THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

August 1, 2009

Victoria Jones Collection 001 plus Gathering Tutorial

001

I have been wanting to make up something from this indy pattern maker for a long time and decided to make up this pattern when my favorite summer lounging dress, a loose translation of KwikSew 2645 needed mending
KS2645b

I chose pattern #001 because it is being discontinued according to the Postscript at the the Victoria Jones Collection website.

I also wanted to learn:

several pattern making secrets in this design which give you an hourglass shape. The waistline tucks are subtle, and there is still plenty of ease with 6″ of extra room in the waist.

from the pattern description

That cinched it. I must try this pattern! I found the instructions to be great for a beginner with more advanced dressmaking techniques well explained than is usually included in a pattern from the big pattern companies. Indeed the designer urges you to call her if you have any questions or need to size up or down beyond the pattern’s sizing.

The only anomaly I found in this pattern was that I saw no reason to line the lower band, not big deal in my book. You’ll be in good hands following this designer’s directions.

Click the images below for a readable version of the front and back of the pattern envelope. If you need an even bigger version, click on “all sizes” on the Flikr page and then choose the largest size.

pattern back pattern front

I cut size 18 throughout this first version, using linens from my stash in-house store.
Bodice Close-up

bodice-1

This is a classic Victorian “Gibson Girl” shape with extended front yokes and very full sleeves with stiffened, interfaced sleeve heads. The yoke extends beyond the scye line, an example of which is shown below.

Heath
Illustration #63 from Coat & Skirt Making, by Samuel Heath, 1978, ISBN 0 258 96817 6.

I hard pressed the armscye seams in toward the sleeve as per pattern instructions and was able to turn the sleeves into more width than height. If this pressing had not been done the sleeves would be standing straight up off the shoulders (not a good look for a grown woman…)!

The tucks at the waistline in front and back are a fun way to shape the dress. The back tucks are further held in by the belt

back

The skirt is not excessively full

pleats

And the lower vee cut band and double flounces add some sewing interest to the project

full

I have written a review of this pattern at PatternReview.com, giving a few more details slanted towards the construction of this dress.

As I was gathering the yards of fabric needed for the sleeves and flounces I realized I had a few tips I could pass along.

Make long basting stitches at 1/2″ and just under 5/8″ per the pattern instructions and pull the bobbin threads at one end of your segment to be gathered. Wind them in a figure 8 around the pin holding the piece to be gathered to the straight piece

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Couture Caveat: I am showing you gathers worked in linen but for tinier gathers in fabrics made of finer threads shorten the gathering stitches!

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This will allow you to pull the bobbin threads at the other end of the segment taunt enough to fit the two pieces together

On longer segments pin the two ends in place and place a pin in the middle of the piece to be gathered

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don’t gather where there are seams that need to be matched

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Wind off both ends and at the pin in the center, gently lift up the two bobbin threads

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pull the threads taunt

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and after you have shortened the gathered segment, wind off the pulled threads on the center pin. Make the gathered segment a bit shorter than the straight segment. This will make spacing the gathers much easier and the wound off threads will “give” a little as you work the gathers into evenly spaced waves of beauty.

Give gentle tugs downward on the fabric as you work for equal spacing of the gathers along the threads.

The dynamic you want to maintain is the gathered fabric suspended on the basting threads, like sheets hung on the clothes line. Then pin in place as needed and hand baste before machine stitching.

The continued gentle downward tug of the fabric as you machine stitch will help keep the gathers from bunching under the machine foot.

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Happy Sewing!

