Vogue 8789 Part 1 – Buffalo Check!

Gosh I love this dress. It is easily my favorite dress of 2018. I spent a lot of time fitting it, but the outcome is 100% worth it.


This is Vogue 8789, a darling of the vintage sewing community. So simple, but with so much opportunity to to play with bold fabrics. Really the fabric is the star of this dress so let’s start there.

The black and white buffalo check is some glorious twill weaved yet lightweight fabric I picked up at Portland, OR’s famed Mill End. It was labeled Ralph Lauren and is likely 100% cotton, maybe a blend. Just lovely. I’d bought 4 yards knowing I’d need plenty to be able to match the pattern.

The fabric also biased horribly in the wash and all that pattern matching had me screaming in frustration. Worth it.


This version was meant to be a wearable muslin for my Costume College Gala dress, but it turned out so well that this will get far more wear in my life. It took about a month and 3 sets of plain black cotton mock ups before I was happy enough to move onto real fabric. The fit of the bodice was so terrible at the beginning. I think I started with a size 16, but I could have gone down another size. Aside from an FBA I took at least 2 inches out of the bodice length and at least 2 inches of width out of the center back.


I started by deciding whee I wanted to match up the check and decided the neckline needed to be right along the change from black to white and that mirroring the center line was most important. The waist line and side seams need not match perfectly because the eye would be drawn to the front.


The shoulders also matched because of the neckline pattern placement. A lucky thing that just adds to the magic of the ensemble.

This was just a fun dress to wear into a room filled with other sewists. I got so many compliments on my pattern matching and that is a true sign you’ve done something right.

Skirt was plain and pleated. It took some mind bending to figure out how to insert a side zipper with the pleats, but I totally had a lightbulb moment and it turned out all right. To get it just perfect the back and front have different sized pleats so the skirt could be the same width at the hem and different widths at the waist.

And here are a couple photos without the petticoat. This is how I actually wear it in my day to day life. Petticoats are fun for special occasions, but I just haven’t been able to make the leap into full vintage for my daily life.


The real bummer is that after losing weight this dress is too big now. Even in these photos the fit isn’t as great as when I first made the dress, but I’ll hold onto it and keep wearing it because it feels so special.


Costume College and a Charm Patterns Rita Blouse

A couple weeks ago I had a chance to attend Costume College for the very first time. Like many people I avoided attending for many years thinking I wasn’t good enough at sewing or that I wouldn’t fit in. I was WRONG on both counts. But mostly I have to thank my roommates Danelle and Kristine for letting me share their hotel room and being my buddies for the weekend. If they hadn’t included me, I’m sure I would have felt too intimidated to attend. Also thank you to Tanya for answering my hundreds of questions before I arrived. Now I can’t wait to go back next year!

What is Costume College? The most important part is the classes. They are all taught by volunteers and range from constructing weapons to learning to make a 16th century smock. I found the classes to be sort of hit or miss. I had some great teachers and some that were unprepared. Overall I found them to be informative and worth my time. In the evenings there were different themed events. You can dress in costume or not. You can dress to the theme or not. You can skip the events completely! I went to each event and had a great time. There are also lots of other things, a tea, a gala, a costume exhibit, a market place, etc.

Costume College was also totally overwhelming. I took zero photos. There are people everywhere and the costumes can be incredible. Far better than I can ever hope to achieve! But there is a wide range of sewing skills on display. I took a slip making class and found myself on the more advanced end even though I don’t think I’m an expert sewist. Not everyone makes a House of Worth reproduction out of silk. But I can see how on social media it looks like the costumes are all perfect. That’s just not the case in real life.

Anyways, I’ll share the two dresses I made for Costume College soon, but in the mean time here is a top I made to wear to the daytime classes.

Charm Patterns is a pretty new brand, but the owner, Gretchen has been writing a blog, books, and designing patterns for Butterick for the last few years. I own one of her books and a few Butterick patterns, but so far I had avoided her new pattern line. I love the look of her designs, but I do find them a little impractical and over the top for my everyday life. Plus her sizing isn’t very inclusive. Boo! But with Costume College a few days away I decided I really needed a blouse to go with my amazing hand painted Mexican skirt. Off I went to research downloadable options and the only one that seemed like it would really work was the Rita Blouse.


It turned out really cute!!! The Rita Blouse has become pretty popular and I can see why. It was quick to assemble, quick to sew, and comes with cup sizing. For my 42 inch bust I picked a size 10DD, no FBA needed. I heard the waist is generous so even though my waist and hips put me at a size 14, I kind of ignored it. I cut the back as a straight 10 and the front midriff as a 12.


The fit is pretty good, but not totally perfect. I used a fraction of the recommended elastic in the neckline and it still fits wide enough to show my bra straps. I need to put in minders, but haven’t done that yet. There is also too much fabric in the front right under my bust. The first photo looks pretty good, but this one below shows better that my Rita doesn’t fit snuggly and gives me kind of a low boob look.


In order to meet my deadline I had to se fabric in stash. This ivory shirting is kind of like a gauze and I got it from a friend who was destashing some of their fabrics. All I know is it is 100% cotton, a tad bit stiff, and breathes super well.

Will I make more Ritas? Yes I probably will. I need to sew more tops and I have better suited fabrics in my stash. Right now I’m in navy twill hell making my daughters some new school uniforms, but the weather has been so warm that short sleeve tops will be needed through the fall. Plus I have a cute bird print rayon all washed and ready to sew up!