Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Birthday dress

This is a pattern I've been wanting to sew up for some time, and after making a few ponte dresses recently, I realised this would also work well. I didn't have a huge amount of time to make a dress for my birthday, so it occurred to me that this would be a good time to try it out - ponte dresses are a little more forgiving of fit so I tend not to muslin them, which would save time.

Pattern description

Vogue 8667: Lined, princess seamed dress with fitted bodice, A-line or straight skirt and back zip. Options of cap sleeves and bias-cut collar.

Pattern sizing

8-24. I cut the 16 at the bust, grading out to 18 at waist and hip. I'm glad I checked the finished measurements on the pattern pieces - it is described as a "fitted bodice", but has 3 inches of ease at both bust and waist, which seems like an awful lot (especially given I was making this in a stretch fabric). I cut it a size smaller than would be indicated by the size chart.

Fabric used

Printed ponte from

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope when you were done?


Were the instructions easy to follow?

I didn't look at the instructions much, but I did do a read-through and they were mostly ok. I did have a couple of quibbles though from what I saw though, one more minor and one a bit bigger... For all Burda's terrible instructions, at least they do normally tell you which side to press the seam towards. I was following the pictures in the instructions here and pressed the princess seams in the bodice towards the side pieces. It was only after I'd graded them and couldn't get them to lie nicely that I realised in the following pictures they were shown pressed open. Duh. And sort of annoying as I didn't need to grade them so much if I'd pressed it correctly.

The other issue I had was with the insertion of the lining. Although I didn't line this dress I did look at the instructions for future reference. The way they suggest to the lining is inserted in sections is really bizarre, meaning you would end up with exposed seams at the armscyes and a really ugly looking zip. I don't quite understand why they wouldn't suggest the lining was made up completely separately and inserted after the zip was put in.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

Likes: The drafting is nice and all the style lines flow nicely from bodice to skirt. I really like the pleats at the front of the skirt, I think they are very flattering - as is the neckline.

Dislikes: As already mentioned the method of inserting the lining is bizarre. For my preferences, there is also too much ease as drafted.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made

I made an FBA, rotated the back shoulder and neckline down to adjust for swayback, took in the back slightly at the waist, and made my usual forward shoulder adjustment to the armscye and sleeve head. I omitted the zip given I was making the dress in ponte, and therefore cut the centre back bodice on a fold. I decided not to line the dress as I would be wearing it with a slip (and I don't much like knit linings).

Construction details

As this dress involved a bit of easing in the princess seams and the sleeve caps (and the fabric doesn't fray or ravel), I constructed it all on my regular sewing machine, using a very narrow zig-zag stitch (avoiding the serger was also for ease of unpicking in case of adjustment, as I didn't want to make a muslin). To be honest, it probably would have been better to make it on the serger (or at least finish the seams on the serger), as this would have looked much neater on the inside. As it is, it's u-g-l-y on the inside. Oh well.

I finished the neckline with bias strip facing, topstitched down, and also finished the armscye seams with bias tape as they just looked way too ugly to be left unfinished. The shoulder seams were reinforced with grosgrain tape. I found that the sleeves and the hem were exactly the right length before finishing, so I finished these with stretch lace and bias tape facings respectively. The bias tape on the hem is reasonably heavyweight, so it also gives the hem a nice bit of structure. I used the "wrong" side of the lace on the sleeves as it is smoother.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I may well sew this again as I do like the fit and the shape (although the fit over my bust needs a bit of work), and I would like to try the collar. I will probably make it in a woven, with lining, if I do make it again. I would definitely recommend this to others - it is quick to sew and is a very flattering dress.


I really enjoyed wearing this for dinner and drinks with friends, and got a lot of compliments on it. I might try to adjust the fit over the bust a little before I wear it again though - whilst it's fine when I'm standing or sitting up with good posture, it looks a bit odd and wrinkly when I lean forward or slouch... (Just don't slouch then?). I love this print and colour, and the fabric is super comfortable to wear. All in all, a pretty successful make.


  1. Your dress looks so pretty! I've never sewn with ponte before but so many sewers are posting fabulous things with it. I just may have to try some. your fit on the dress looks great and thanks for the tips on the lining . :D Happy Birthday!