Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Evolution to my ultimate Athleisure dress; Variations of V1336

One of my absolute favorite parts about the entire process of sewing is being able to customize the garments that I sew for me. I can not only make fitting changes to a pattern that I may like or that inspires me but I can change fabric type, design details and in this post you can see that I have really changed the pattern from where it started from to what I have made it into! Its a fun process to take something and re-make it into different versions. I can wear 2 different versions of this dress on back to back days and no one would even be able to tell that they were from the same base pattern.
My latest 3 versions of Vogue 1336
Left: Ponte color blocking with 2 prints
Middle: Sweater knit muslin with hood
Right: Final product! 

You can find the pattern here and the link to my previous blog post on this dress here from December 2015
I have probably shortened this dress by at least 5 inches. The model on the pattern front must by 6 feet tall! The pattern front shows this dress coming to the knee. When I made this pattern the first time it came to lower calf length and I am 5'5". So beware of the length if you decide to make this.

My first iteration on this go around was strictly to get fit correct and to get a dress that I could wear for work meetings/dinner obligations etc. I based the fit of this dress off of one of the old dresses that I had taken in.It is not perfect but for a ponte dress it certainly works well! The fabric I used is from my collection and is from an online source. I have had it for several years so most likely it is going to be a mostly polyester ponte which means that eventually there will be pilling and wear on the fabric. I'm ok with that since in my mind this is a wearable muslin.
 I made several changes from my original dresses. I changed the neckline back into a V, still different then the original dress. I just felt that I had to for 2 reasons. The first was that this fabric is all angles and a V neck suited it better and the second was that I knew I wanted a V-neck to play with attaching a hood for my final version. I also took quite a bit in at the side seams and 1/2 inch off of the middle lower color blocked seams to keep the basic perspective of the color blocking intact.
Such serious looks on my face! LOL!

Once I got the fit pretty close with the ponte version I moved to a mock up of the athleisure version that I had sketched. I choose a sweater knit from my collection that was purchased from one of JoAnn's super sales. It was in the clearance section and it was 50% off that price. It was pretty much the closest thing that I could find to my real fabric that I wouldn't care about if it was a total fail! The fabric is cute but not a high quality at all. FOr this version I opted to overlay the top portions and the bottom portions so that I essentially only have a waist seam, side seams and the lower band. No need to use the color blocking layout on this one.

To draft the hood I pulled a hoodie pattern from my collection and used that basic shape. On this version I have the hood attaching half way down the V with the lower V finished off with a small band. It is not bad... not good either! The hood was way too big all over and the placement on the V made it so that it just didn't feel right. The hood kept feeling like it was pulling the entire dress back and that as the day wore on I feel like it creeps up my neck towards my throat. 
Wearable mock-up of the dress with hood down.

Wearable mockup with the hood up... Hood is way too big and wide!

In the final version, at least for now, I redrafted the hood to have less volume overall and so that it attached at the center of the V neck. Oh! I like this version so much better!!! To highlight the seaming I made a flat piping of the green knit and inserted it in all the blocking seams. 

Knowing that my final knit fabric was likely to stretch slightly in length just due to it's properties I folded out an additional one inch in length. Ideally I would have liked it about another inch shorter. The best thing about this adventure is that in the end this is exactly what I had in mind!
Hood down. The dark grey multi color flecked sweater knit is from Emma One Sock and the green is a bamboo knit end cut from Smugglers Daughter.

Hood up :) Of course I should have looked in the mirror first to make sure my hood was on perfect but... oh well!
Hood in progress sitting on my hat form. I cut the grey knit to the size I wanted and the green bamboo knit to be 1.25 inches larger at the face edge so that I could sew it right sides together and then wrap the lightweight green bamboo knit around and make this nice 5/8 inch edging. I then stitched in the ditch along this edges to make it a permanent feature.

In this comparison photo you can really see the difference in the hoods. The top left shows how the V neck is being pulled back by the hood since it only attaches partway down the V.  Top right shows how I attached the hood directly into the lowest part of the V. Much more stable application and does not pull the neckline back.
The bottom photos show how much I reduced the overall hood size as well as reshaped the front. The hood on the left is very baggy with too much fabric and when it is all the way on the front portion comes down quite a bit resembling more of a Jedi hood than my cool athleisure look!you can see on the right the hood is on all the way and the look is much more streamlined!
So, the question remains as to whether I will make this dress again... probably, maybe at some time. It can always be made without the sleeves for a summer version. The only additional changes I may make to this pattern is to move the shoulder line forward a bit. But let's be realistic, that is being nitpicky! I could always chop off about a foot or so and turn it into a tunic top as well.

Happy Sewing!


  1. Thanks for sharing your design the progress you with each iteration, and the third version rocks! I am trying to focus on each make, sticking with the pattern for a few tries to understand fit so that I can do more of the design alterations you handle so easily. At least you make it look (almost) effortless

    1. Thank you! I really do love my final dress. I have found that it just takes time and perseverance to get the whole fit issue down and understood. I hope you are successful!! Now if we could all only have more time...


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