Vogue 8805: Color blocking and proportions

Pattern: Vogue 8805

Fabric: Linen (pink and turquoise) and Linen/rayon (navy) from SR Harris

Notions: Ambiance lining fabric

Notes:

I have fallen in love with all the pretty color blocked dresses in the stores right now.  I’d been dreaming of making one, so this pattern (by Vogue) seemed made for me!

I knew that I wanted to use linen.  While I usually would default to ponte for this sort of dress, I don’t like wearing ponte in the summertime (so hot!)  I was also envisioning something like the Kate Spade Hana dress:

I wasn’t wanting a copy (or those pockets – odd placement!) but I liked the breezy feel of the original.   My only initial alteration was to take up the shoulder seams by 1″ total.  This is a common alteration for me – I do it on nearly every pattern.  I apparently have shorter shoulders than average.  I also added a full bemberg rayon lining.  I cut it in two pieces – one for the middle and bottom segments, and another for the top (it was easier this way than taking out that seam.)  The lining is attached at the neck and tacked to the side seams with thread loops.  I fit the lining before making the dress to check for alterations.  I found none, but was displeased with the initial dress:

(Please excuse my expression – I took these yesterday, and I was having a glasses sort of day!)  I felt like the finished dress was a little matronly.  The fit was fine – it’s loose but not too oversized.  The kimono sleeves aren’t bad.  But I felt like the proportions were off somehow.

After a lot of staring in the mirror, I decided that the issue was the turquoise band.  It’s larger than the coral band on the top, and the assymetry doesn’t work for me (is this the golden ratio at work?  I’ve never been good with that!)  I decided that I needed to shorten the bottom piece to be roughly the same size as the top.  This would also raise the hemline, which is a good thing – I follow the rule that the more shapeless the dress, the shorter it needs to be.  I marked a new hem 3.5 inches shorter than the old, and here are the results (also seen in the first photo):

It’s just the way it looked in my head!  Note that the turquoise band is in much better proportion here – it’s about the same width as the coral (including sleeves.)  I cut a size 8 on top (with shorter shoulders) and a 10 at the hips.  It fits really well – not enormous, but it doesn’t cling anywhere.  I’m really glad for the lining, which adds to the cool summer feel and helps with wrinkling (doesn’t eliminate it, but helps.)

Here is the back:

When I sewed the lining to the dress at the neck, I was careful to set the edges of the back slit in a quarter inch so they don’t show.  I hemmed them before attaching to the dress.  The dress is fastened with a brooch in the back.  The patter calls for a hook and eye, but I hate sewing them on and will use almost anything else (a thread loop and button could also be really cute here!)  Even with the slit, it’s still a little tight going over my head.  Keep in mind, I have a giant head (I had to order an extra large for my graduation hat.)  Still, it’s a little small.  It should probably be extended, or alternately you could do a zipper.  It’s also possible that my shoulder alteration is the issue here, and yours would be fine.  It’s hard to say!

I recommend this pattern – it was dead simple, even with adding a full lining.  I do recommend thinking about proportions with any color blocking project.  Even little things like where you place the darkest color can make a big difference!

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33 thoughts on “Vogue 8805: Color blocking and proportions

  1. It is about the proportion! Good job getting it right on this dress. I would have made a drastic call, probably gotten it wrong, and worn the dress anyway. LOL

  2. This is great on you! I love your color combo and shortening the bottom band really works for you. Thanks for giving me a great path to follow!

  3. Your dress is stunning! You did a great job with picking that colour combo and shortening the hem did a massive positive result. Very beautiful! I think you have inspired me to make a colour blocked dress too :)

  4. I never noticed this pattern before, I might need to add this to my to do list ( as if it’s not big enough). I love this dress, the color combo works perfectly together and the long necklace is a great accent to break it up.

  5. Great colors and great call on shortening the bottom band. This looks to be a perfect, breezy summer dress.

    (I’ve got to get to SH Harris… it’s so close, I just need to block off some time to dig!)

  6. Great colours. I had to look twice to see the difference between the two versions, and yet the final one is clearly so much better. Amazing how such a subtle change makes all the difference. It’s a really cute dress.

  7. Jane's sew & tell says:

    Looks lovely. All the colours go so well together and you were completely right to shorted the turquoise piece.

  8. Mary says:

    The dress makes you look happy just wearing it. Joining other commenters in congratulating you on your discernment about the color block proportions and your color choices. Great job.

  9. Great looking dress, lovely color choices. The shortened bottom color band really makes a big difference, in a good way, to the appearance of the dress.

  10. The dress looks great! I have been following your blog for awhile and I think you are so talented and inspiring! I’m trying out the whole sewing blog thing for myself now that I follow so many sewing blogs and I’m inspired to sew a lot more. Hopefully I’ll be able to keep up with it as well as you do!

  11. Katherine says:

    This is very cute. Much better with the shorter hem. Might have to start rummaging through my stash to copy…

  12. Cute! I think shortening the blue band really changed the look and made it work much better. Do you generally line your dresses? I finally finished sewing the denim sheath dress that I emailed you about regarding the placement of bust darts. It took me quite a while to feel enthused about anything after my dog died, so it sat there on the table for a couple of months. I had such fun wearing the dress though, that I became inspired to sew another, so I am working on that now, in between my day job and knitting another Wispy Cardi by Hannah Fetig (third one!). Also, the home dec post was interesting. I favor the lightest grey.

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