Self Assembly Required

DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

The Vogue 1354 AKA Kicking off the holiday season in style!

When I was approached by Spoonflower a few weeks ago to participate in their holiday blog tour I just couldn’t say no!

The theme was simple – what’s everyone making this holiday season?

I thought I’d start us off with a fabulous holiday party dress!

I’d picked up an Anne Klein for Vogue pattern a while back – the 1354 to be precise. I had no plan in mind with it, it just looked like an interesting pattern using techniques I hadn’t used before. It’s one that required yards of chiffon and lots of hand tacking and just seemed like a very big project!

So it’s obviously the perfect choice for when you’ve got a deadline to meet! LOL 😂

The hardest part of any new Spoonflower project is deciding on the fabric! It had to be chiffon for this pattern so that was relatively easy but what design to choose? I spent hours perusing all the designs before deciding on what I wanted (it was down to either the watercolour mermaids 🧜‍♀️ or yet another floral print). In the spirit of the Christmas/ winter theme I went for a constellation print in a navy blue. Something about it just felt right!

For once in my life I actually spent some time reading the pattern instructions BEFORE attempting this project. Normally I’m the the type of person who will totally wing it, basing my methods on previous makes. But because this seemed very much out of my comfort zone, I thought I’d try to be good!

The pattern involves hand tacking gathers of chiffon to ‘stays’ over all the bodice pieces. There are 8 pieces in totally which require this attention. These the. Get sewn together and then seen to the lining and it all seems to require large amounts of sew in interfacing which also needs hand basting… Did I tell you I really dislike hand stitching? All my hems get done by machine nowadays!

So my first plan was how to reduce this as much as possible?

The first thing I did was to ignore the sew in interfacing. I used a relatively stiff taffeta for the lining and the stays (essentially the backing for the chiffon) which held its shape well enough without the extra reinforcement.

I also created pleats rather than full out gathers which create more orderly lines to hand stitch down. I made sure to pin and press everything so there was a little room for error as possible. Once I got into the rhythm of it, it was relatively quick to do!

One tip for this bit – make sure all your gathers/ pleats are facing the same direction i.e. the front and back waistband all face down etc.

Once this tedious bit was done it was actually pretty straightforward to sew together!

I say it was straightforward but I had a little boo-boo when sewing the front bodice to the waistband which is why this has ended up a little more low cut than anticipated! Serves me right for not checking my work before trimming the seam allowances!

The skirt lining was made with a lightweight and drapey poly lining. It need to be opaque enough that I would be flashing everyone!

I finished the skirts with a roll hem on my overlocker. It was my first time trying this out and it worked a treat on this fabric!

That Spoonflower chiffon is definitely what makes this project special. It flows beautiful and feels lovely to the touch.

I’m not sure I’d ever make this dress pattern again but at least the one I’ll have will be a very special one of a kind dress!

(Straight after I did this little photo shoot, I caught the lining on my heel and tore a little hole in it… Typical 🙄)

Spoonflower has been kind enough to also offer a 10% discount code! Enter emily17 at the checkout and it’s valid until the end of December.

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