Monday, 1 December 2014

Anne Klein Shift Dress

I have made a colour blocked shift dress. This is Vogue 1382 designed by Anne Klein. 


I have been wanting to try this pattern for a while now after seeing a few others around that have inspired me. Sue from FadanistaKnitting Jenny and Binding Off have all made lovely versions. I have been trying to choose patterns that suit my figure rather than just making patterns that appeal to me.

Vogue 1382 Line Art
According to the pattern envelope this is a semi fitted, lined dress (fitted through bust) has yokes, side front seams, pockets and invisible back zipper. It is classed as easy and is suitable for all figure types.


I cut a straight size 14. The only alteration I made to the pattern was to add 4cm to the length at the hemline.


The fabric is a linen/cotton blend in natural and khaki, purchased from Spotlight at Rockingham on my recent visit to Perth. The lining is a mystery 100% cotton purchased from Bargain Box Fabrics in Batemans Bay. This is the first time I have sewed with linen and I love it. It pressed beautifully and was very easy to work with. These photos were taken after a day at work in the office and it hasn't creased as badly as I was expecting.


After taking this dress for a wearing test run at work today, I have decided it is a little too snug around the hip/bottom area. When sitting it really rides up (especially in the car) and there was a lot of strain put on the centre back seam around the seating area.


The photos above show the details: the seams have been top stitched where the contrasting fabrics join; the pockets have been top stitched (the pattern instructions said to hand sew the pockets to the dress?) and the invisible zip at centre back (notice the strained seam at the lower centre back).

For next time I think I might cut size 14 in the neck/shoulder area and grade up to a size 16 below the armsceye to give me a little more wiggle room. 


The dress is fully lined with 100% cotton. I thought this would be cooler for the summer than a slippery poly lining. I really out smarted myself and made a terrible blunder during the construction of this dress. I was determined to eliminate any hand sewing and attach the lining entirely by machine...but I rushed ahead without fully thinking it through. I inserted the zip in the centre back and finished the centre back seam. Then I joined the front to the back at the shoulder seams. Then I sewed the lining together at the shoulder seams too. Next step was to attach the lining to the dress (all the side seams are left open at this stage). I sewed the lining to the neck and armholes and also to the zip. The seam allowances were graded and clipped and under stitched.I was super pleased with myself and proceeded to turn it all right side out through the shoulder. After a lot of pulling and wriggling I got it all pulled through...only to find that I was right back where I started, with an inside out dress.

It was late at night and I was tired and not thinking straight so I put it aside till the following night. After a bit of googling, I realized my mistake. You must have three seams open for this to work. My mistake was that I had sewed the centre back seam (and inserted the zip). I think if I had left this seam open it would have worked. I think the centre back seam should be sewn after the dress has been turned right side out. Anyway, I will be referring to this post before I attempt this again.


In order to fix my dilemma, I worked out that if I unpicked the shoulder seams of both the dress and the lining I could turn it right side out. After some very tedious unpicking (remember I had graded and clipped and under stitched) I made it work. Such a relief! I then proceeded to resew the shoulder seams by hand. This was quite fiddly due to the seams being graded and clipped, but I was saved by this lovely fabric that presses so beautifully. 

Despite all my troubles with the construction of this dress, I feel that I have stretched my sewing skills and learned a lot. I am quite pleased with the standard of finishing that I achieved on this dress and I am so glad that I figured out how to make it work. 

Unfortunately, I just don't really like it on me. I think it is the colour. I am usually drawn to bright colours and this dress is just a little too drab for me. Anyway, I would like to try it again maybe with a looser fit and some brighter colours.


Happy Sewing 

25 comments:

  1. I was seriously just about to say "those colours are a really good choice for your colouring"! Maybe it's not a match for your personality, but I think you should see if you come round to it, for occasions when you maybe want something more neutral/less stand-out.

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    1. Thanks KathleenS. Most people have said the colours suit me, so I am starting to warm to them.

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  2. Despite your misgivings, I think it looks lovely on you.

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    1. Thanks for the confidence boost Andrea. Very much appreciated.

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  3. I really love this dress. When browsing the pattern catalogues my youngest daughter ALWAYS points to this and says 'mum, you'd like this one' - I think this is a great wearable dress. While you might be disappointed with the colours, I'd simply brighten it up with some vivid,chunky accessories or a long, thing scarf - it becomes a great base piece then.

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    1. I was surprised to see so few reviews of this pattern as it appealed to me too. I have my eye out for a nice chunky necklace to brighten it up.

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  4. That is a great dress Jean with wonderful natural colours. I know what you mean about liking brights but on a hot summer day that cool natural will be wonderful.

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    1. Thanks BeaJay. I'm glad you like the natural colours. I did think they went well together.

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  5. I love this. I think the style and the colours really suit you and I've added the pattern to my must-have list!

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    1. Thanks so much Megan. I can definitely see you wearing this pattern. Look forward to seeing your version.

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  6. I'm sorry that you don't like the dress but it is lovely on you! You should definitely make this again in colors that make you happy!

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    1. Thanks so much Carolyn. Your opinion means a lot to me as you are the expert when it come to shift dresses. Your work always inspires me.

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  7. I think the colours suit you - they are very stylish!

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  8. Well, I really love it! but then I am partial to soft neutral colours :) Definitely you should make it again though! And yes, you are right, do the neckline and armscyes; turn it inside out through the shoulders, then the side seams, then the zip/CB seam as the last thing :)

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    1. oops, *right side out" obviously!

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    2. Yes Carolyn...these are definitely in your colour palette. Thank you so much for the confirmation regarding attaching the lining. I will definitely try this again and without the mistakes it should take half the time.

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  9. I think your dress looks lovely on you. The colours are very cool and elegant.

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    1. Thank you Kathy S. I appreciate your comment.

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  10. Your dress looks cool to wear in hot weather but very stylish. If you really feel drab in the colours you could dye it - with linen and cotton, all natural fibres, it should work out well. But it looks fine already.

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    1. Thanks so much Ruth. I've never tried dyeing fabric before. I would be worried the dye would run every time I washed it. Most people have said the colours look OK on me, so maybe I am starting to feel OK about them. My husband hated the whole dress, colour, shape, everything, so that made me feel quite blah about it.

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  11. I also think the colors look great on you! I have had similar mistakes when sewing in a lining...I rush ahead of myself and then have to backtrack. But it ended up looking very nice indeed.

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    1. Thanks very much Carrie. I am pleased with the finish and I definitely learned a lesson regarding the lining. I won't ever make that mistake again.

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  12. I think this is great, stylish work dress for the humid weather we've been having lately, and a great save. I know what you mean about neutral colours, though . I think we have similar colouring and I always feel a bit "blah" when wearing neutrals without some colour to set them off.

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    1. Thanks Paola. It is a great style for work and works well with a cardigan when the air conditioning gets too cold.

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