Friday, April 26, 2013

New Marcy Pattern: Vogue 8904, AKA The Shingle Dress

Vogue 8904
I call this The Shingle Dress because sewing the layers is similar to laying shingles on a roof.  Designed for knits, it consists of a base sheath dress with fabric panels placed on top from hem to neck, so the entire body of the dress is a double layer.  You can adapt the fit to your figure.  It can be cut slightly smaller than the body so it fits snugly, OR, you can cut it with a wider seam allowance, allowing for 2-4" of ease at the bust and hip so it skims the figure rather than hugs it.  ...this was my choice and I was amazed at how flattering and slimming this dress is.

Be sure to flat pattern measure to compare the pattern measurements with your figure and do a final fitting before sewing the side seams.  I cut my first prototype with an extra 2" at all the side seams, thinking this was a lot, but I needed every bit because the knit fabric stretched a bit, and I wanted the fit to be easy.  

The floating panels are VERY flattering, they skim over imperfections.  

If you fit the dress snugly, it can showcase a fit figure.

Hems and edges of the diagonal panels are designed to be a raw edge.  When cutting a stripe, cut each panel singly so the hem edge runs straight along a stripe.  On the striped versions, the bottom (hem) layer is cut with the stripes running vertically.  This helps stabilize the hem and if your fabric has an attractive selvedge you can use the option of using the selvedge at the hem edge of the dress and/or at the edge of the sleeve.

Fabric Suggestions
Stable knits with lycra/spandex, striped jersey, stable single knits, ponte.  You could use different knits for the base dress and top layers, using an opaque knit for the body and a sheer mesh, stretch lace or net for the layers.

Stripe Collage

This version I uses a combination of rayon/lycra knit stripes in 4 different colors, all in a similar weight.  There was some rolling at the cut edges, but it is not a problem, and a slight rolling at the cut edge of each panel adds to the movement and interest.  
I cut the sleeves and bottom layer panel on the cross grain so the stripes run vertically.
Version #2 uses one of our Parisian microfiber in a dark navy, the summertime version of the little black dress.   We stock the Parisian microfiber in black, navy (our name is mariner blue), aubergine, dark gray, brown and fawn.  Not all colors may be in stock at the same time.  A new order is coming very soon, check with Shelley and Beth in the ArtBarn for availability.  
Sewing Tips

Transfer markings for the stitching lines to the right side of both back and front.  
I used a fine line chalk marker.  
This is essential!
Begin sewing with the bottom panel.
Note the direction of the pins.
Baste at the side seams, changing the stitch length to a short stitch when sewing across the body.

Line up the front and back side by side, RIGHT sides up side by side and stitch the layers on the front and back at the same time...this way you can check at each stage to be sure the layers will match when you sew the side seams.
Striped versions looks like this....the base dress is cut on the lengthwise grain, the bottom panel on the  crosswise grain.

I trim the dress hem layer to be about 1/2" shorter than the bottom panel so it does not peek out.
Position pins so you can pull them out as you sew.  

I used a wraparound binding at the neck for the multi-color stripe version, cutting the neck edge binding on the cross grain. Because the cross grain has less stretch than the lengthwise grain, it is necessary to apply a bit more tension when sewing the band.
SO much of working with knits lies in the way you handle the fabric, so making a test sample is not only worth the time and effort with each knit you sew, but builds in the experience of sensing how much or how little to stretch into your fingertips.

Marcy's Version
My version of this fabulous dress uses our popular gray and black Rocket Man Stripe.  
Another gray/black stripe that would be a good choice is our Elton Stripe.
We have an extensive collection of different knit stripes to choose from!

Worn here, in Taos last September on my way to the studio, worn with leggings and Diane Ericson's NEST Scarf. 
Worn here with a purchased scarf/shawl and a small bag made by Diane Ericson.
On my own dress, I used a single layer with the selvedge edge for the neck edge.

Marcy's version of Vogue 8904

For my Paris trip, I made Vogue 8904 dress as a shirt, tweaking the pattern to eliminate the bottom layer and using our Vaughn stripe.
I changed the neck shape, lowering it at center front by about 2"

Happy Sewing
Happy Spring from Paris....more blogs to follow!


  1. FABULOUS - this is gorgeous off and on and so adaptable. Looking forward to trying it.

  2. Wow, this dress is just terrific. I love all of the movement created by the "shingles". Brilliant!

  3. This dress is so amazing! I think I can even modify the top of it so that it can be a nursing dress. Incidentally, it seems it has already sold out of the first printing on Vogue?! I hope this is not the case.

  4. I love all these dresses but admit I am knit-shy, not knowing how much stretch in which direction to use/avoid. The envelope says *2 way* stretch. Does that mean stretch across the width of the fabric AND length-wise? I see envelopes with 1-way, 2-way, and 4-way so it is confusing.

    1. 2 way stretch usually means crosswise, 4 way means the fabric stretches lengthwise and crosswise. I am not familiar with the term 1 way, but sounds like it means the fabric stretches in only 1 direction. Use common sense always! Test your fabric to see where the stretch is. Usually you want the stretch to go around the body. Knits are easy, forgiving and fun....ponte is a good knit fabric to start with. Fear not!!!

  5. I LOVE this dress! And I'm so happy to see it on Marcy! It's lovely on the skinney model, but it looks terrific on a "real" person too. Can't wait to make it.

  6. I can't wait to make this dress. I think it would great on women of all ages - not too young, not too old. And how much fun are those stripes?

  7. I can't wait to make this dress. I think it would great on women of all ages - not too young, not too old. And how much fun are those stripes?

  8. How do I comment as myself and not unknown?

  9. Okay, I'm in. I NEEED this pattern in my life...

  10. On the top, did you mean that you eliminated the under layer that the pieces are sewn to?

  11. I'm curious about how you made the top w/o the base piece. I think I'd wear that more than a dress. Can you elaborate on your process?

  12. I loved this pattern the first time I saw it! I want to make it in a long version (hopefully with a side vent to facilitate movement) to wear to a black tie wedding in September in Washington DC. I am wondering your opinion about the best fabric to use for that purpose. I looked at the Parisian Microfiber Knit on your website...I'm leaning toward a deep eggplant color... and wonder if you think this would produce a look that is dressy enough? Or would a ponte be a better choice? I also want to cut it off to a shorter length after the wedding, because I would be unlikely to wear it again. And finally I'm a little unsure about the unfinished edges of the shingles on a dressy look, though perhaps I'm showing my age (55) worrying about that. What do you think?! (And thanks!) Jo Ann

  13. I adored my first attempt at this dress and will definitely be making another! I was a bit nervous about the fit, so I did it with some cheap $1.99/yd rayon rib in my stash for a muslin. While the fabric choice is a bit too thin for this to be a "wear-to-work" dress, the pattern is great. My daughter loved it so much that she begged for one of her own - here's the result if you have a chance to look at it!