I don’t know much about the commercial pattern printing biz, but at some point in a pattern’s life, some bigwig deems it unfit to be sewn anymore and it gets the “OOP” (out-of-print) status of shame. Does it have to do with how many sales (or lack thereof) it generates, or is it just the need to clear the shelves for the new & shiny (but still oddly similar) seasonal releases? No idea.
I’m a little sad to know that Vogue 8631 is now OOP, because it’s served me well and clothed me for many-a-wedding, so I wish the joy could be passed on to other sewers. I’ve made this pattern twice and always feel great wearing each dress… eh, depending on the wind situation, since it’s a wrap dress and all.
But if OOPness has more to do with sales revenue than anything else, I’m not surprised Vogue 8631 got buried. The cover art and technical drawings make the dress look a little…shall we say…uninspired? I honestly don’t know what drew me to purchase it in the first place, but that was back in 2011 during a $3.99 Vogue sale at JoAnn’s, where I was likely in a head fog after waiting in line to get fabric cut while inhaling cinnamon potpourri and listening to children scream or whatever else goes on in that place.
It’s like fancy scrubs.
To transform it from a hospital uniform to appropriate cocktail attire, it’s all about the fabric, fit and finishing. For this version, I used a so-called “peachskin” from Girl Charlee (yea they sell some wovens), though dare I say it’s more like a crepe de chine. I enjoy working with and wearing this type of fabric because it’s stable and relatively easy to stitch. It’s also opaque and barely wrinkles which was great for the out-of-town wedding I made it for. The downside of wrinkle-resistant fabric is that it is press-resistant as well, so the waist pleats tend to flip flop. I topstitched them down for an inch or so each to help fight gravity.
The pattern runs big so I sized down to an 8 in the bodice and a 10 in the skirt, though the pattern says I should cut a 12 and 14 respectively. My house, my rules. I also had to hike up the shoulders to prevent the neckline from drooping over my insubstantial bust. A cheater SBA if you will.
The pattern has a center back seam but it runs parallel to the grain, so I cut my back pieces on the fold so I wouldn’t chop up the cool print of this fabric. And hallelujah for back neckline darts. A rare occurrence but so deeply appreciated.
My last modification was to omit the scrub-tastic bias binding and instead narrow hem the entire outer edge of the dress, which runs in one continuous line from neckline to skirt wraps. My usual technique for narrow hemming is to serge the raw edge first, then turn up twice the width of the serging. I avoid the iron and just turn up the edge in increments while stitching at the machine, saving the pressing for the very end to flatten it out. My house, my rules. Didn’t I say that already?
I wore this dress to the 2015 Best of Philly soiree with Mali in honor of Butcher’s Sew Shop being named “Best Sewing Class for the 21st Century” by Philadelphia Magazine. Anyway, I must brag that Hughe Dillon (of Philly Chit Chat) photographed us at the event and called us his pick for best-dressed because, hello, we were decked out in #handmade. Proof is here (scroll down!)