The “!” Dress

Pattern: Vogue 1194, a DKNY Design

Fabric: ITY knit (poly/lycra blend) 2 yards from fashionista fabrics

Leggings: Kohls

Shoes: Sofft

Everyone has a different reaction to being ill.  Some people like to watch daytime tv.  My husband goes to bed and sleeps for 3 days, at the end of which he is healed.   Personally?  I have a really hard time sleeping when I’m sick.  I can’t fall asleep when I can’t breathe, or when I’m coughing.  I do watch tv, but when I’m sick what I really want is to be distracted (but not with anything hard.)  I thought that working on some knit dresses would be good, because I don’t do muslins of knits, and the fit is usually forgiving.  It worked for yesterday’s dress, but this one?  Was a headache.

I really like the outcome – it’s comfortable and flattering, and while the neckline appears low it doesn’t actually show any cleavage at all (I’m wearing a vintage style bra, which shows in the middle on at least half my wardrobe, and it’s in no danger here.)  But I had to make significant alterations to get the fit and look I wanted.  There weren’t any finished measurements on the tissue, which should have been a bad sign, but I sewed it up anyway, figuring that the size 8 would be good enough (I often wear an 8 in Vogue patterns, and that’s the size recommended for me based on bust measurement.)  Well… it came out really big.  I ended up taking it in by 2 full inches in both the body of the dress and the sleeves.  The pattern calls for elastic to be inserted in the top and bottom of both the front twisted band and the back band.  I was doubtful the whole time, but I followed the pattern.  As it turned out, the elastic was a bad idea – it was visible from the outside, and didn’t really hold anything in.  I removed it from the back band, but kept it in the front, adjusting the width of the front band until it actually held in (I did not have to tack it down as the pattern calls for – I did at first, but it looked bad, and it works better if it’s the correct size that it holds itself in place.

I initially included the pockets, but they were causing an unflattering sort of saddle bag effect on the sides, so I took them out.  I cut 4 inches off the hem with my serger (it came out below the knees on me.)  I unthreaded the serger, marked my hem, and then used it to get an even trim.  I did not sew a hem – this fabric looks nicer unhemmed to me.  The net effect of removing the elastic, the pockets, and all the weight of that hem were to raise the empire seam to where  it’s supposed to be – the weight of the fabric was pulling it down, and this isn’t a heavy fabric.  The back band is not even with the twisted front band exactly, but I think that’s as it’s supposed to be – my pieces all lined up.  So it’s only truly empire waisted in the front.  The other alteration was to replace the interfacing on the front self facing with clear elastic, which works well enough I suppose.

I like this print – you can’t see that it’s made up of tiny exclamation points unless you get up close.  I like it with leggings, which was my intention when I shortened the dress.  I was a late one to embrace the return of leggings – after all, I did wear them the first time.  But I’ve grown accustomed to them now.  I wear them with short dresses and long tunics.  I’m not sure I recommend this pattern exactly – it’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that I question some of its constructions methods, and I think it runs big.  I’m getting pretty good at adjusting things to fit, but it’s better if I don’t have to!

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19 thoughts on “The “!” Dress

  1. Wow. This is a fantastic dress. I love the gathering at the shoulders. Sounds like it was a bit fussy to sew up though. I’m glad that slowly but surely you’re getting better.

  2. Ariel says:

    Your dress looks great!
    I made this pattern too and I had the exact same issues. I cut a 14 like always, and then had to go down 2 inches on each side as well. I didn’t like that the bands don’t match up, maybe next time I can adjust that.

  3. Well even though this one required a bit of altering to get it right, you did it! I really like this dress with the tights. It’s looks flattering, stylish, and comfortable. I love the previous knit dress too. Both look like perfect cooler weather pieces for you this fall/winter.

  4. I was also late to jump on the legging bandwagon, because like you I wore them the first time. I unfortunately caught the tail end of them last time and was also not at an age where I was dressing myself. I had bright purple stirrup leggings that I would often wear with a pink and neon green Minnie Mouse t-shirt and my hair in a “waterfall” ponytail. I should really find the pictures and thank my mother for that.

  5. Hey! Awesome dress, i like the front detail! I have a terrible time with knits. Ugh!

    Also, I just bought a pair of very similiar shoes at target (I think) and suspected they were sofft knock-offs – do they have an elasticy band and a funky, stringy, flowery thing!?

    I think I got your illness! It seems to be going around blog-land!

  6. I love that DKNY pattern. I have almost bought it, and then stopped myself…

    I am ill at the moment too. Something that involves earache, headache, glandsache, and loss of appetite (yeay for the latter). I really do not feel like sewing when I am ill, you are so lucky!

    By the way, the dress is gorgeous! And the little problems you mentioned are not visible ;)

  7. Your dress looks so flattering on you, and artsy in a good way! I love the leggings. Do you wear them in winter, with bare feet, or something else to keep your feet warm? I’d have to switch to tights because I’m always cold, but I don’t think it would have the same effect?

    I hope you feel better soon. I can’t sleep much either when I’m sick. If you can read or craft, it’s OK, but when I’m too sick to read, it makes me even more cranky.

  8. The effort was worth it – you look gorgeous in it. I really like it with leggings too – it keeps it kind of casual.

    Glad you’re feeling better – in the last few weeks I’ve had a cold and a stomach bug! It must be contagious via the blogging lines…..

  9. I have never thought of using my serger sans thread to get a neat cut hem – what a brilliant idea! Your dress looks gorgeous, what a great outcome given that you weren’t feeling well when making it (for me that is danger time for sewing, bad things occur!)

  10. I love this dress on you! It is one of my favorites of your recent dresses. I especially love it with the leggings. I have been inspired by your blog to wear more dresses lately, and even to take the plunge from knitting to sewing (I’ve done a little sewing before, but not much).

    One thing that is holding me back, though, is the price of patterns. Where do you buy yours? Do you have any tips for getting discounted patterns? I want to sew some of my own dresses, but it’s daunting knowing I could get two thrifted dresses for the price of one pattern!

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