Saturday, April 14, 2012

Barrister's Ball and the Neverending Dress!

Last night was Barrister's Ball (aka law school prom).  I decided months ago that I wanted to make my own dress and had my heart set on Vogue 1240...

 ...even after reading the negative reviews on pattern review.  I purchased this pattern and my material last year and had just been waiting for an occasion to make the dress.  I was hopeful that I wouldn't run into the same problems as others...unfortunately I was wrong!

I absolutely love this theory.  Actually, I think the finished product is pretty good, but getting there was not fun.  This pattern is NOT a simple cut and sew.  Although putting the pieces together was pretty easy, this dress requires A LOT of alterations.  Here's my version:

This pattern runs very big.  For me, Vogue patterns tend to run small so I went up a size.  Big mistake!  I ended up essentially taking the whole dress apart to take it in (although I had been trying it on along the way, you really can't gauge how the dress really fits until you attach the collar, which is one of the last steps).  After taking it in about a 1/2 inch on both sides I realized it was still too big.  I could not bring myself to take it apart again so I did some really ugly fixes that you can't see because of the layers of fabric. The bottom was not close-fitting like it is on the package so I tried it on, grabbed it to where I thought it looked good, folded the fabric over, pinned it, and sewed it in place.  It really is an ugly fix, but no one can tell so I'm not too worried.

Just like the other reviewers said, the armhole is much too big.  I raised the dress by about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch.  The top front didn't lay down properly so when I tried on the dress, I had to pull the sides to where it looked right, pin it, then sew in place.

Major issue:  Because of the way the left (i think) front overlay folds back on itself, when you hem it, the wrong side shows in the front.  Had I know that was going to happen, I would have hemmed the overlay pieces separately before sewing them together.  I really couldn't be bothered ripping out more seams so I just left it that way.  No one really notices unless I call attention to it:  See problem here:
Also, the collar is way too high.  I cut off about an inch because it's ridiculous.  And the collar is too loose.  Again, this is a problem I didn't fix because I just couldn't be bothered, but it really could be taken in at least an inch.

Issues unrelated to the pattern:  I had to blot this dress like 6 times to get the fabric pen to disappear.  Because of the silkiness of the fabric, it just kept spreading and I had big blue blotches!  Eventually, they did disappear.  Also, I thought I was careful cutting out this fabric and was proud of the job I was doing until I realized the print doesn't match up.  I did a great job with the underdress matching the print, but a terrible job with the overlays.  Oh well...

I decided to add buttons to the collar for some extra flair.  I like it:
Finally, these are my accessories:

Even after all the issues, I still love this dress.  I will NEVER make it again though.  I only recommend it if you have the time and patience to make substantial alterations.  Had I not had my heart set on this dress, I probably would've abandoned the project.
We had a great time!


  1. I adore your new dress on you! You definitely achieved a winning look after your efforts!

  2. It is beautiful, I'm glad you worked thru its quirks!

  3. This dress might have been a PITA to sew, you look fantastic with it on.

  4. You couldn't tell by these pictures that you had any kind of problem at all with this dress! It's gorgeous on you!

  5. You did an EXCELLENT job with such a difficult pattern. I tip my hat to you big time. I have this pattern & read the negative reviews on it. Great job for taking it head on! You look lovely:)

    BTW, this is my first time at your blog. You do nice work and I'm looking forward to seeing your future work.

  6. You look gorgeous. Thanks for posting. This really encourages me to get back to work on some dresses that are frustrating me. Love this dress on you!