Pattern: Vogue 2333, vintage circa 1979 (the pattern is undated, but this is my best guess!)
Fabric: Navy rayon matte jersey from Fashion Fabric Club, 2.5 yards
Notions: 1/4″ elastic
Notes: I adore Diane Von Furstenberg. Her dresses are easy to wear and flattering – plus, she seems to love a print just as much as I do! In the 1970s and 80s, Vogue patterns licensed quite a few of her designs for their catalog. Some, such as the infamous wrap dress, go for high prices on Ebay. This one? Not so much. I think I paid $5 including shipping. This style is back again. I have to say that I’m glad – I think these drapey dresses look great on so many women! My favorite part is the neckline.
I bought this fabric a few months ago, with this dress specifically in mind. The designer uses lots of silk jersey for her dresses, and a nice rayon matte jersey is a good sub. It’s hard to find rayon matte jersey for a good price (I hate the poly stuff) so I snatched this up for $4 a yard! I was feeling a little frustrated with my sewing this week (though that Vogue dress is now finished, photos to come later) so I wanted an easy project. I was a bit wary that the pattern said “very loose fitting,” but I liked the photo so I forged ahead.
They weren’t playing around with the ease on this thing – the finished bust measurement is 40″ on a size 10. However, since part of that is eaten by the cowl and the kimono sleeves, it actually fits quite well. The neckline is wide, and can be worn that way or with more of a drapey cowl (as in the pattern photo below.)
I made a few alterations to modernize the pattern. First, I saw that the pattern said it fell “5 inches below mid-knee.” In my opinion, that’s an unflattering length for a straight skirt, so I shortened by 5 inches before cutting. I still have the side slits, mine just aren’t as long. I also chose to use a separate belt, rather than the included belt (the belt pattern is really short, meant for you to use a ring closure rather than tying it together.) I think it would also look great with a contrasting skinny belt. I’m on the lookout for yellow and red patent skinny belts to try!
Since I used a knit, I didn’t do any of the called for hand sewing. My hems are machine hemmed – not my absolute favorite, but I don’t like how a blind hem looks on a knit. I finished all my seams with the serger, because this knit had a slight tendency to shred. The instructions were very clear, though I confess I changed them at times (I did not, for instance, use stay tape on the pockets… I just ran a line of stay stitching.)
Should you decide to make this pattern, I recommend not trying it on before adding the waist elastic. It is… not so flattering that way. I don’t think it would work to leave it out and just belt it either, because the dress is so heavy that it stretches out without the support of the elastic.
Is it a bit 70s? Yes, but fashion is enjoying a real revival of these styles. I’ve worn this dress all day, and it’s both comfortable and flattering. Sometimes vintage patterns don’t go well, but this one is a real keeper I think!