Thursday, 18 September 2014

Vogue 1398 Badgley Mischka's Three Tiered Scalloped Dress

I love sewing Vogue Patterns. The design and construction never let me down. Vogue 2014 summer pattern was quite a delightful release (back in March). Lots of pretty and practical patterns there and this pattern caught my eye straight away. Lots of design elements here:
• pleated neckline,
• princess seam bodice,
• tiered skirt, and
• most specially scalloped hem!

However, there are not many reviews or makes on this pattern so far. Is it because it's more for special occasions or is it too difficult?

As it turned out, the pattern really let me down in some aspects. The poor drafting of the armhole and bodice almost killed my hard work.

The fabric
From my last experience of vogue 1353, I learned pleats are more visible with solid colour fabric. I want it whit or ivory at the start. I bought some ivory georgette and yellow lining. However, I found the ivory georgette is a bit too see-through and may be too soft for the scalloped hem. I decided to go back to the heavy poly georgette from my last project Vogue 9004. It's not as drapey as I want it but that's fine. Scalloped hem needs firmly woven fabric.

The problem with poly fabric is that it's very hard to press. It's very springy. It's one of the reasons this project took me a long time to finish.

Pattern error and poor drafting
I heard about vogue patterns often have errors, but I had never found one. This time, I found one error on the pattern. It's the notch in pattern piece 1, as shown below in red circle.

Another problem is the placement of the apex. The pattern places the apex on the side front bodice piece, far away from the centre front. In my muslin, my apex is on the centre front piece. Quite a bit of distance between the "designed" apex and my real apex.
Not only the above, the major let down is the size of the armhole. It's ridiculously huge. I failed to detect it in my muslin. After I finished everything and tried it on, I found the armholes almost exposed up my bra! *sigh* It needs to be raised by one inch.

 It took me long time...
If you want to make this dress, this is no quick project. Plan heaps of time and patience. It is by far the most tedious project I've done other than my wedding dress. Let me do the numbers:
• 13 pattern pieces
• 8 princess seams (shell and lining, front and back)
• skirt panels (shell and lining, front and back)
• Three tiers of scalloped hem, 12x3=36 scalloped curves

So many CURVED stitching and pressing! I almost called it quits, but I stared at the envelope photos to keep myself going. At the end, I gained lots of experience on stitching curved edges and now I can sew a perfect princess seam and if I need to sew it again, I have nothing to fear. No pain no gain!

Sewing scalloped hem
Here is a list of websites that have very useful tips on sewing scalloped hem.
Thread Magazine
Megan Neilson

I strongly suggest basting in a seam allowance for the scallops first, probably about 1 cm from the edge. Match the turning point on the lining and main fabric.

I pressed the seam allowance open on the curve of the Tailor's Board, then pressed it flat. It's the fastest and best way.

Overall, the dress is pretty and the instruction is very well written, but the armhole is way too big.
This dress took me three whole days, from fitting to finish. It almost wore me out. It's the second most painful work after my wedding dress, but at the end, like my wedding address, I am proud and happy with the result.

I really don't know if I'll sew it again. It's so hard. I need to adjust the armhole and the princess seam to fit my upper body better.

Material list:
Heavy Georgette (112 cm width): 1.5m x $4 = $6
Lining (122 cm width): 1.8 m x $1.5 = $2.7
Dress zip 22 inch = $1.4
Time used: approx. 25 hours

What's next?
Still working on the Godet Dress from Burda Style magazine atm.


  1. End results is beautiful, definitely worth all the hard work. Make sure you let Vogue know about the errors that you found, that bust apex is a real miss on the wrong pattern piece ... J

  2. I'm working on this dress now! I am using a completely different bodice though because I want long sleeves. Wish me luck!!


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