Frankenstein Pencil Dress!! Vogue V8789 and "Great British Sewing Bee" Pencil Skirt Patterns

Sunday, 7 July 2013

This dress has been a long time coming dudes!

The dress is a Mash-Up of Vogue V8789 (view B) and the "Great British Sewing Bee" book's Pencil Skirt patterns

I decided I had wanted to try my hand at my first Full Bust Adjustment, as I do indeed have a full bust. Patternwise, my high bust is a 12 and my bust a 16 so I chose the V8789 pattern as the bodice had clean simple lines, and a horizontal and vertical dart, which is what I was most familiar with adjusting. I realised when I started that the bodice was supposed to have buttons and loops at the shoulders, with neck facings, but I fore-went that, and did a regular shoulder and full lining. 

I did the FBA as I had been shown in my classes (Thanks CL!). As in the class I ended up with the darts being quite large. I did about 1" of an adjustment (I suppose thats 2" in total), but when I looked back, we had only done 3/4" in class. I could've probably got away with 3/4" actually, but the extra doesn't do me any harm. 
I love a good deep breath. 
I did sew this bodice up, but once it was done, I was worried it was giving me square boob. I have a haphazard pic I took of it pinned to my dressform. 

So I decided to go back and put in a third dart, a french one, as that's what we chose to do in the class and it gave some nice shaping. I pulled out my shift dress pattern to lay in front of me so I could ensure I was doing it right. This pic is a before and after - (but they're laid out after and before!). For safety I decided to recut the bodice as I had loads of fabric.

I used a Houndstooth wool(ish) fabric I got in Walthamstow for about £1.50/m if I remember correctly. Thankfully it pressed fine and didn't melt or anything, although the thread I used sizzled when I put the iron on it first. Must have been pure polyester or something. Thankfully I was just the ends but they did melt to my iron and I had to scrape them off!
I did have some issues transferring the markings, so I pinned the fabric and pattern down on my corkboard, pulled the pattern off and used chalk pencils to draw the darts between the pins. 

I always like to make things difficult for myself. 
Note to self. Buy more plain fabrics.

I used a beautiful mauve poly-satin for the lining. I love the colour, and wish I'd bought more. It was £2.75/m on Goldhawk Rd. I went back, but they don't have this colour anymore. Sad Face.

I attached the lining to the skirt and bodice separately and then put the two halves together. 
I matched up at the side seams, and the bodice ended up a little big for the skirt front, and the the skirt was far too big for the bodice back. Wonderful.

For the front, I deepened the vertical darts slightly, for the back, I hacked off the extra. 
Houndstooth is good for this, I just followed the squares! 

I  topstitched around the armsholes and the back neck, but I left the front neckline free as I wanted it to look seamless. Unfortunately, somehow the neckline was sooooo high, it would've been choking me. It also would have looked completely ridiculous. I got my french curve and drew a haphazard new neckline on the inside and hacked off the excess. 
I thought it was going to be a disaster, but the sewing gods were looking down upon me, and somehow - SOMEHOW - it ended up perfectly even and even seems to flow along the houndstooths. God only knows how that happened, as I am not exaggerating the haphazardness.

I did an invisible zip, and got really anal about it, as I couldn't get close enough and it kept gaping. So I repeated my (pre-concealed zipper foot) trick of holding the zip coil open with the presser foot clamp, and going down stitch by stitch, aiming the right place, and moving the needle with the wheel.

That was fine and dandy on the side where the feed dogs moved it along. A little harder work on the side where the feed dogs wouldn't move it along, and I also had to move the fabric along by hand inbetween stitches. I swear it works really well overall!

I was worried about the dress being too snug, so I only did a 1cm seam allowance on the back.

I avoided sewing in the linings for a bit, as I couldn't face it. Its one of those things I hate the thought of until I start and then I find it really therapeutic. Also helps if you put it on the dressform and watch Criminal minds at the same time. By this point I'm not feeling too accurate and I kind of just wing it, and fold up bit by bit without measuring. I do make sure I don't pull too tight, and it's roomy, but still. Naughty.

I normally do a narrow hem, but I usually work with light cottons! I decided to try a bias bound hem, as I was worried about the "wool" being too bulky double-folded. Happily  it was beautifully neat. My best ever stitching and no one can see inside! I took pics for proof though. Thankfully most of the stitching is running through the black squares on the right side so it's almost invisible. 

Smack bang in that crease. 

To be honest. Up until finishing, I wasn't loving this dress. 
I was worried the bust apex was too low, I couldn't press out the darts how I wanted, I took ages to get through it, but once it was done - Hot Damn!! (in the words of Miss Demeanour)

I love it

I wore it to London yesterday to meet The Spoolettes and I was comfy all day. The waist is nice and fitted, but just enough room, the neck is comfy and the length is just right, and that was a complete fluke. 
Clearly I need to wear a bra with thinner straps though! lol

Not the best pics, I'm not exactly standing straight!!
But at least I'm looking really really happy. The Spoolettes will have that effect on you.

Thanks everyone for the encouragement to finish it! It was definitely worth it.

What next?



  1. Very pretty! I wish I could sew. x

    1. Start! Its so great... And you can surprise yourself with how quick you progress!

  2. looks really great. well worth all the effort. :)

  3. Hey hey this turned out stunning. Three darts is a very cool touch.

  4. This is gorgeous! you should be very proud of your creation xxx

  5. Wow what a thorough job you did, great blog post on this dress' journey! I thought it looked really ace yesterday, love the fabric and the double dart effect. Looked really stunning on you! Lots of love my fellow Spoolette xx

  6. What a gorgeous dress! The third dart really works.

  7. It turned out perfect and looked so gorgeous in real life. I love how striking that third dart is!

    1. Thank you! I didn't realise it was unusual until now :)

  8. So unusual with the three darts, I have seen this dress in real life so I can vouch for how fabulous it is! You look great love x

    1. Thanks hun, Loved the one you wore on Saturday too!

  9. What a gorgeous dress! I love the three darts, they work really well, and it looks great on you.


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