Pattern: Anna Sui Vogue V1104 Alterations: Dress to Cami, Viscose Fabric
Ok so this pattern has been in my stash for more years than I care to recount. I was taken in by the ‘Anna Sui’ tag even though I wondered if I would ever in a million years be able to pull this style off let alone make it, but here we are x years later with 1m of beautiful floral viscose from SewHayleyJane and out comes my Vogue V1104.
I had originally considered making a Seamwork Hayden, but for some reason once the fabric arrived I decided I was going to tackle the Anna Sui. It is a fully lined dress with flounces and tie straps; the fabric recommendations for this are chiffons, crepe de chines etc. I only had 1m of viscose fabric so I immediately had to make some ‘creative decisions’, but not as many as you may think.
The first task was identifying which pieces I needed to make a cami. I ended up tracing the entire pattern because I’ll probably try it again at some point, hopefully in full length dress. In order to make this with 1m of fabric I needed to fit 6 key pieces on my fabric, including 2 rather large flounces. As these were going to take up most space I cut them with the fabric folded in half, setting them as close to top and side edges as space allowed. Once I cut these, I then opened out my fabric and folded each selvedge edge into the middle, basically leaving the length of top I got at the end left to chance. I did a quick measurement and knew it would fall at least to the midriff area, so this was fine with me since I live in high waisted clothing.
As you can see the front and back lengths are all a little different, but it actually turned out quite well as I was able to do a really nice graduated hem from front to back once I trimmed the excess off the front.
I rolled the hem on each flounce first using a rolled hem foot, and then sewed up my bodice and back pieces. Now here’s where it gets a bit messy if you’re not lining! You are supposed to sew the flounces on directly onto the bodice front, leaving a raw edge along the top. This should then be taken care of when you line your dress, so I had to come up with a work around since I wasn’t lining. I tried sewing the flounce to the wrong side of the bodice so that you flipped it over and hid the raw edge was underneath the flounce. It was passable but I didn’t like this look. I then tried using a French seam to attach the flounces. I preferred the way this looked however it added to the overall weight and pulls the top seam over a little in the front so the wrong side shows a little. Now, I’ll be damned if I’m going to unpick delicate French seams from viscose, so I’ve just ran a top stitch in the contrasting turquoise thread along the front to negate the drag. Cheating I know but that’s sometimes the kind of ‘creative decisions’ you need to make when pattern hacking!
To finish the Cami, I hemmed the top using my rolled hem foot to keep it looking light and floaty and I used bias binding on the armholes. For added detail I used some cute turquoise crochet lace trim I bought on Etsy for the straps and added some turquoise buttons down the centre front. If I made this Cami again, and I plan to, I think I’d sew the flounce directly on and bind the raw edge so it didn’t roll over, using the same binding for the straps as well. Other than that I’m really pleased with the outcome despite some niggles. The viscose is perhaps a little heavier than the fabrics the pattern suggests you use, so I’m not being too hard on myself for the bumps in the road.
A few notes on the pattern: My pattern was for sizes 6 – 14, I cut for a 14 because it was measurements 36” bust 28” waist – thinking I was just going to have to be very casual about my seam allowances. The 14 made up with the full 1.5cm seam allowance is actually a bit tent-esque. To be fair, this is supposed to be a throw on dress that you then shape in with a tie waistband. I’m a 36” bust and 27” waist and felt this swamped me, it is quite a big fit. I’ve graduated the underarm seams in by a further 1.5cm to reduce the bagginess at the side though I wouldn’t chance taking bust in any further, just in case. I didn’t find the instructions the clearest I’ve ever read, although I was only giving them cursory glances here and there to make sure I was in the right general direction since I was making a few changes. On the whole if you’re a beginner and are not making the dress in its full form, I’d probably stay away from this pattern until you’re a bit more confident. I felt that the sizing information and instructions were not the best and at some points downright confusing. If you want to take a risk, then jump on in because the flounces on this pattern are insanely lush, I could look at my voluminous waterfall back all day.