THE SEWING DIVAS sewing, design, fashion

January 13, 2009

Vogue 1073 – Chado Ralph Rucci, Parsing the Pattern Pieces

Filed under: Couture Techniques,sewing couture — phyllisc @ 11:17 pm

Here is a photo of the center front piece pinned to my dressform; as you can see, the darts wrap around the body and they are hidden in the tucks.

Last night I cut out my pattern and began to study it in more detail, but first let me share with you some interesting information I received today about how this dress is constructed.  Gail (who is certainly in a position to know) has confirmed that the construction method I’m investigating for the pin tucks is correct.  She also offers more insights into the tucks that I’ll excerpt for you:

“…. I thought I’d offer some comments to let you know that you are on the right track. I have not seen the commercial pattern that you are working with, but I can tell you how the samples are made in the (Rucci) workroom. The pattern allows 3/16″ for a 1/8″ pin tuck. You are constructing the pin tucks correctly, and you are right, there is no stabilizer or cording in the pin tuck. The knit that was used for this dress is not jersey, it is actually interlock, which is a different knit construction. If you are a knitter, you will recognize jersey as having a flat side and a bumpy side, like stockinette stitch. Interlock is a double knit construction, it makes a beefier, more stable cloth, it is flat on both sides…. “

Needless to say I panicked and immediately inspected my sample to determine the type of fabric I have, and this wool knit is indeed interlock, albeit one that is very lightweight, but it does have the stability that Gail references.  Whew. 

So now we know that Vogue’s fabric recommendation is wrong: you need wool interlock, not wool jersey.  It also must be 60 inches wide because the front needs to cut single layer (and I suspect this is also why Vogue does not offer this pattern graded higher than Size 16.)

Now that I know the exact fabric this design requires, I need to hit Jo-Ann’s to find an inexpensive interlock to use for muslins, which brings me to my pattern observations.

After giving it some thought, I cut off the seam allowances because I’ve decided to thread trace the pattern seam allowances onto blocks of fabric in a single layer layout. Why? Because that’s how it’s done in haute couture, and also because basting the pin tucks by hand onto flat laid fabric will require a single layer layout anyway. The seam allowances also just made it too difficult see the finished lines of this dress

A quick observation on petite and FBA adjustments in general:

  • I’ve decided to go down one size to a 12 for the 1stmuslin. Vogue slopers have linebacker shoulders, and I have narrow shoulders.
  • This dress really hangs from the shoulders and bust. Fortunately, the shoulders and sleeves are simple, there is no set in sleeve, just a kimono-like shoulder with a single seam that runs runs down the top of the arm from the side neck to the wrist. Ease is supplied by the knit fabric and under arm gussets. To determine your own size match the pattern as closely to your bust size as possible because the skirt portion is a very simple A-Line shape that skims the body and will be easy to alter; the fit through the bust however is crucial.

Next post I’ll pin the upper bodice front and back to my dressform so you can see how those pattern pieces relate to the body.

 Thank you Gail!  To say I was a little verklempt when I read her comment is putting it midly.  You can read all of Gail’s comment here (scroll to comment 16.)

 Next post: How I’ll tackle the muslin and more photos of the pattern pieces.


  1. I bought this pattern right after it came out and I also bought the fabric; I believe it fits in the description given for interlock; it’s a beautiful midnight blue knit, flat on both sides and not as lightweight as wool jersey. I hope to find the time to make this dress and this insight information is most useful to me.

    Comment by Tany — January 14, 2009 @ 5:52 am

  2. Kudos to your diligence and investigative work. Now I know the difference between jersey and interlock knits.

    Comment by dei — January 14, 2009 @ 6:13 am

  3. Like I said when I saw Gail’s comment yesterday – how cool for you to be validated by the source! I can’t wait to see how this progresses.

    Comment by Gorgeous Things — January 14, 2009 @ 7:13 am

  4. Thanks Phyllis for showing the pattern, it is such an interesting design. Getting the insight information from Gail is valuable. I am looking forward to see the progress. Hope the interlock fabric you have in mind is the right one for this dress.
    Good luck and enjoy sewing.

    Comment by Els — January 14, 2009 @ 10:26 am

  5. Wow, those are some crazy looking darts! How fascinating to know exactly how the originals were made, too.

    Comment by melissa — January 14, 2009 @ 11:22 am

  6. Very interesting post. And thread-tracing :Yes! It’s my new best friend.

    Comment by Birgitte — January 14, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  7. I cannot wait for this finished product. I have had this, also, since it has come out a few months ago and still haven’t found the right fabric. I’m searching for something in hot pink or blue.

    Comment by Sonja — January 14, 2009 @ 3:22 pm

  8. Very interesting, plus information from the source! The pattern piece is intriguing. For the most part, I don’t add seam allowances to traced patterns for one of the same reasons – I like to see the exact shape of the finished product.

    Comment by Summerset — January 15, 2009 @ 6:55 am

  9. Wool interlock or doubleknit, which is usually how I see it referred to, is quite a heavy knit. It is my favourite fabric to sew, because it is heavy enough for pants or a jacket and it has enough beef to hide all sorts of lumps and bulges. You can get away without finishing the seams because it never ravels and it can be steamed into exactly the shape you want it to be. has some for about $20 a yard, which is a good price. It is a fairly expensive fabric, but for that you get a fabric which never wrinkles, is warm to wear and lasts forever! Geoffrey Beene used to use it in many of his garments also. I have made so many Beene patterns in wool doubleknit!

    Comment by Pamela — January 17, 2009 @ 9:44 pm

  10. I am about to make THE DRESS and have learned in my travels a reliable way to avoid getting jersey eaten by one’s machine. Placing Stitch and Ditch Heirloom by ThreadPRO behind the fabric works like a charm for ease in stitching seams on knits. Likewise, I plan to use it on the pin tucks.
    By the way, I had a false start on the wool jersey. The first attempt failed as the fabric was 52″. Now I am looking for a fabulous pattern for that wool jersey. Any suggestions?! Fortunately, I found a sumptuous 60″ wool jersey in a great weight. For those of you who are uninitiated, I recommend not attempting this dress in any fabric less than 60″. The dress is cut out and ready to go. I am certain that this will be a grand endeavor.

    Comment by Wendy — January 25, 2009 @ 2:03 pm

  11. Hi, your work is really interesting and helpful ! May I as though, what brand is the dress form you use ans probably where can I find such?!! I will be very thankful if I receive some information because I am so tired of looking for the right and more real looking dress form and ton finding it !

    Please and Thank you !!!

    Comment by Boryana — September 1, 2010 @ 4:43 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Create a free website or blog at

%d bloggers like this: