THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

April 5, 2008

Vogue 1048 – Chado Ralph Rucci Embellishment

Filed under: Couture Techniques,Designer Inspirations,Embellishment,Fashion — phyllisc @ 8:57 am

Man, sewing blogs and forums are on fire over the two Chado Ralph Rucci patterns added by Vogue last week!

I got mine yesterday, and the instruction sheet reveals this pattern to be even more interesting than I imagined. The embellishment is beautiful, and it’s typical Rucci; he has often used self-fabric braid and bullion stitches in his couture collections. 


In the example above bullions are used to connect the irregular pattern pieces.

On Vogue 1048 bullion stitches attach the braid to the hem of the dress; and I can say from experience that this is a stitch you should definitely practice in a hoop before you try it free hand.  It’s considered an advanced hand embroidery stitch, and like all hand embroidery sucess relies on thread tension and consistency.   Also, on a technical note, a bullion stitch is impossible to do neatly with anything other than a milliner needle. 

Milliner needles have very small eyes and are the same diameter all along the length; they don’t taper much at the point.  They are hard to thread, so I always use a threader.   Milliners come in different sizes, a thicker one will make a fatter bullion.

The small eye makes it much easier to pull the wrapped threads off of the needle and onto the inner supporting thread when forming the bullion, and you should  make the exact same number of wraps for each bullion.  Here’s a link to a bullion stitch tutorial that is much more thorough than the one in the pattern instructions.  You’ll see how to form the stitch correctly, and there are examples of bullion stitches done incorrectly.  However there is one glaring mistake to note:  the wrong type of needle is shown in the tutorial!  They show a tapestry needle (note the long and wide eye) – trust me, if you try to use a tapestry needle, or any needle other than a milliner for a bullion you won’t be able to pull the thread wraps off the needle.

I have one other major disagreement with the instruction sheet, which implies that buttonhole twist is a good thread for bullions.  It’s fine to use that for the topstiching, but the best looking bullions are made from a single strand, non-divisible thread such as floche.  Regular six strand floss can be substituted, but use three strands instead of six.  Nordic Needle is a good source for floche and milliner needles.

On the braid, 2mm cord or rattail might be a substitute for the fashion fabric bias tubes if the thought of cranking out yards and yards of hand made bias tubing is a little daunting to you (it is to me!)

I’m still thinking about how my version will look; I think this dress in a dark wash denim with jute topstitching, ball buttons and braid  would be great.  Rucci rarely uses prints, but I can see this in seersucker with white topstitching, ball buttons and braid (Ann has a great green and white seersucker on Gorgeous Fabrics). Rattail cord has a shiney surface so there I’d stick with a polished cotton or a linen for contrast and tone-on-tone color between the embellishment and the fashion fabric.

This design is really beautiful and I hope it’s a sign that Vogue has finally got their mojo back for the designer pattern collection.



  1. Phyllis,
    Thanks so much for providing info on the needles and thread. Off to order some.

    Comment by erica b. — April 5, 2008 @ 10:44 am

  2. Phyllis – thanks so much for the detailed explanation on the bullion stitch (one I never did master), especially about the correct needles and thread!

    Comment by Nina — April 5, 2008 @ 5:22 pm

  3. Thank you for this very useful information!

    Comment by Tany — April 6, 2008 @ 6:08 pm

  4. Phyllis .- very interesting this post and the beautiful dress you have chosen Ralph Rucci. Greetings. Paco

    Comment by pacoperalta — April 7, 2008 @ 5:34 am

  5. Yeah, me too, fingers crossed that Vogue is getting its “designer mojo” back. The Rucci patterns are an encouraging sign.

    Comment by Lindsay T — April 7, 2008 @ 12:44 pm

  6. I picked up this pattern because I loved the lines! Who knew it was going to be a pretty challenge, as well. I’m looking forward to reviews of this pattern and it’s heartening to hear I wasn’t the only one thinking of substituting purchased trim instead of braiding bias tubing… Thanks for the tips on this dress. Keep us posted when you start yours!

