Monday, November 07, 2011

Pattern Review: Vogue 8723

Vogue 8723 #1

Vogue 8723 #2

Let's see... spots? Check!
Pockets? Check! (I do love a good pocket, particularly in a dress)
Fabulously swirly skirt? Check!
Happy Jorth? Check, check, check!

My only quibble with this dress was the frustration I experienced whilst doing the skirt gathering. Now, this in no way reflects upon the pattern itself - the pattern is great, well drafted and you are guaranteed a good fit across the bust as you can select your bust size when cutting out the pattern. No, the problem arose because I elected to make up this garment in a silk/cotton blend fabric. Whilst the fabric is pretty awesome, it was also rather tough, and when it came to pulling up my gathering threads that fabric just did not want to gather.

So I did what any impatient seamstress would do: I pulled harder. Predictably, all this did was cause my gathering stitches to snap. I gritted my teeth, unpicked them, resewed them and tried to pull the gathering stitches tighter again.

Snap! This thick, tough fabric DID NOT want to play ball, especially across the skirt sections where the pocket tops were basted. In despair I turned to my friend Google, and desperately typed in 'easy gathering techniques'. Lo and behold, I stumbled across this website, which provided instructions on how to gather tougher fabric using string. Basically, you cut a piece of string a bit longer than the piece that needs to be gathered, and then using your widest and longest zig zag stitch, you sew over the string in your specified gathering seam allowance, being careful not to sew on the string itself. Then you use the string to pull up your gathers. It was so easy! And much easier to make all your gathering even, if you ask me. I usually end up with dodgy bits where there's no gathering, then a whole heap of gathers bunch up together. This worked out much better - I'll definitely be using this technique again. Hooray for the internet!

The pattern actually calls for lightweight fabrics, such as cotton shirting, linen or gingham to be used, so I don't think the gathering would cause any issues if you used those, but if you were thinking of making up this dress in a silk or heavy weight fabric, that string trick might be worth keeping in mind. Despite the effort required, I'm glad I made it in this fabric - it sits out so nicely, almost as if I had a petticoat hidden away inside.
Now, I don't know about you, but I can't go past a twirly skirt. Even if it is potentially detrimental to my health. You don't want to know how many times I slammed into that brick wall when we were taking photos. But oh, such good fun!

Project Details
Pattern: Vogue 8723, dress B
Fabric: 1.6m spotted green and navy silk/cotton blend from The Fabric Store plus 1.6m cotton voile in navy blue for lining
Notions: 50cm invisible zip, hook and eye


  1. so so so cute!

    i must have tried on about 10 spotty dresses recently.... can't find the one for me :(

  2. It is such a gorgeous dress! You look fabulous!

  3. That's all sweetness for summer, isn't it. Looks great!

    If you are ever short of string, I have used the same gathering technique with dental floss. I have also found that if you put a bit of tension on the dental floss, as you are zig-zagging over it, it gathers as you go. This was great when I was gathering metres and metres of tulle for a tutu.

  4. Your dress turned out lovely, I love dresses with pockets!

    I totally had that breaking thread when gathering deal happen to me when I made a full skirted jacket way back when and definitely could of used a clever tip like the one you've just shared!

  5. Love your new dress, and how the heavier fabric makes the skirt stand out! Great twirl shot too - I sure hope you didn't suffer any injuries doing it!

  6. Anonymous5:42 pm

    oooh! Love it! I feel your frustration with gathering- I usually have no problem gathering the fabric, its just that when it comes to sewing it, I flatten the fabric & end up with uneven gathering. More practice required...

  7. Love love love it!!! Got to love spots and pockets!

  8. Polkadots and swish, what more could you ask for?

    Glad you stumbled upon the zig-zag technique... it's my favourite for gathering moderate to large amounts where I still need precision in the gathering ratio. I really only use a machine basting stitch for gathering things like sleeve-heads, where it's a very small amount.

    Enjoy your new dress! :D

  9. That dress looks so cute! I positively adore the fabric. Katherine exatly how does your instant-gathering work? Wouldn't the floss just pull out?

  10. Thankyou for the heads up on the gathering technique. Your dress is so pretty and I love the twirlyness of it :-)

  11. Ooh dots - love the fabric and that dress looks fantastic on you. Great gathering tip and photos!!

  12. Anonymous10:41 am

    Oh my goodness, it's adorable! It looks so pretty on you!

  13. Look up this if you love dresses that "sit out so nicely, almost as if I had a petticoat hidden away inside."

    The web site is
    and has some wonderful haute couture clothing exhibited every day on the European Royals

  14. Thanks, Jo - there sure are some gorgeous dresses on that blog!

  15. Jorth, indulge yourself in the magic of a gathering foot to suit your machine you will never look back and beautiful even gathering will be yours. Lesley

  16. Love this - it looks fabulous - incidentally where are those gorgeous shoes from? I love the little heel!

  17. Thanks Jillian - the shoes are Diana Ferrari from about two years ago. So comfy!

  18. I love your dress! I plan on making this pattern too! Yeah, I'm so excited to see it looks good in person :)


  19. Soo cute!!! I love it looks amazing. So clever!!


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