Tackling Vogue 1561

In the past I have used Zandra Rhodes patterns for my client Nancy. They are flowy and soft and suit Nancy’s Type 2 summer personality. When I saw this newest pattern with the curvy lines and flowing skirt, I just had to make a muslin…that is when the fun (?) began.









I like to cut out paper patterns at night as it is pretty mindless cutting on the bold lines and folding all the pieces back into a neat rectangles and then into a plastic Ziploc bag. Something must have happened that night as when I went to spread the pieces out…I was missing the size 16-22 top front. What’s a girl to do?

The top front for sizes 6-14 was in the envelope so I placed it on new paper and used the top front size 4-16 piece to get some cutting lines for the 16-22 size. Mainly, I was worried about the lower curved seam…should it continue to the side seam and rise to where the pencil line is? What about that bust point? On a real sized 16-22 woman that would surely be lower and further towards the side seam by 1.5 inches which will leave that curved seam right on the bust point…did anyone think about that?

Here you can see the new piece with both cutting lines. I measured the circumference of the top for the bust and even using the size 22 it only measures 43 inches…more of a 16 than a 22. So, I cut the 22 as my motto is “cut large and trim later”.

Then the pinning begins to check the cutting and seam lines…so many wrinkles! The seam lines are on-grain and off-grain and bias…great! It looks like a schematic for a roller coaster ride.

After pinning and checking that extra fabric was trimmed away and I used the higher up seam line for the 22. Then I realized my camera was not focusing so we have some fuzzy photos for a bit.

Reading the directions, it states to stay stitch every seam and clip where needed…well, using muslin and an old sheet means you will have to clip every darn curve, convex or concave every 1/4 inch…lucky me! So the hand basted jacket looks OK if you like puckers and pleats. Checking the photo on the envelope…it looks the same, so Zandra meant to have it look this way.

How did we get so many pleats? At this point I am wishing that the front curves were more gentle like the back curve but NO, they are way more dramatic.


Mr. Mole says if I would make this in black wool he would wear it as a man’s frock coat as he loves the back feature…he knows this will never happen.

Here is what the envelope does not tell you: It will be small in the bust, there are no fitting darts or easy ways to adjust this pattern, the center fronts do not overlap for buttons or any closure except maybe an exposed separating zipper and the hem circumference is a whopping 148 inches/3.75 meters. I drew grainlines 8 inches apart to show what happens if you use a striped fabric or IF you could/should use one. Nancy like stripes so I’m always thinking about her.

At this point I am wondering why anyone would make such a wacky pattern where woven fabrics will be fighting with each other at every seam. The recommended fabrics are: Jacquard, Wool crepe, Linen and Ponte knit and you are supposed to interface the bodice lining. Then there is a lining that is totally flat without any curves in Taffeta or Charmeuse AND an additional Fleece interfacing. Wait…there’s more…then you are told to channel quilt every 1/4 inch vertically. So in essence we are making a freaking quilt top or a thick tote bag.

Now call me crazy but Taffeta and Charmeuse are totally different animals as are Jacquard and Ponte but hey, while we are at it…toss in some nice thick fleece interfacing layer. What you have is a thick cozy 4 layer top that does not close…is this practical? Now…hands up who want to continue?

Can you see that at the side seams the grain lines are totally 45 degrees? I will have to draw those same lines on the back to see what is revealed…well, that is what a circle skirt will do…it has a mind of its own.

When the side seams are joined they will make chevrons.

In the end, I am thinking that I may cut the fronts like the back so they hang flatter but it all depends on how it looks on Nancy. Oh, and then there is the lining which is just cut like a regular piece with no swirls or dippity seams. Back to the cutting table…maybe changing to just the lining pieces might be the solution. Sometimes it takes a lot of convincing to make you fall in love with a pattern.

On the bridal side of life a fellow seamstress who asked me for some advice on snugging up a bodice on a dress for a friend in another state…love that long-distance sewing…sent me a photo of a solution she came up with. Now, most brides never think ahead that some time during the reception they will need to use the bathroom and what happens with all that tulle and satin?

Do you take a friend into the stall and have her hold all the layers while you sit down? This seamstress was watching Shark Tank on TV and saw something she could translate into a good technique. She ran pink ribbon through the hem of the lining so the bride could yank on the ribbon and gather up and condense all the layers up by herself…brilliant!



And here is the result from the right side…. the lining hem is now sitting just below the beaded belt and all the layers are up off the toilet seat.

Thank you to Laurie for sharing her new trick!

Hoping to get my Christmas cards in the mail this week…what about you?