    Comment by rosanne — April 7, 2008 @ 10:01 pm

  7. When Phyllis, Gigi and I went to the FIT exhibit on Rucci, the embellishments were breathaking. But one very interesting note about them was that they were all either custom, with different materials used that were in complete harmony with the finished garment, or (and this as I recall was in most cases) self-fabric. I am going to make the dress, and I will either use braids of bias tubing, or possibly a combination of bias tubing and dyed-to match silk organza, playing off a spring 2008 Rucci look. When using pre-manufactured trims, I heartily advise waiting to purchase them until the rest of the dress is complete, to get an exact idea of how they will work with the garment.

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — April 8, 2008 @ 7:05 pm

  8. Phyliss
    The garments are very intriguing. When I go to Vogue Patterns site and dial up Vogue 1048 I get two rather uninteresting patterns. ????? Am I going to the wrong place? Thanks

    Comment by tina — April 8, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

  9. Good looking out girl. The lost art of sewing is coming back hard. Peeps like you are representing the sew-wave of fashion renaissance. Power to the meticulous hands and nimble digits!

    Comment by johnnypeepers — April 9, 2008 @ 4:17 pm

  10. Whoops. And many apologies to you. I realized that the Vogue 1048 is not the garment featured at the beginning of Phyliss’ post. The V1048 dress is lovely and is interesting. I was hoping, but was totally unrealistically wishing that the very complex Chado Ralph Rucci shown above was part of the Vogue roster. Well, sigh, maybe someday. But I could invent a way to use parts of it.

    Comment by tina — April 10, 2008 @ 8:44 am

  11. I went to the Chado Ralph Rucci exhibit here at the Phoenix Art Museum, it runs until May 4th – It was incredible. I wanted to take them all home, I’m sure they wouldn’t have noticed.

    Comment by catslye — April 10, 2008 @ 8:58 pm

  12. I just found your blog and WOW! Great info! I’ve been sewing for a few years, but am still not as good as I’d like to be. The info on your blog will help in that area. Thanks!

    Comment by Arizona — April 12, 2008 @ 10:21 pm

  13. I’ve got my milliners needles in hand and I’ve picked up some interesting threads, so I’m going to have a go at it practicing some bullion stitches today while reclining.

    Comment by Marji — April 25, 2008 @ 9:11 am

  14. I meant to also say, thank you for the words of wisdom re the bullion stitches, as well as the link to the tutorial.

    Comment by Marji — April 25, 2008 @ 9:12 am

  15. Thank you so much for the information. I also plan on making V1048 and the extra info on bullion stitches and needles will be helpful. Looking foward to seeing yours made up 🙂

    Comment by Ann's Fashion Studio — May 13, 2008 @ 10:55 am

  16. Phyllis, I want to thank you for your information and your words of wisdom, as well as the tutorial.
    I’ve been practicing – and I have to tell you, my efforts still resemble nothing so much as the work I’d expect from a class of 3rd graders practicing embroidery. This may be a technique I continue to admire from afar. Holy Toledo this is Hard to make look good and professional.

    Comment by Marji — May 16, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

  17. Oh my gosh! A friend of mine told me that Ralph Rucci had done some patterns for Vogue and I just couldn’t believe her. I just think he is the best. So in looking for the pattern, I ran across this website/blog. I tried to find this pattern but was unable to locate it. Another pattern pops up when I attempt to pull this one up. Is there anyone out there who is willing to part with this particular pattern? It doesn’t matter what size as I am simply looking to purchase the pattern for study. I am a design student and am always looking to learn from the masters of design. My only request is that the package must be complete envelope and all pieces and instructions intact and unused. I don’t mind if it has been opened, unfolded, read, etc. I prefer that the pattern had not been cut but, will consider as I really would like the pattern for school. I think my teachers will be impressed. Looking forward to hearing from you all. Sincerely, Cheryl.

    Comment by Cheryl — September 16, 2008 @ 1:28 pm

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