Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Vogue 8657

I am shocked that no one guessed that my new top was made with Vogue 8657.

Here's how it looks on the pattern envelope.

 Here's how it looks on me.

I cut the sleeves on the bias for visual interest.  I made a long buttonhole in the front to thread the belt through, but it looks better on me if I the belt around, rather than through the right front piece.  Even then, the front flaps open; it's better suited as a jacket instead of a top.

The top uses a great deal of fabric because everything but the sleeves are self-lined.  I wanted something softer and lighter for the inside layer, so I used a textured rayon with a tone-on-tone black plaid weave.  It turned out to be a good coordinate.  Forewarned by Noile, I cut the top 1.5" longer than the pattern.  It was a good call because the top falls right where I like my jackets to hit.

The pattern didn't mention interfacing, but I interfaced the neck edges.  The waviness at the bias right front attests to the need for thin strips of interfacing along those edges, too.  Interface up the the points on both sides; those edges are along the bias.

You may also notice the absence of bust darts.  I pinched out half the bust dart height, and then eased the front to the back along the side seams in the bust area.  This creates enough room for an A-cup, without sewing arrows pointing toward a bust point (that may not actually match your figure).  I learned that trick from Vogue 1695, a Perry Ellis pattern from 1986.  The 1980s was an awesome decade for flat-chested girls.  I could sew Calvin Klein and Perry Ellis patterns right out of the envelope.

My main beef with this pattern is the sleeve cap.  You can't tell in these photos, but there is very slight visible pucker at the top of the sleeve caps.   It wasn't the bias that caused the puckers.

The sleeve is a victim of The Myth of Sleeve Cap Ease.   When I cut out the top and looked at the sleeve piece, I thought, "Those are mighty tall sleeve caps."   I should have stopped and compared the sleeve pattern piece with the front and back pieces to compare heights, and taken an appropriately-sized tuck across the sleeve cap to remove the ease.  But I trusted the pattern and plowed ahead.   I should have listened to my inner alarm bell.

Look at the pictures in Sleeve cap ease is bogus for further proof.

If you don't look too closely, it looks like a nice outfit.  I wore it for 10 hours one Saturday, and it was comfortable and fun.  The fronts are nicely balanced so that they naturally fall to form a nearly symmetrical v-neck that stayed symmetrical, sitting or standing.  I don't understand how the patternmaker who could achieve that couldn't make a proper sleeve cap.

The skirt is the out of print (OOP) Vogue 9679.  I wrote about it in Unsuitable for obvious stripes.  When I cut out the top, I realized that I could either make a matching belt, or I could eke out a pair of shorts with the remnants.  I made zero waste shorts.  If you are a patternreview.com user, my pattern review is here.

Noile had a really bad experience with this top.
I used an extremely light — almost handkerchief light — rayon blend.  Doubled, it folds; it does not drape.  If you want flow, you’ll need to use the thinnest silk you can find, or chiffon.
I disagree; I think that you need weight to force the front to drape. I used midweight linen and rayon and it falls nicely.

The other problem is something that I used to do often.  I bought patterns for the figure I wished I had, instead of the figure that I do have.

OK,  so there are several problems here.  The first is what I have in common with Judi Dench.  Dame Dench has been quoted as having said (either to Charlie Rose or to USA Today, I can’t seem to track it down):
In my mind’s eye I’m 6 feet tall and slender as a willow, and I’ll go through life like that.
She is five feet, one and three-quarters inches tall  (156.8 cm).  I am five two and a half (158.8 cm).   Not unlike Judi Dench, in my mind’s eye I am six feet tall (182.9 cm) and a Swedish Amazon.  This is possibly why I am drawn to patterns like Vogue 8657:
Noile normally has to adjust patterns to accommodate a full bust.  I adjusted this to accommodate a small bust.  Honestly, I think this design only works for the flat-chested.  I don't know why they drew the pattern with B-cup sized bust darts.

BTW, I am not a 6" tall amazon, though I would like to be.  (I would have gotten a lot more playing time in my club volleyball days if I were taller.)  I am 5'5", with a 16" back waist length, 1/4" shorter than the 16 1/4" quoted in the Vogue Measurement chart for a size 12.  I needed to add 1 1/2" length at the hem to make it look like the pattern envelope.


  1. In my mind's eye I am also 6 feet tall and willowy, but alas, I am 5'4" and most definitely not willowy. Sigh. I also used to pick patterns that were not suited to my figure, but I'm getting better at it now - I hope
    I like your top - it looks very elegant

  2. That is a really unusual look--I totally dig it in the stripes.