The invitation called for cocktail attire! Whenever I am stumped for a fancy dress, I fall back on the most excellent Donna Karan Vogue 1809. This pattern – now sadly out of print — has been my reliable go to when I need a dress for weddings and parties. The remarkable Vogue 1809 enjoys quite a following and has been lauded by many sewists- including Sarah Gunn at Goodbye Valentino.
Obviously, the dress is perfectly and simply drafted and the cut is classy. I have made it with and without the open ended darts in the front and the back. It always looks fabulous. Bonus- this Vogue dress pattern requires minimum fabric- so those spendy special occasion fabrics are an option. I found this rather special embroidered floral mesh fabric at my local fabric shop -Treadle Yard Goods. This type of fabric is pretty easy to track down and is available at several price points.
I puzzled a bit over how to work the border design mesh into this dress. I landed on a simple blocked bodice design. Embroidered mesh could come across as an exclamation- and I wanted to tone it down a bit. The plain bodice is an easy pattern modification. It also was a genius comfort move- because the mesh is scratchy. The bodice was easy to draft. For the bodice and lining, I used a nice -but simple- cotton because -again- I wanted to soften the overall statement. Even if I go dressy, I like to stay grounded.
I debated over the construction- because the mesh is tucked into the bodice seam, I wasn’t sure if I should line the dress or sew the mesh and lining as one piece. In the end, I cut out the embroidered mesh and the lining and sewed them as one piece. I know this seems like the easy route- but sometimes the easy path also provides the best outcome. By encasing the seams within the lining, there were no seams showing through. And the darts easily became invisible- love that. I also eliminated the front double ended-fish eye- darts, although I kept the back double ended darts for subtle shaping.
Below you can see how I worked the border design from the hem- so the flowers are “growing” up from the bottom of the dress.