Sunday, November 10, 2019

A complicated project

I decided I'd go to Frocktails Montreal. It's next week. Naturally I'd need a new frock.

Stash diving ensued.

Do you know that I own many Ralph Rucci patterns but had never taken one out to actually make? And that for quite a few years, I had a particular piece of fabric mentally earmarked for one of them? It's Vogue 1239, a very quirky wrap dress with distinct kimono influence.

Take a look at the line drawing - such INTERESTING seams! This is a pattern with darts that need to be slashed before being sewn (because they change direction mid-way) and it has topstitching everywhere. It is fully lined and the lining pieces have the same quirky details. The instructions extend to 67 paragraphs.

This pattern is rated "Average"??? Vogue has lost its mind! But I love a sewing challenge and it has been a while since I've had one.

I discovered that I bought the fabric in 2007 (the bill was still folded with the fabric) at a sadly now gone Montreal store called Tissus Tuéni. That was a beautiful store with such interesting and very high quality fabric choices. The proprietor (very European) hand-wrote the bill in spiky longhand.

I also discovered that I had purchased 2.5 metres of the fabric. Oops. The pattern calls for 4.0 metres! Did I say that I love a challenge?

The recommended layout for this dress is bizarre. It turns out that 1.5 metres is what's needed for the excessively long and bias-cut belt. Who needs a self fabric belt? Not me! My 2.5 metres is exactly the right amount for just the dress, including rudimentary pattern matching.

Click to zoom in for more detail!
I wish I knew exactly what the composition of this fabric is. It has some wool, for sure, but the woven-in pattern in a shiny fibre is something else, like maybe rayon, or acetate? Dunno. The contrast between the ridged and woolly texture of the background and the satiny sheen of the irregular squares is one of the reasons why I was attracted to the piece. The fact that the woven-in squares contain further woven-in patterns that look like, but evidently are not actually letters is another. The rich orange-y rusty colour was something that appealed greatly to me at the time, which is lucky, because further stash diving revealed that I had also bought, maybe a few years later, many skins of lamb leather in pretty much exactly the same colour!

You see where I'm going with the leather, don't you? The belt. A friend loaned me a belt she had picked up that is an elongated curved obi, with ties that wrap around. I have a big can of rubber cement and some stiffer leather for structure, and the belt is partly done.

I absolutely must finish this dress this weekend, so will reveal the entire thing in a later post. À plus tard...


  1. I can't wait to see the finished project! I also have a couple of RR patterns that I haven't made and keep thinking I should pull this one out to make. Love seeing it sewn up in a fabric that's so different from the pattern envelope.

  2. I love that pattern and look forward to seeing you version. Have fun at frocktails!

  3. Your fabrics and colour are stunning. I can't wait to see the finished outfit. Wishing you a productive weekend sewing and fun at Frocktails!

  4. What a challenging project! You've chosen perfect textiles to pull this together beautifully. It truly was meant to be and I look forward to seeing it. That color will be so attractive on you.

  5. I also have this pattern neatly folded in its envelope. I can't wait to see the finished dress, especially since that fabric is exquisite.

  6. Woohoo, nothing like a deadline! Looks great. I have another (Montreal related) question, so feel free to answer/email me later once the dress is done. Hubby and I are heading to Montreal for a few days after Christmas - I've been before independently and loved the vibe and the fabric and the food. So....fabric recommendations? I have a few on a list that I want to visit again but am looking for knits generally as well as stretch wovens. I sew knit tops and dresses mostly, my own bras and am branching into pants but like a little stretch in there. I'm a high school Foods Studies teacher so clothes that move with me and are comfortable/professional in that kind of crazy environment is what I'm looking for. I made it to Globe-Tex Enterprises the last time I was in Montreal and scored....but any other suggestions? Thanks so much!

  7. What an amazing, fun challenge!

    Will you show how you made the belt? I've wanted an obi-style belt for forever but just never took the plunge to try to figure it all out.

  8. Oh, I'm so glad you explained why this pattern looks like such a fabric hog! I, too, purchased it upon first release ... since then, it has sat at the front of my Fancies & Favorites pattern drawer. If the dress its ownself only takes about 3 yards of fabric, the task of making up the pattern is not insurmountable.

    And, of course, one can always cobble together a cummerbund-style obi to cinch in what would be my waist if I still had one.

  9. This looks wonderful, cant wait to see it . Its also a beyond fashion stylish dress that can be trotted out fro special events fro years to come . Well done . Love thee belt idea . post soon !!!