V8685: Summer Dancing Dress 2017 Part 1 of X

According to Vogue, I am a size 16-18. The website lists only the back length and hem width for this pattern’s finished garment measurements. What’s a sewer to do?

After long experience with Vogue et al’s ridiculous ease issues, I cut a size 14, which was still too big.

I don’t know about all of you but I’m getting really sick of Big 4 fit and ease issues. It wouldn’t be so bad if they listed meaningful finished measurements on the website (and if those measurements were always accurate–but they’re not) so you could pick a size that fits based on published information somewhere. But it’s a shot in the dark every time. The Burda mag has ease issues too, but at least with the pattern in front of me before I trace/cut I can figure out which size is actually going to fit.

Rant aside: I made it work.

The Side

It’s a knit dress with a fitted two-piece yoke, an empire waist, and two-piece raglan sleeves with length options. I made view D.


Standard fixes for me:

1. Took about 3/8″ off the shoulder seam.
2. Took in about 1/4″ on the raglan seams, front and back.
3. Took in about 1 1/2″ on the top of the zipper, and nipped in quite a bit at the waist through the back seam. If I made this one again I’ll distribute it more but after edge stitching the yoke to the top and skirt, I didn’t want to unpick to take in at the sides.
4. Shortened the back yoke at the waist too. I’d rather have taken it out of the seams at the top and the skirt but, again, edgestitching.

Next time I’d also broaden the shoulders at the sleeves and widen the bodice front a bit. I’ve got those pleats stretched out pretty far and it’s not meant to be like that.

The Back. Those lovely lines on the yoke are from the interfacing unattaching after washing. Hopefully they’ll go away when I iron them again.

I used knit interfacing on the yoke pieces and sewed them up with a regular stitch rather than stretch or serge. The last thing I wanted was for the yoke/waist to bag out and that skirt is pretty heavy. So the waist is, so far as I can make it, not stretchy. That’s making what looks like pull lines–it’s not; it’s the interfacing letting go of the fabric after washing. I ironed it back on and it was fine. There’s also clear elastic all over the place. You can see it a bit at the shoulder seams, which I’m not 100% thrilled with, but anything that keeps it from becoming a bright red garbage bag through wear gets a thumbs up from me.

I think it’s going to be a perfect summer dancing dress.


There’s been a discussion on the McCalls FB group–several, actually–about BMV sizing and ease. So a slight rant extension:

Sizing charts put me at a 16-18, as stated.

This pattern is described as close-fitting.

According to the BMV ease charts, that means 0-3″ of ease at bust and hips.

That’s the manufacturer’s sample photo, which certainly shows very minimal ease.

Only with the narrow skirt.

Knit garments often have negative ease and rely on stretch for fit.

The pattern has 1 1/2″ of ease at the waist according to the pattern tissue, which should have meant a 29 1/2″ waist on a size 14.

But when you measure the tissue and subtract the seam allowances, it’s actually 30″. So that’s 2″ of ease at the waist on a close-fitting knit dress.

This pattern has the perfect confusion storm of wearing ease, design ease, and inaccurate finished measurements combining to create a pattern where it is impossible to know from any published information which size is going to fit.

With a dress like this, 2″ of ease at the waist is going to completely destroy the fit. There shouldn’t be any ease. In order to support the pleats in the top of the garment, the yoke pieces need to sit securely on the hips. In order to hold the weight of the skirt (particularly the flared one) the waist also needs to fit snugly, or the whole thing would just stretch out into a potato sack. A ponte might–might–be able to hold the structure with 2″ of wearing ease at the waist, on one of the sheath versions. But the lightweight jerseys recommended on the pattern? Or for the flared skirts? No. The only way they would hold the shape of the dress is if the yoke and waistband pieces are snug enough to rest the structure of the dress on the hips, and not just hang from the shoulders.

If I had cut the size 16 that I am supposed to be and sewn it up, it would have been a waste of my time and the fabric.

BMV, fix your damned issues, and stop gaslighting your customers. You have  a sizing/ease problem. The only people who don’t see it have somehow convinced themselves that making a muslin first for every freaking pattern is a necessary state of affairs. God help me if I always started with the size you told me I’m supposed to be; nothing would ever fit.

9 thoughts on “V8685: Summer Dancing Dress 2017 Part 1 of X”

  1. I completely back you on your statement to BMV about ease. It’s out of hand. Beginner sewists have no clue what size to use and often are discouraged by the misinformation resulting in a crap garment. I remember having this issue as a new sewist and feeling like it was all my fault for not doing X right. Luckily, now I know better and measure my pattern pieces rather than rely on the damn printed information. Here, Here!

    1. Exactly! It’s an extra step that shouldn’t be necessary, but it is.

      It’s even more frustrating when your size is right on the border between envelopes and you don’t have the information available to choose the right one until after you buy it.

      1. And frustrating when you think you are off the size chart but actually would fit into either the largest size or the second largest size if you had accurate information. Gah!

  2. It’s a lovely dress. However, to me it looks overall too tight fitting on you. If it feels comfortable for you, that ,’s all that matters.As for the sizing issue, I always measure the pattern or use the finished garment measurements to compare with my actual measurements before cutting the fabric. Then I add the amount of ease that I feel comfortable with. ( More for a woven fabric, and less for a knit fabric.

    1. Helen, come on. If you’d already read the post you’d see that I did measure the tissue and the printed measurement was inaccurate, and that I couldn’t see the finished measurements until after I bought it because they weren’t publicly available anywhere.

  3. nthing my frustration with the ease issue. It’s part of why I rarely sew knits from the Big 4 – I find the woven patterns still have the same issues but are at least a bit more predictable because there’s not the issue of negative ease to account for. Although now I say that I am thinking of all the times I’ve sewed up a skirt that should be two sizes too small for me, only to have it all but slip right off my body because the waist is actually bigger than my hips. My waist and hips have a 5″ difference! How?!? How do they think that skirt is going to stay up?? It’s bizarre.

    Like you, I wouldn’t mind so much if they could accurately and openly list finished garment measurements somewhere, so I would know what I was getting into. Although it does seem a shame that beginners or people who aren’t used to using patterns should have to navigate completely inaccurate information. It boggles my mind that they list inaccurate finished garment measurements to begin with. And SO far off! It’s not hard. It is NOT HARD to measure a finished garment. The actual bits that you need for fit, not the hem length for pete’s sake!

    Anyway. The dress looks excellent on you! And I imagine will look incredible in motion, for dancing.

    1. Thank you!

      I do have to size down for the wovens too, but not as much–and not as disastrously if I don’t, because the weight of the garment won’t stretch it out if it’s a bit loose. But yeah. I agree with you on all points.

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