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Vogue 8497, Take Three

Yes, I did it again. It was my spouse’s fault. He took one look at my mini-wardrobe storyboard and said “You’re nuts. Marcy’s right. If you make that shirt again in that cotton, you won’t like it.” (OK, he was a little more diplomatic, but that’s what he meant.)

To refresh our memories, here’s Marcy Tilton’s Vogue 8497, looking smashing:

Marcy asserted the critical role of lycra in her comments on PatternReview.com. So I looked for lycra-enhanced knits in our fair village. And elsewhere.

This charming stuff was all I could find. It was cheap; I bought it in two colors. I made the shirt. It fits better (It actually fits me quite well; my dummy, not so much. Must replace dummy.) The fabric (poly/lycra) was awful to work with. (Another note: must learn to sew knits.) Details follow.

First, the alterations: I effectively shortened the sleeves by only one inch, instead of the two I’d taken up previously. I added two inches to the length all around, and took the side seams in to fit my actual body. I bound the collar, folding Vogue’s band over to make just a half-inch binding. I was very careful with the neckline, and think I’ve now got one that is what Marcy meant it to be, at least in terms of its size and shape. (Though not, of course, its width.)

For reasons that are still unclear to me, I also added an organza ruffle. It’s made of bias strips, about an inch deep, and folded double. It was quite twisty, so I pinned it to my cutting board overnight, which calmed it down quite a bit. Here’s a picture:

To stabilize and control the ruffle, I zigzagged it to one-quarter-inch twill tape, which worked perfectly. Then I basted it between the overlapping right front and the left front, and assembled the front per Vogue’s directions.

When it was all done, I put it on and walked downstairs to show my spouse. “Good God!” he exclaimed, later claiming that his eyes were too watery from pain to actually see how well it fit. This is not the reaction I expected from a man whose Hawaiian shirt collection has electrified an entire wall in our attic for a decade and a half. Who knew he had a secret streak of conservatism?

He suggested I donate the shirt to the deserving poor, but not before agreeing that it fits very well.

I’m making this one again, as soon as I can get my hands on some cotton/lycra. If anyone comments, references to “pigheadedness” will not be appreciated. This is just reasonable persistence. Really.

Oh, yeah. The storyboard’s getting edited. But not tonight.

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  1. Claire D
    April 12th, 2009 at 16:34 | #1

    Thanks for saying it – I feel better, too! I had gotten to the same point about art-to-wear patterns in general, then had a smashing success with Marcy’s skirt V8499 (a size smaller than usual) and her felted jacket V8430 (M was still too big), so I dusted off the T-shirt CD and started tissue fitting V8497 last night and reading the directions. As I became more suspicious, thankfully, I discovered your blog. I will proceed with caution and will start with a lycra blend. The words of my friend Kathy who is an expert seamstress echo rather frequently now in my head “your first one is just a muslin…” I’ll keep you posted.

    • April 12th, 2009 at 16:55 | #2

      I’ll bet we’re not alone, Claire! A lycra blend does sound like the best place to begin. You might want to check the length, too. I think the overall look of the shirt will be closer to the photo if the pattern is lengthened. That’s good advice from your friend Kathy — it’s how I always try to sew now, and really keeps things in perspective, especially for problematic patterns.

      Do keep me/us posted! The next person along will be just as happy as I am to hear how this pattern turned out for you. Thanks.

  2. April 12th, 2009 at 11:16 | #3

    Hi, Claire — I don’t know that there’s any way to get “proof” that the neckline in the photo is different, but the evidence seems pretty clear when you look carefully at the photo. I don’t think there’s any way to get that clean edge next to the neck without folding the neck binding. The envelope photo gives a much more polished look to the shirt than following the directions will give you.

    I guess the answer to the question “why do they do this?” is pretty simple (and infuriating!): They want as many people as possible to buy the pattern. Marcy’s patterns are almost all boxy, but boxy doesn’t sell, so they display the garments on the envelopes on dummies that are elongated and quite thin. You’ll notice that the pants and skirts are on dummies that also are on their tiptoes, which makes the garments seem even slimmer, and, yes, more elegant, more stylish, more sophisticated.

    Reality is quite a different thing. I’ve pretty much stopped buying Marcy Tilton patterns because I’ve finally accepted that I have been buying in to the image, not the reality. Which is not to say that I still don’t love my Vogue 8499s (which were outlandishly large in real life), but I’m evaluating patterns, especially the “arty” ones with a much more critical eye these days.

    And yes, just to say it out loud, I DO think printing a photo that shows a garment that cannot result from following the pattern directions is dishonest. And it’s dishonest when Vogue suggests that a certain fabric will work, but Marcy then says it won’t in an attempt to explain the discrepancies between what results and what should have resulted. It’s all a bit sloppy, so buyer beware!

  3. Claire D
    April 12th, 2009 at 10:41 | #4

    Did you ever get any data to support that the neckline finish on Marcy’s tee doesn’t follow the directions in the actual pattern? I’ve read it umpteen times and it sounds like it’s a raw edge on the outside and a raw edge against the neck, but the photo appears to have a folded edge and a finished seam… The back of envelope drawings for A/B appear to have raw/raw like the instructions…

    Why do they do this to us? Thanks for pursuing this pattern just as I was planning to take it on…

  4. April 27th, 2008 at 09:11 | #5

    On the other hand, Carolyn GM used what looks like a fairly sturdy cotton jersey for hers, and got great results. She did mention going down a size, though, and I do think the grading at the bottom of these tops gets pretty extreme as you go up in size (I made a 12; Carolyn made an 8).

    I’m tempted to say that cotton/poly interlock is always a mistake! It just doesn’t feel really nice to start with . . . unfortunately, it’s what’s easy to get locally.

    Thanks for the comment, Linda L. I’m learning from other reviews, too. Good luck with your tee — I’ll watch for your review.

  5. April 27th, 2008 at 06:41 | #6

    Glad to see you are making progress with this T. I recently purchased this pattern and Marcy’s CD. I like reading what others are doing so I can skip all the mistakes. Obviously cotton/cotton poly interlock is a no-no.

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