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28 Comments

  1. What a cute dress! Just curious, but how did you get my westie in your picture? LOL

    Comment by Cindy — August 1, 2009 @ 6:06 pm

  2. Hello,
    I think you look beautiful in this dress. I am Victoria Jones, and hope that does not skew my judgement, but I think it is quite becoming on you. The fabrics are lovely. It looks like you should be sipping a mint julep on the porch.
    Here is a little bit more about this pattern:
    This was my first pattern, and it took two years to develop. On the front cover is my best friend, (blue dress) and me, (green dress). We really had those dresses. I made my friend’s dress..it was blue/white seersucker with white eyelet contrast yokes and ruffle. It is the only ruffled thing my friend would wear, because she got compliments when she wore it. (She is not a ruffle person.) She would wear it when she went to Honolulu, and strangers would stop her and tell her how pretty she looked.
    This is the pattern that began my pattern collection. In those years there was another Hawaiian pattern company too. I wanted something a little more form fitting than those other patterns, and still loose. I made the prototype of this pattern. My friend asked me to accompany her to a women’s gathering , and I wore the dress. At this gathering, the main speaker was Lynne Waihee, the wife of the governor of Hawaii. We were sitting at the same table before the speech. Mrs. Waihee admired my dress, and complimented me on it. When Mrs. Waihee got up to the podium on stage to give her speech, she asked me to come up there and model my dress for the whole room. I was so nervous I thought I would trip, going up three steps. Then she wanted me to turn around, and show the back and I was sure I would trip on the carpet! Afterward, I was thronged with women wanting to know where to buy the dress. A prominent Hawaiian retailer wanted to sell that design, but they wanted me to oversee production in Honolulu. I lived on another island, and realized that I could not oversee production, and still pick up my little girls from school. So I decided to put out the pattern for everyone to sew. And, then another, and so on!
    The reason I suggested lining the band at the knee is because the seam allowances there could be annoying when you walk. They could chafe a bit, so if you line it, there is no problem.
    Also, in those years, there were some beautiful fabrics of cotton/polyester blend. They were light and crisp, and often used in these dresses. I have not seen such fabrics in several years. I developed the sleeve based on those fabrics. If you use a fabric which is heavier or more flow-y, you may need to add the little twill tape sleeve support mentioned in the instructions.

    Comment by Victoria Jones — August 1, 2009 @ 7:30 pm

    • Ohhh, I am so glad you’ve stopped by and given us some history of this lovely dress, Ms Jones! And thank you so much for your beautiful patterns.

      Comment by Mary Beth — August 1, 2009 @ 7:44 pm

    • What a wonderful explanation. For most patterns there is nothing but a big company face behind, whereas yours connect a real person to the sewer.

      Comment by Judith in Umbria — August 2, 2009 @ 3:25 am

  3. MaryBeth, you look like a moviestar from a Victorian movie.
    .
    The lounging dress looks great on you and the gathering tutorial is very clear and helpfull for those who need to learn how this is done. I use the same gathering technigue.

    Comment by Els — August 1, 2009 @ 7:45 pm

  4. Mary Beth honestly you look absolutely angelic in these photos :) I love this dress on you. You did a fantastic job.
    Where did you purchase the pattern from? (I couldn’t see where I could purchase directly from her on er site?)I’d love to give these patterns a try.
    How nice that she commented on your post, I like that :)

    Comment by Ann's Fashion Studio — August 1, 2009 @ 8:20 pm

    • Hi Ann: On the Victoria Jones Collection website there is a link called “Retailers and Links”. If you click that you’ll see buttons for retailers in Hawaii, California, Illinois and Texas.

      Cut and Paste this http://victoriajonescollection.com/?page_id=7 or click here

      I ordered from the retailer in Illinois.

      Comment by Mary Beth — August 1, 2009 @ 8:29 pm

  5. What a great looking long victorian style muumuu! It looks cool and comfy, and I would love to have a white on white embroidery combo version. Let’s say we meet for mai tais at the Banyan Court at the Moana Hotel in Waikiki, OK?

    Comment by georgene — August 1, 2009 @ 8:25 pm

    • Ah, Georgene, that would be a lovely place to meet.

      Comment by Mary Beth — August 1, 2009 @ 8:41 pm

  6. Mary Beth, this is a GREAT tutorial on gathers, which I think are often overlooked in pattern instructions (they certainly are neglected in Big 4 instructions) and thus sewers don’t do them properly! For years my gathers kept turning into ease, and then when I was doing heirloom when my daughters were young I finally learned to do them correctly and it made such a HUGE difference! Sometimes the simplest details make all the difference and your wonderful dress is a great example of that.