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23 Responses to Tackling Vogue 1561

  1. I made the Rhodes jacket a couple of months ago [no toile, I like to live dangerously]. I didn’t use fleece, but did do decorative topstitching on the yoke. It is tricksy over the bust, and I probably should have used larger size for the front only. It’s a nice jacket though. PS, the lining pieces come up too small AND too short, be warned if you persevere! This was my final post on the making of…https://thedementedfairy.wordpress.com/2017/09/22/king-of-the-rhodes/

    • mrsmole says:

      Oh My…that last photo is a doosey! I can see the top edge of the curve does indeed sit on your bust point where it does not belong. Full marks for all the techniques you used to get such a beautiful finished project. Imagine how much smaller it would have been with the padding layer…no thank you! I have tried the muslin on Nancy and we agreed to drop the front piece lower and add enough fabric to make it actually have buttons or snaps or a zipper. Lots of paper pattern altering to come and maybe a new muslin made from the lining pieces only…way more simple straight lines! Thank you for your link Elaine!

      • oh but that curved yoke is lovely! I think I may make another with a ponte yoke, and go up a size for the front, lengthening just a bit above the bust. That will suffice. I mainly wear it open anyway, and it has such lovely swing, I don’t think it matters too much. Good luck!

  2. Cherry says:

    I made a muslin of that jacket, too, using the straight-waist lining pieces. I assumed they were the same overall size. (Apparently not?) There was no bust shaping, it was cut for a paper doll. So FBA, leaving the dart vertically below the bust points.(But how was I going to do that on those curvy outer seams?) Next, the shoulder seam was about 2” down my arm, recut the shoulder and sleeve head. Realized it would have been quicker to start with my own sloper, draw that waist seam, slash and spread below.
    Next, shop for fabric, I was thinking silk dupioni and a patterned brocade ina subtle red, as a Christmas party jacket. Luckily this is where the project came to a grinding halt, as nothing seemed just right. Looks like I dodged a bullet!

    But if I had continued I think I would have sewn that waist seam by turning under, clipping and basting the seam allowances on the bodice, then appliqueing it to the skirt. That’s the way these curvy seams were done in my 1940’s sewing manuals. You get more control over the whole thing, less distortion.
    Nice job on yours, Elaine. I look forward to seeing Mrs Mole’s.

    • mrsmole says:

      Great idea Cherry…no matter what the bodice fabric is, it will be dominant and control the skirt portion! I may just make another muslin using only the lining pieces in front and the wavy pieces in back…less drama but better fit and that way I can add bust fitting darts which in the size 16-22 had none.

    • That’s exactly what I did- MUCH better method than the ‘modern’ way

  3. This is based on a technique from the Japanese Pattern Magic books. It’s called Kakurenbo and the curves are supposed to be shaped so as to form pleats in the lower section. If you search for images under ‘pattern magic kakurenbo’ you’ll see what I mean. I attempted to make a top this way a few years ago and it nearly killed me. I almost feel like having another try now I’m more experienced…

  4. susan snow says:

    I think your husband isn’t too far off the mark, if you forget about all the lining and quilting and just make it up as a jacket in black wool it might look kind of smart add a band all around the front, circling the neckline so you have a bit extra so it closes and use some sort of an exotic fastening, something silver. But quilting all this? Crazy, plus it would make it stand out and the person wearing it would look enormous. Enjoyed your write-up. Merry Christmas.

  5. gibsonsoul says:

    Thanks for sharing. I am truly enjoying all this sewing information.

  6. Marina Porter says:

    Thanks for the ribbon through the lining idea, wish I knew about it years ago

  7. I don’t think I’ve ever done something with such a fancy yoke yet – I’m curious to try it… but I think I will watch every detail while you do it first! Neat trick about the draw string and the toilet!

  8. mrsmole says:

    Coming soon, lots of slashing and adding on this pattern!!!!

  9. Kim says:

    Hmm. I’m really not sure I would want to do that amount of fiddling after paying for the pattern. I’m sure that your final result will be as wonderful as always. Have fun!

  10. sewruth says:

    If anyone can make this work in striped silk jacquard with fleece, quilting etc – it’s you!

    • mrsmole says:

      Not sure any of that will take place…not many older women need bust padding from neck to waist unless it is for a winter puffer jacket! Most women look the best in creations like yours, Ruth…always flattering and fun!

  11. JustGail says:

    I keep looking at the photo on the model, and on Ms thedementedfairy, and thinking, and wondering – could a FBA be done and hide the dart in the yoke shaping? Similar to when I’ve hidden the darts in the yoke-bodice seam line on a straight across yoke. I suppose it might depend greatly on how close that curve hits to the bust point though? Not to mention how much patience one would have for drafting curves, or maybe draping the new curves.

  12. mrsmole says:

    There is future slashing across the high bust where a dart could be introduced in the armscye. Also more slashing across the upper back to allow the center back to drape closer to the body and back waist…lots of engineering to come! Seamstresses can get very daring! Thanks, Gail!

  13. erniek3 says:

    Oh, thank you for this. I love a challenge and the Kakurenbo designs have always made me very happy. That said, I have never gone for a finished item; I mock it up at a 1/5th scale, and admire it, and off to the threadrecycle pile it goes. And the Rhodes just looks like one of those things that the perfectly flat and tall people could pull off wearing if they could be delivered to their formal destination bubble wrapped in a van strapped to an upright dolly.

    Is this a service I should be franchising? The van, I mean. Meanwhile, I am bookmarking this post and saving it for a few clients. Sometimes….

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