I Thought I Was Sewing a Dress But It Turns Out It’s a Bathrobe With Storage Compartments For Groceries

Vogue 8825 pattern

A couple of weeks ago, Project Sewn had a sew-a-long challenge called “Leading Ladies” — sew something inspired by a leading lady. I had recently purchased V8825 (pictured above), a pattern for a 70’s style faux-wrap dress with long puffy sleeves. I figured I’d use Faye Dunaway’s Oscar-winning performance in the 1976 movie Network as my leading lady inspiration. She plays a television producer in the late 70’s, and wears blouses with similar styling to this dress. (Added bonus is her character is a role model — one of only a few women being taken seriously in a producer role at the time. She’s pretty much the only woman in a big sausage party of a movie.) If you want 70’s style wardrobe inspiration, look no further than Network. This article talks more about the film and in particular, the wardrobe worn by Dunaway.

Faye Dunaway in Network Faye Dunaway in Network

So, here’s my attempt at recreating this vibe. (If I’d really wanted to stay true to the inspiration, I would have sewn this in brown — brown was pretty much THE colour of the 70’s, it seems — but I couldn’t picture myself enjoying wearing this in brown. Instead I bought a couple of yards of ponte knit in purple.) In any case, HOW FAR OFF IS THE FRIGGIN’ SIZING ON THIS PATTERN. I thought I was sewing a dress but it turns out it was actually a pattern for an oversize bathrobe. Seriously. LOOK AT THIS DISASTER.

Vogue 8825 dress

Gah! Sized for someone 5 inches taller and about 50 pounds heavier than me.

Vogue 8825 dress

Even the tripod thinks it’s awful, being no longer able to stand erect (a-hem).

The only saving grace about this one is that if I wanted to, I could transport groceries in the extra space in the bodice. Allow me to demonstrate: plenty of room for the sweet peppers I picked up at the farmer’s market, with room leftover for a bunch of bananas!

Vogue 8825 dress

Vogue 8825: It’s a dress with plenty of storage room!

Hey, that’s actually not a bad impression of Joan Holloway from Mad Men (well, if you pretend I’m a drop-dead gorgeous redhead). I’m quite sure this dress would fit her. It definitely is no where close to fitting me. After checking the sizing specs, I cut and sewed a size 10 (2nd smallest; I normally wear size Small), but this came out at least a Large if not Extra Large. If you choose to sew this pattern, be warned that you can go down two or even three sizes if you’re not interested in the grocery cart model, particularly since it calls for stretch fabric and has pleats along the lower edge of the bodice that create even more room.

So, I don’t know if I’m going to attempt some surgery on this one, or just send it off to the Salvation Army store. I’m not sure I’m so in love with the design that I want to spend a few frustrating hours hacking it down to size. What do you think, worth a try?

Thanks for reading.

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27 thoughts on “I Thought I Was Sewing a Dress But It Turns Out It’s a Bathrobe With Storage Compartments For Groceries

  1. Wow! Smart looking dress on the pattern package, but yeah,this is the reason I don’t sew off commercial patterns anymore- they are just way to standard and iffy in regard to the sizing- you never know how much ease they actually used in drafting it. The best thing I’ve done is invest in pattern making and fashion design courses at our local community college. It’s so nice knowing exactly how something you want to sew will fit after it’s all sewn up! I’m cracking up over that last picture! 🙂

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    • You’re so right, Kristin. As I sew more commercial patterns I’m getting a better understanding of garment construction, so eventually I think I’ll be able to modify on the fly. But sometimes I just want to mindlessly cut and sew something exactly as I’m told, know what I mean? No thinking required. I think I kinda knew this wasn’t going to be my favourite dress even if it turned out perfectly, so I didn’t feel like I was risking a lot by not making a muslin or something. Cheers!

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  2. First, great post. Second, I love the movie Network! Now I have to go watch it yet again. Is it shallow of me that I’m always surprised by the fact that Faye Dunaway has no butt in that movie? Although now I might suspect that someone made her a bathrobe that just needs a little fruit. I hope you can salvage that gorgeous ponte even if you decide not to save the dress.

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  3. That pepper photo is hilarious! 🙂 it’s a pity this turned out too big – it’s a gorgeous style and the fabric is beautiful. Do you think it would take much to slim it down enough?
    I only saw Network recently and agree that Faye’s wardrobe in it is fab!

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    • Thanks! Yes, I was shocked just HOW big it came out. I’ll put it away for a while and maybe one day I will be inspired to try to refit it. Cheers!

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  4. That last photo made me laugh out loud! What a shame it’s so big, because it is a beautiful dress, and the colour is lovely. I hope someone gets to wear it.

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  5. Nice pattern! Doesn’t this pattern require a lighter fabric? Your ponte seems quite heavy, which doesn’t benefit the loose 70’s shape of the pattern. Perhaps it’s not an off-size pattern, but just a 70’s fit (or the lack of fit because it’s a 70s pattern ;-)) that needs a breezy, lightweight fabric. It’s a shame, because I really like the shape and color on you!

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    • Yes, I think a lighter fabric would certainly make it drapier. If the sizing is correct and it’s just the way stuff fit in the 70s, I think the 70s was a very practical decade for being able to carry your groceries around in your dress! 😀 Thanks for stopping by.

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    • Go for it, Sylvie! Try it with something drapier than ponte, and go down a size. Also measure the sleeve length and adjust if necessary…those sleeves practically hung down to my knees. Let me know if you do try it!

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  6. Maybe we should take a cue from Network and storm the pattern companies, shouting, “We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”

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  7. Ok, honestly, this dress was worth it just for the comic value! So funny, and it does sometimes make you wonder “what was a thinking, and why am I spending my time sewing??” Love the photos including the cat–value: Priceless!

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    • Thank you! I ended up donating the dress to Goodwill, but at least I did get a funny blog post out of it, and the cat seemed to get a kick out of it, too. 🙂

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    • Aren’t you sweet! Thank you! It must be the red peppers. 😉 About the sizing–I guess that’s why they recommend sewing a muslin. But I do NOT have the patience for such a thing! When I’m inspired to sew something I just want to slice and dice and sew right away.

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  8. Pingback: YOU WILL SUBMIT, SWEETHEART | Frivolous at Last

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