Very Easy (to Love) Vogue 9253
A beloved maxi-dress pattern for many, the Very Easy Vogue 9253 #v9253 is what it says it is - very easy to love! I won't say it's "very easy" to make because there's the dreaded invisible zipper to grapple with.
It's the only scary bit for a beginner in this make. But take it as a way to build some sewing muscle, master it and you will produce a grand effect at the end of it. I promise it is worth the time and effort. The invisible zipper was my nemesis for a while as well. But it's something that has to be faced eventually because it makes such a pretty closure for dresses, pants, jumpsuits and more.
The trick is to make the zipper truly invisible. For me, finding this Kenneth D. King Youtube instruction video pulled me out of the invisible zipper hell-hole. Even though I don't own a couple of fancy tools that he demonstrated with in the video, the many tips that he recommended gets the job done. For example:
1) Reinforce the seams with interfacing tape.
2) Machine-baste the seam close first before sewing zipper on to determine the right placement of the zipper. This makes sure that the zipper will be properly lined up at the end.
3) Hand-baste the zipper to the seams so that you don't have to deal with pins to line it up while machine-sewing.
4) Sew the zipper as close to the teeth as possible without catching the teeth. It's best to invest in an invisible zipper foot for this task.
5) Use a zipper that is longer than what the pattern calls for. This way, you can pull the slide out of the way while attaching the zipper to the seams.
The pattern consists of only 6 pieces - front and back bodice, front and back shirt, pocket and waist tie. The neckline is supposed to plunge all the way to the waistline. Super sexy but with my boyish figure and zero cleavage to do this justice, I stitched up the opening for a more modest version.
The sizing is always weird for me with these big commercial patterns. The sizes tend to run a little large, with lots of ease even for fitted patterns. I should be a size 12 at the waist based on their sizing charts. However, I'm generally a size 10 from the waist down and 6 or 8 at the top. So I'm always doubtful and divided (sometimes, distraught) trying to choose the right size to cut. I usually grade between sizes which solves the problem. With this pattern, the sizing comes in XS-XXL, and I'm still faced with a similar dilemma. Technically I should cut out size S according to instructions. However, I measured out the actual pattern itself to get an accurate reading on the finished measurements and ended up sewing up an XS. Turned out a good fit in the end.
The fabric is a cheapo yellow/mustard/brown linen-cotton blend. It has some translucency so I lined the skirt so that I don't have to worry about my underwear showing through. I love a striped pattern fabric on this dress because if you follow the grain-line when cutting the fabric, it creates a nice chevron effect between the 4 skirt pieces. The stripes add a nice geometric contrast to bodice, sleeves, skirt and waist tie. And the waist-tie is super-long so that you have the option to tie it however you like. The only thing I should do next time is to cut all the pieces on a single layer to make sure the pattern matching is more spot-on with the stripes. Anyway, that's just my over-active, ultra-perfectionist voice sneaking in some criticism. This dress is very easily my favourite one.