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The Big Vintage Sewalong: Vogue 9127

The illusion of having "plenty of time" is a sure fire way to get me to leave something to the last minute: I'm not quite sure whether I should be proud or ashamed to admit that I made this dress last night (probably the latter)...!

When I was invited (at the beginning of February - I've had almost three months for chrissakes!) to take part in McCall's Big Vintage Sewalong, raising money and awareness for The Eve Appeal, it struck me how long it's been since I actually sewed from a vintage pattern. It was thanks to vintage sewing patterns - with their delectable illustrations - that I got sucked into sewing in the first place. 

For this challenge - and it certainly ended up being exactly that - I wanted to choose something out of my comfort zone. I think I could probably sew a 50s sundress with both eyes shut and one hand tied behind my back by now, so I opted for a ladylike 1930s panelled coat dress with some interesting curved seams and embroidery details - V9127.

In the spirit of leaving things to the last minute, I'm sure you will have already guessed that I forwent a toile! Instead, I used a pretty medium weight viscose crepe with a little stretch - figuring that the drape and give of the fabric would act in my favour regardless of whether the dress should end up a little too big or too small. Based on my measurements (34"-26"-36"), I cut a straight 12 - remembering that vintage sizing is different to contemporary sizing! In the end, I definitely could have done with going down a size, but I do quite like the extra ease... Makes for a very comfortable chic weekend dress, I think.

In terms of construction, I certainly wasn't prepared for the amount of manual curve manipulation and topstitching involved! Every one of those curved swan-neck panels (and back yoke and entire waistline) had to be folded and pressed, then hand basted to secure the fold, then topstitched to its neighbouring panel. Phew! Fiddly and time consuming, yes indeed, but also very satisfying. I wish I had (spent less time cutting and painstakingly marking my pattern pieces with tailors tacks the day before, and) allowed myself more time for the construction. Annoyingly, I haven't yet had a moment to embroider on those lovely arrowheads that initially drew me to this pattern. I will though, in cornflower blue to match the contrast topstitching.

The sleeves were an absolute joy to sew and set in, and I also really enjoyed sewing the Western yoke at the back - I might actually pinch that idea for a future Sarah Shirt hack!

Corners I cut - I left out the shoulder pads, I sewed the buttons all the way through so no buttonholes (yay!), I inserted an invisible zipper at the side seam as opposed to the given side snap extension, and I sewed the curved bodice panels down instead of leaving them open in a sort of hanky pocket as shown. 

I'm filing this dress under wearable toiles, and lessons learned in patience...! Next time around - and there will definitely be a next time! - I'll be going down a size, and allowing myself more time to really get the curved panels perfect. Looking at them with fresh eyes, I didn't actually do a bad job, but I think that my having felt a bit rushed prevented me from fully enjoying the process.

The Big Vintage Sewalong blog tour will be continuing all the way until the end of September, but you can get involved too! Click here to check out the event calendar, see who's blogging when and find out more about the Eve Appeal, an amazingly worthwhile charity which is helping to fight gynaecological cancers. A percentage of profits from the twelve official Big Vintage Sewalong patterns will go to the Eve Appeal, and you can share your makes with the hashtag #bvsewalong and by following @mccallpatternuk on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

Plus, you could win a copy of the pattern I used, simply by leaving us your name and email address in the comments below! You have until midnight on Wednesday 4th May GMT+1...!

Comments on this post (29)

  • Nov 01, 2016

    Woo, what a lovely outfit of the 1930s.You look really gorgeous in this color.

    — bella lauren

  • May 13, 2016

    What a wonderful dress! I would love to win a copy – alexandra.m.patterson(at)gmail(dot)com

    — Alexandra Patterson

  • May 03, 2016

    I love that colour. I think the extra ease makes it look quite carefree and comfortable.

    — Bekki

  • May 02, 2016

    Beautiful dress! I really love the 1930s style.

    — Victoria

  • Apr 30, 2016

    I think you did a fabulous job of that dress! In fact, seeing your dress has made that pattern look more appealing to me. Basically, from the pattern envelope, I just couldn’t imagine it being a garment I would ever wear. But your dress looks very wearable! And that back yoke is gorgeous! Thanks for sharing your lovely dress with us :-)

    — Megan

  • Apr 30, 2016

    Beautiful dress. You can’t tell it was rushed.
    I do like the top stitching detail and I would love to have a go myself. :)

    — Emma Weston

  • Apr 30, 2016

    I have just returned to sewing and this pattern hasn’t appealed to me until seeing your version, which looks really good. From your comments it sounds an interesting make. Frances

    — Frances

  • Apr 30, 2016

    lovely dress, with some fabulous details that are so hard to find on modern day patterns. Definitely one for the collection.

    — Sue Hames

  • Apr 30, 2016

    Lovely dress! And the color of this fabric is fantastic!

    — kalimak

  • Apr 30, 2016

    I love all those crazy “swan neck” curved seams. It’s a great dress and you did an amazing job putting it together so quickly (and without a toile!)

    — Sophie

  • Apr 29, 2016

    You did it!! Nice one. I’m totally making a second version of mine. In cotton. Much more stable! Hope you get chance to do your top stitching. It looks fab

    — Amy T

  • Apr 29, 2016

    Such a lovely dress

    — Sarah

  • Apr 29, 2016

    I bought the pattern a couple of months ago and was planning on making it with a medium weight doubleknit. Do you think that would work? Your version has convinced me I want to make it – so chic. Thanks for posting.

    — Ginny Langmuir

  • Apr 29, 2016

    You should be proud of what you did in the time. It looks great and I want to do this pattern.

    — Theresa

  • Apr 29, 2016

    It’s a very cute coat dress!

    — Liz

  • Apr 29, 2016

    You have created a great brand and good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone and taking part in this challenge.
    Good choice on the big buttons!
    Keep up the good work!

    — Jin

  • Apr 29, 2016

    I love the colour you chose, you did a wonderful job for one night’s work.

    — Sarah

  • Apr 29, 2016

    I love this dress and all those little details like the curved yoke. I can’t believe you made this in the time you did!

    — Corrine Appleby

  • Apr 29, 2016

    Ooh, I hope I win this! I love the yellow version on the Vogue website and have had my eye on the pattern for months, and I love the big buttons you’ve used on yours. Great job, btw – it looks very chic on you! :)

    — Nic

  • Apr 29, 2016

    Wow, the dress looks wonderful! And as one who is often also guilty of leaving things for the last minute, I love your honesty! :-)

    — Valancy

  • Apr 29, 2016

    Lovely pattern !

    — Hilde van der Vlist

  • Apr 29, 2016

    You did an amazing job at the last minute. Perhaps you could sew it again and take your time to fully enjoy it. jennylarking at gmail dot com

    — Jenny

  • Apr 29, 2016

    Looks great! I’ve been excited to see how this dress sewed after ogling the pattern since it came out!

    — Laura

  • Apr 29, 2016

    Beautiful dress. I like the large buttons that you have chosen as it really updates the design.

    — Carole

  • Apr 29, 2016

    however horrible sewing those curved panels was, it was worth it – they really make the dress i think. agree that it is a beautiful colour on you!

    — sew little time

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