Ya know, we're just not happy in the Atelier unless we've got a challenging project to tackle, so we set ourselves a fairly tricky one. We're determined to work up every Vogue Craft pattern in our library, no matter how unnecessarily complicated or over-wrought it might appear. There's eight of them at the moment, but we have our eye on another two or three. We're in the business of re-imagining (and simplifying) things around here. We thought to ease into this effort with what on the surface would seem to be one of the less intricate groups. HA.
We started with #7108:
We usually cut everything before we begin. That way, if we get frustrated with working on one thing, we can set it aside while we work on another. Here's a breakdown of the plan:
We began with View A, the wrap coat. Spent a full day wrestling this one to the ground.
We thought this simple piece seemed a little too
simple, so we added pockets at first. They just looked All Wrong - threw off the silhouette. But we thought that as long as we had them in hand, we could turn them into a swag bag. Also, because it was such a simple shape with only a few steps involved, we opted for difficult fabrics. Because we're masochists. The dove gray microsuede has ZERO give, making it a struggle to manipulate. Also? In hindsight, we should have chosen a much softer cotton for the lining, but we loved the old gold color of the more sturdy weave we picked. And we do love the finished look. On to the next challenge.
Two days. View B took more intricate handwork than expected and had us busting out our box of tailoring techniques - some unused for decades.
We dealt with jigsaw-like pieces, set-in sleeves, tricky seaming, "finger pressing," understitching, and all of it times two, as it's fully lined. At least we had the sense to use a lovely soft cotton for both the outer shell and lining, and we love the details - metal finish buttons and buckle, Ultrasuede faux belt, kick pleat et al. We know we said we love a challenge. But really. Two days. Two Freaking Days.
Still and all? Worth it.
We have so many notes on View C, it could be a full blog post all on its own, but we'll try to condense things by simply saying - hostess pajamas just don't work today. We did a bit of re-imagining here. In the lovely red cotton we selected, the top was too bulky to fit under the skirt, and the skirt just looked silly worn over the capris.
So we added a couple of tube tops - a red jersey that went perfectly with the capris, and the original top adapted easily into an open jacket. A black knit velour went with that almost-a-circle skirt, which we decided looked best with the opening in back. We could have re-cut the skirt to be more generous at the waist, but we were out of that spectacular graphic rose print - hence the adaptation. We simplified the pattern by using bias tape for all the edges, instead of fully lining things.
Everything was coming up roses, kids.
Then we hit this one. View D, the formal gown. Working on this was an exercise in practicing patience. We were dropping things, breaking things, losing things, experiencing sudden bouts of fatigue, being easily distracted by shiny stuff (like The Sandman), swinging off on tangents, and generally moving at a snail's pace while trying not to be too frustrated with ourselves.
“Take a deep breath and do the difficult thing first.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
We ran into the Hard Nope. Sometimes you just have to keep going with a thing until you hit that wall before you can see all the problems clearly. And that happened. The fabric we chose, while lovely, was too thick. The lining as well. Combined, it produced a clownish effect with a bundle of pleats that formed a sort of unintended beer gut. In the end, after three different solutions were tried, the final gown wasn't the same fabric we started with - instead of the crepe with the satin lining, we ended up selecting a lovely lightweight pinstripe gabardine.
We opted for bias binding for the edges instead of lining, and we fiddled with a few of the construction details, too. After putting the final touches on it, we were well pleased. Less fairy tale princess, more evil queen, right?
Adapting a cocktail dress to a sundress isn't always a success, but we're calling this one, crafted from View E, a definite win.
No construction notes on this at all. It was a snap to build. And a great way to finish off the project as a whole. The belt in this picture isn't final - we had a much better idea, which you'll see in the final photos. We were absolutely ready to call the 7108 Project complete.
Here it is, the Vogue Craft Project #7108.
Couple things to note: We added a black jersey tube dress to go under the coat, and bonus: it can be worn as a long or short skirt, or scrunched up as a top. Versatility is key around here. Also, not only did we switch out the belt on the sundress, but on the coat as well. TA DA! And all that.
But wait. There's more. OF COURSE.
Can't seem to stop with this group, but to be fair, how could we call this done without more tiny hats? And now it's done. This time for real.
The Atelier is taking a short break, during which time we'll catch up on our reading, watch-lists, and most importantly - our baking obligations. Family birthdays are coming up. Three of them. Now, once we get our bearings again, we'll kick back into production mode with our next project:
We have constructed View A, with some custom modifications, and we've done up View C as well - both of them for our Sundress 2022 project, but we've never tackled the other three outfits. Looking at all the pattern pieces, it's going to be another challenge of our skills and test of our patience, but we think we'll be up for it.
But that's in the future, on the other side of The Sandman bonus 2-part episode, the final episodes of "Only Murders In The Building," all the Jodi Whittaker Dr Who episodes, and "She-Hulk: Attorney At Law."