Thursday, January 30, 2014

Moving On....Donna Karan Collection - Vogue 1341

My posts could easily slow to posting once in a blue moon, but I don't want to do that again!  I keep sewing and cutting out and ordering more fabric, so I must stay ahead of the curve by sitting at my computer to post what I have done to my blog.  Anyone who does this knows how long it takes (if you do it well), and for me....getting it right takes longer because I am not a writer.  I just wish to communicate with fellow sewists and give back to the community that has informed and improved my sewing experience.  So, here goes....another dress by Donna Karan.  I sewed this dress around Thanksgiving using a beautiful double knit purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics specifically for this pattern (just 2 yards).  Because the fabric is black, taking photographs that show the dress details is very difficult unless it is lit in bright lights or direct sunlight.  It also hangs funny on the hanger (highlighting my need for a dress form here) because the front bustline is full and has no rigid shaping beyond the tucks.

Vogue 1341

Vogue 1341

I really do like how the dress turned out; it could have been labeled one of those 'Easy" patterns, but it did have some sophisticated details.  For instance, there are no side seams and the zipper is to be placed in a seam with a curve which can be seen on the left back in the picture above.  Insertion of a perfect invisible zipper is critical here, and no place for anyone who has not mastered this art.  When you install the zipper, I recommend you place iron-on interfacing strips in the seam allowance.  Make sure it ends at least 1/4' beyond the seam allowance for a smooth appearance along its curve.  I usually avoid invisible zippers, but this dress requires one even though the notions listing on the envelope back does not specifically say it.  The curve of the seam would not work with a standard zipper insertion, so do yourself a favor and take this recommendation.

The dress also has a one-shoulder lining (not essential, but desirable in my opinion).  To put this design together, you need diligence in marking the tucks that define the dresses shape.  There are only a few, including a couple on the sleeves, but the many pattern dots can be confusing if you don't color-code them or pay attention to which way the folds should lay.  As I removed each pattern piece, I immediately handbasted the tucks and pinned them in the correct position.  This one process was one that made putting this dress together much easier than it might have been otherwise.

As a designer, Donna Karan feels a woman's shoulders (including her collarbone) are one of the last things to go as we age.  If yours haven't disappeared yet, you may wish to take advantage of this dress' design details to show them off.  Don't look for the inward fit at the waistline you see in the pattern picture, the pattern doesn't allow for the close fit the picture purports it has.  It just means those of us with a little more waistline will create a dress that fits just fine without any adjustments.  I find that is what happened with me although I wish it had a closer waistline fit.  I made no alterations there or at hemline or bustline, either.  The pattern pieces are such unusual shapes, I wouldn't have known where to begin on either.  The pattern is no longer available on the McCalls/Vogue website, and for such a recent pattern, the lack of easily made alteration points may be why it was discontinued so quickly.  I would recommend this dress be made from a knit with heft and weight.  The fabric needs weight to hold the designs details and not have the tucks collapse on one another.  I will be trying this one again, though.  The second one will be in a brighter color.  Looking for a coral or turquoise double knit, perhaps.

Vogue 1341
(technical drawing)

Vogue 1341
(dress zipper in curved seam)

Vogue 1341

Nice label, huh?
Thanx Ann!

Vogue 1341
(dress front)

If you decide to try it, drop me a note if you feel my comments were validated in your sewing experience.  I'd love to hear from you....til then, keep stitch atta time!


  1. I've thought about making this dress. So happy to hear that you liked it.

  2. Fabulous critique and sewing notes ! I plan to make it also in a heavier knit fabric, too. I love the asymmetry as I herald a curved back anyway as an unexpected enhancement....I am thinking about a bright Spring green with opaque black tights and heels...
    Bainbridge Island

  3. Hi Melissa!
    I am delighted you read this review and were inspired to comment. I know your version will turn out as well and will be an inspired addition to your spring wardrobe. Good Luck!

  4. Hi, I am planning on making this dress, and was reading the instructions..I am confused, as it appears that the lining is 'outside in'. I looked at the pattern, and it seems (if you cut with the right side up) that the lining will be with the seams visible if you turn the dress inside-out. Am I visually challenged here..

  5. Dear anonymous commenter...
    Thanks for stopping by and asking this question. Because I sew infrequently-sewn patterns, there was no one to ask the same question....and you deserve a response! I noticed the same problem, and chose to proceed with making the dress with the lining exactly as the layout instruction says. My rationale is that the seams would show through the right side of the dress as visible indentations if you created it with the finished side showing on the inside. The place where it is also important is at the neckline where the slip/lining would show the finished side smoothly turned toward your body. I used French seams on the side seams with the desire to keep the seams as smooth as possible on both sides.
    I hope your proceed with trying this pattern. I get many compliments on mine, and it is in heavy rotation as a standard Little Black Dress (LBD) in my wardrobe.
    Push forward!....You will be fine....and don't be confused. If you have further questions, don't hesitate to write Vogue Patterns Customer Service directly. They will respond to your questions (they also have a Facebook site) and will hear your complaints about any construction issues and confusing instructions. I apologize for the delay in my response...I am working hard on a couple of projects. Come back to see! Next time...leave me your name or follow me so I can correspond with you directly...I welcome comments and followers! Good Luck!

  6. I just pulled this pattern from my stack, it's been sitting awhile ;) and found your blog when I googled the pattern to see how it turned out for other sewist.

    Yours looks lovely. I am going to sew mine soon and will stop by. Thank you for sharing your experience. Deborah

  7. Hi Deborah!
    How great! I think it will be one of your favorites. I look forward to your feedback!

  8. I bought this pattern because I thought it was unique, I like different kinds of clothing, I'm not one to always follow trends, I like to have different types of garments in my closet. I sew for other people as well, so when a client came to me with this pattern, I said "Great, I can make hers first and see how it turns out before I make my own". Well, to my surprise, I did not like sewing this dress, the instructions were hard to follow, I had to keep re-reading the instructions to see if I missed something. I also think the fabric choice wasn't good, I had purchased a light weight knit fabric and after reading several reviews I noticed my fellow sewers were saying to use a knit fabric that had some weight to it . I took the dress apart several times to see where things went wrong. I became very frustrated with this pattern and decided I would let my client know that I will not be able to make this dress for her. I've been sewing for over 30 years and I have never been stumped by a pattern before. I may have gotten frustrated and walked away from the pattern to return the next day with a fresh start and was able to complete the garment, but NOT this time. I'm glad my client did not need it for an event or a special occassion, she just wanted to have it made.

    This was my experience with this pattern. Truly Disappointed.