Sewing V2561, a Vintage Vogue dress pattern

Last night while getting ready to take myself out for dinner I chose to wear my favorite blue linen dress, a lovey number I sewed back in 2007 in a class I took at Utah State University. After putting on the dress I realized there were (and always have been) some fitting issues with the bodice and I feel like putting this information out there so 1) I remember it for future sewing endeavors and 2) in case any of you have fitting issues too and would like to either share insight or ask questions. It's also nice to be able to google a pattern name/number and find other sewers' finished projects; I also regularly use patternreview.com for reference.

I sewed this dress straight off the size 14 guide for this specific pattern, V2561. This vintage vogue pattern was re-released in 2001 and was originally Vogue pattern 689. "Dress, below mid-calf, has close-fitting, lined bodice with pleated upper section extending to side back, back straps, flared skirt, snap closing on supper section and side zipper." My waist and bust measurements match the size guide and although my hips are an inch larger than the chart it didn't matter much with this pattern because of the circle skirt. No adjustments needed I thought. Note: The ladybug ribbon inside is a waist stay to help keep the waistline from stretching over time with use/wear. Linen especially tends to stretch.
Overall, I found the dress to be pretty straightforward but not easy. It was a lot of work because of the large circle skirt (grr, hem) and lined bodice with pleats, and in the end I am unsatisfied with the zipper. It doesn't lay flat like I'd hoped but I think this was the first (and only) garment zipper I'd sewn. I do think it is well-made and I've worn it on many occasions. It is comfortable but feels a bit large in the bust, so I've been thinking... I recently read that for busty ladies (busty meaning more than 2 inches difference between chest and bust measurements; 2 inches difference = b cup, 3" = c cup, 4" = d cup. Here's the guide to measuring.) one will get a better fit if you choose the pattern size based off the chest measurement instead of the bust. That way the pattern will appropriately fit my chest and shoulders, then I can increase the actual bust with adjustments to the darts. Part of the problem I've encountered is the bust of the pattern is likely graded to fit an average 34c or 36b based on overall body measurements which is only 2 inches difference between chest and bust, but I have 4 inches difference. See the problem? To get the actual chest measurement I will probably need to measure the pattern piece and subtract the added ease (room for movement once the garment is sewn and worn, because you need to be able to lift your arms and whatnot) and seam allowance, since only a few pattern companies include chest measurements in their size guide. Geez, now I really need/want this book on Fitting and Pattern Alteration, the reference used in a class I took at the Sewing and Stitchery expo.

This all came up because I've been looking through my patterns to decide what I will sew this weekend, and when eying my vintage vogue patterns I decided to reference back to a vintage vogue pattern I had already sewn. My measurements are the same now as they were then (+ a little boob droop because I'm getting old) and when I put on the dress last night I remembered what annoys me. It rides up in the back! The dress is a little loose around my ribcage. Fits perfectly in the waist, just right around my full bust, but because it's not fitted right around my ribcage it keeps moving up and looks/feels funny in the back. I also should have shortened the back/waist length (I'm about ~5/8" shorter from neck to waist than typical patterns so I should make this a usual adjustment so the waist sits in the right spot). It could also use a dart in the sides of the bust near my underarm to eliminate gaping.  Anyway biggest issue is the back. You can see below how it is a bit loose and stretched out where the strap pull up on the waist.

To fix the back gaping/moving I'd have undo the seams for the bodice, waist and lining (right, the bodice is fully lined. What a project!) then put in twin darts on either side of the back straps in both the lining and main fabric pieces. What a pain in the ass! Maybe I'll do it someday, maybe I won't. But the lesson learned here is that if I'm going to invest serious time and money in sewing a garment then it should be done right, both in technique and fit. Alter the pattern before cutting fabric, silly!

A quick shot of the inside of bodice. No raw edges! Edge stiching! Snaps! Hooks and eyes! This pattern made me try many new sewing techniques.


Finished project front:
And back:

PS. Please forgive the wrinkles and unpressed garment. I didn't have the wish to iron for these pictures.

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