added one! This is an easy adaptation to do.

My first garment, in a jazzy floral print, was a big hit and the doubters where convinced! Now with the title class ‘mad’  dress, numerous versions are in production and, other than for the ladies with a very full bust, it’s been a style and fitting success.

My comments:

For a £15 designer Vogue pattern, whilst it is a simple style, I was disappointed with the scant construction techniques. The instruction to neaten and turn under the neck and armhole edges is a big no no for me. They will not lie flat on a curve and on a deeply curved neckline will not hug the body but turn out.

I chose to add an interlined neck facing which makes the curved neckline much more stable. I bound the armholes on all 4 (yes 4!).  I will be showing you how to do my neat and easy ‘up and over’ binding method along with lots of other nifty ‘couture’ skills at the Couture Dressmaking Skills Sew Short Course on 2 October.

If you would like to make your own version why not join me at one of the friendly and fun Sewing Bee Workshops or book a Sew Personal lesson.

All in all a fabulous garment, especially if you are in need of something qwerky and quick.