Monday, August 4, 2014

Shingle dress - the base

Up next is Vogue 8904, the Marcy Tilton shingle dress.

Before getting my hands on the pattern envelope I had not realized that it is designed as a tank dress with applied layers, so that it is at least two layers of your fashion fabric everywhere.

The fabric I intend to use is striped but has a bit of a puckered texture that would undermine the intended rather sleek look of this dress.

So, I went stash-diving, looking for a smooth and stretchy fabric.  And I came up with power mesh.

Now, don't laugh too hard, people.  It's smooth and stretchy, will not show through, and will be a distinctly firm base for this sleek dress.  Might, in fact, help keep it sleek, if you get my drift.  It will not curl at the hem.  And it's not hot to wear either.  

Wow, ugly!
I studied the pattern envelope carefully and flat measured the pieces (made easy by the fact that they are not half patterns to be cut on the fold). I realized that the intended fit is below zero ease at the bust with front and back having precisely the same horizontal dimension.  At the hip, the fit is zero ease.  At the waist, it's almost baggy.

I cut based on my body measurements i.e. 10 at bust, 12 below, and added very generous seam allowances. Then I sewed it up and tried it on (inside out so I could fix the seams).

This is after I unpicked the side seams at bust level and scootched the front pieces inwards to give myself about 2cm more width.  I think I need a couple more.

I also sewed it in about 2cm at each side through the ribs to high hip.  I might sew myself a bit more room at the hip to keep it a bit looser than skin tight.

The front neck was gapping very noticeably so I sewed a dart that is approximately 1cm at the top.

And the back.  Well what do you know, even Vogue's pencil shaped model has wrinkling at the back waist.  And so, not being pencil shaped, do I.  It is completely inevitable in a single pattern piece per side dress with no darting.

I am, however, sewing a horizontal fisheye dart at the waist.  If you embiggen the photo at left you will be able to pick it out.  My goal is to remove just some of the excess.  My first attempt was a total of 2cm at CB but it wasn't enough.  Now I've taken out at least 3.5.  And there is still wrinkling, but no more than on the pencil shaped lady.

And finally, I shortened it so it is somewhere between the mini of View A and the dowdy of View B.

I will now modify the base and shingles accordingly, hoping that the more forgiving stretch of my fashion fabric won't be a  hopeless mismatch with my chosen base.  See you on the other side.


  1. I think the power mesh is a great idea! I look forward to seeing your progress. I have some textured knit I want to use on this and I will also need something smooth for the base.

  2. I've wanted to make that dress since last summer so I am very interested in your process.

  3. Having a layer underneath will also keep the dress smooth.
    And your version will be smooth both front and back with your adjustments. Great pick up on fit.
    You've spurred me onto to try my pattern out - when it gets a bit warmer here.

  4. I'm a big believer in Power Mesh. Roland Mouret famously used them to line his "Galaxy" dresses, so you're in good company. The finished product looks great!