    Comment by phyllisc — August 1, 2009 @ 8:56 pm

  7. Beautiful dress, well done!

    Comment by Linda — August 2, 2009 @ 1:14 am

  8. That dress looks lovely on you! I feel like I’m looking at an episode of North And South :-) What a wonderful job you did!

    Comment by Karin — August 2, 2009 @ 1:40 am

  9. I love this on you. You look sexy and elegant at the same time. I hate cute and this could have been, but is not. Great job. Those tucks are inspired!

    Comment by Judith in Umbria — August 2, 2009 @ 3:26 am

  10. Outstanding job! The dress looks lovely on you (and thanks for the extra tips on gathering)!
    It was great reading Vicoria Jones’ comment too; I love a pattern with a history!

    Comment by Tany — August 2, 2009 @ 3:38 am

  11. Outstanding job! The dress looks lovely on you (and thanks for the extra tips on gathering)!
    It was great reading Vicoria Jones’ comment too; I love a pattern with a history!
    BTW I love your blog!

    Comment by Tany — August 2, 2009 @ 5:43 am

  12. You do indeed look like you should be sipping on a Mint Julep! Beautifully feminine but not froufrou. And how exciting that Victoria stopped by and left a comment!

    Comment by Gigi — August 2, 2009 @ 8:35 am

  13. I just love that dress on you. The two fabrics are so marvelous together. I saw some dresses like this when I was in Hawaii on the Big Island. I think yours is much more beautiful!

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — August 2, 2009 @ 2:41 pm

    • Welcome home from your vacation, Ms Ann!

      Comment by Mary Beth — August 2, 2009 @ 2:57 pm

  14. Beautiful dress–awesome! Thank you for the tutorial and also for leading me to these patterns that I didn’t know existed!

    Comment by Gwen — August 3, 2009 @ 8:24 am

  15. Mary Beth…..how beautiful you are! That dress is a wonderful design. The choice of fabrics and the exquisite way you have constructed it reflects your considerable talent.

    Comment by Pam ~Off The Cuff~ — August 3, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

  16. The dress is just darling, and thank you, thank you, thank you for the excellent tutorial on gathering! I am a novice sewer who makes a lot of garments for my toddler daughter, and gathering is usually a part of every pattern I try. I knew there had to be a systematic way to make the gathers even and neat and professional looking. I am so grateful for the information.

    Comment by Beth Prince — August 3, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

  17. Great dress and you do look fabulous. These patterns are new to me too, and I think I must find some as these are exactly the kind of thing I adore to wear around the house, and around the deck, pool, and garden in the summertime.

    The tutorial is excellent too, and I think proper gathering is oft-overlooked. I wish I had that information when I was learning.

    Comment by Mardel — August 5, 2009 @ 8:11 am

  18. The dress is really nice on you. The gathering tutorial is great, I’ll one tip I recently tried and love when gathering. Use silk thread, it’s so strong and won’t break. It gathers all weights of fabric beautifully.
    Happy Sewing

    Comment by Tee — August 6, 2009 @ 7:19 pm

    • That’s right, Tee! And some even use a very narrow zigzag stitch over tooth floss for the same strength and smoothness. Thanks for sharing your tip!

      Comment by Mary Beth — August 6, 2009 @ 8:58 pm

  19. That is positively gorgeous! Beautiful dress and it looks lovely on you!

    Comment by capperoo — August 7, 2009 @ 6:40 pm

  20. Very nice dress!

    A local playbill once thanked me for providing some dimity from my “vintage fabric collection” and I have been using the word “collection” ever since.

    Comment by Susan Claire — August 14, 2009 @ 3:49 pm

  21. you do look smashing in the dress…it makes me crave for a mint julep out on the veranda…Are you sure Cindy, that looks like my Westie Leia :-)

    Comment by Deneisha — August 21, 2009 @ 1:45 pm

  22. SUCH a pretty dress!!

    Comment by knitsnwovens — August 30, 2009 @ 2:24 pm


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