23 October, 2015

My version of the Shingle Dress: Vogue 8904

Every now and again, there comes along a pattern that catches fire and takes everyone's fancy.  This is one of them.

 Seemingly a very simple shift knit dress, it's made unique by those newfangled, off-to-starboard-off-to-port angled panels over the front and (hooray!) back.  Like the Bluenose ploughing through a sou'easter with handsome Captain Angus Walters at her helm.

With this one, Marcy Tilton hit it way, way out of the park.

Once again I applaud the great resource that is Pattern Review.  When I started to think of making this dress, I took a nice long look at the versions already posted there - at last count, 52 reviews. All made within two years of the pattern's release.  They allowed me to look at very many versions and ponder at my leisure what it was that I liked, and why, and how, I liked it. Quite the luxury. 

I decided what I wanted: 
- knee length: not mid-thigh nor mid-calf 
- stripes - oh yes those stripes - the shingles shine at their best when those stripes make your eyes go all dizzy with their moiré
- all five panels, on a knee length dress; the pattern uses four panels on an above-the-knee length and five on a midi
- all shingle stripes, including the bottom one, oriented (more or less) horizontally
- each panel ending on a dark stripe
- long sleeves, cut so the stripes run vertically
- widened shoulders on the dress

Taking my desire to fit all five panels into my shorter than standard shoulder to knee height, I began by shortening the underdress pattern piece by about 2 cm in the middle of each "shingle", and then shortening each shingle to match.  I then asked my fashion designer mom - she's a wicked seamstress with a  mouthful of pins! - to pin-fit the sides and to take out a horizontal fisheye dart just above my behind to remove any back waist puddling.

 Getting each pair of front and back  panels to match exactly seemed to take forever.  This seemingly easy peasy quick little frock is anything but.  Everything seemed to take forever:  like ensuring all panels were symmetrically spaced;  finishing/hemming and aligning each front and back panel pair - and then, matching all these damned little stripes along the side seams. Agony and arrrgh! I pinned said seams till they looked like line-dancing hedgehogs; machine basted, checked, ripped, repinned, rebasted,  re-checked, re-ripped.... and repinned...... and again.... and again.... There were sections that I must've re-done four or five times.  The human eye is capable of noticing a mis-match of much less than a millimeter - so once I decided that these side seams were going to be matched, dammit, it was a verrrry long afternoon of following through, spitting pins all the way.   

Am I happy with the result?  Yes. For a pull-on tee, it's a very cute and unusual frock. All out of 1 m of lingerie lining (the base under-dress) and 2 m of a very beefy, textured poly knit. Perhaps not the best fabric choice for this pattern, as those overlapping shingles result in very many layers in the side seams, especially at each shingle's hem. The hems are a simple fold over with an invisible zigzag along each dark stripe.

The best part, though?  He heh.  I got a long sleeved tee out of the remnant.
Using the same pattern, and the scraps, I whipped up this tee before the rest of my family were up this morning - hey, the pattern and all its makings were already on my table!

My son said, "you look verrhy Frrhench!"
My hubs added dryly, "very French Apache".

Zut alors! Vraiement?!

I was really sick to death of being all couture by this point, so after the initial matching of the stripes at the side seams, I let them do their own thing. 

The sleeves are pieced.  Just because. For fun. 

Love the dissonance of the sleeves. The upper left one is cut on the bias. 

I raised the front and back necklines 1/4", and used a dark stripe for the binding.

Really takes me back to my teenage sailing days.  Need - more - stripey - tees. 

Here's a modern version of a French Apache dance.  Warning for the sensitive - it's very, very politically incorrect.  But very good. 


  1. This is wonderful! You look adorable in it. I love your description of your mom as a "wicked seamstress with a mouthful of pins". Haha! And the pinned seams as "line-dancing hedgehogs" what a visual! This is definitely worth all of your agonizing moments.

  2. GREAT WORK! Both the dress and the T! Enjoy them both!

  3. Terrific! The dress, the t-shirt (love the sleeves) and the video. Loved that.

  4. Wow, your dress looks incredible! I think it fits you perfectly and the length is just right. It suits your slim frame and really nice legs! I think I’d try to make one using this pattern, thanks for sharing and I am glad I saw this post while reading a site of my friend

  5. Loving the Parisian stripes! :)

  6. Very beautiful job on your dress and t-shirt! I haven't made this pattern yet, but hope to some day. I love your version!

  7. Your dress looks absolutely wonderful! More motivation to get mine cut and sewn.